An 1880s Italianate Home in Albany, Oregon
Home What's New? Plat Maps Prior Owners Rooms Roof and Cresting Landscaping Lighting Furniture Basement Garage Renovation

Allen House Garage Project

Overview: When we purchased the home, it no longer had an outdoor storage area or shed. We were told by descendants of the Allen family that the original garage/stable burnt in a fire.

So after receiving approval from Albany's Landmark Advisory Committee, we built a 20-by-36 foot garage/shop area.

Table of Contents

August 2007: Sheet rock

Barb applied most of the initial mud and taping.
I put on the finishing coats of mud ...

July 2007: Interior finishing

The first step in finishing the interior was to move most of the equipment from the garage. Next came wiring: if the walls were going to be covered up, then I wanted to have lots of plugs, lights, and 220-circuits for heat, cooling, and tools.

This photo shows how I installed the air conditioner. The commercial-grade unit was heavy, so I used a block-and-tackle to hoist it into position. I also installed a 60-gallon air compressor in the corner on its own 220-circuit. Other 220 circuits were needed for the table saw, heater, planer, and radial arm saw. This left the electrical panel box nearly full.

Next, I needed to install the insulation. I'm hot, itchy and out of shape in this photo, so it isn't an attractive picture.
Barb helped by using the plastic wrapping around the insulation bundles to seal off the windows.
Once all the insulation was in, I began using a drywall lift to install 5/8-inch drywall. Each sheet weights 110 pounds, so it was handy to have a tool to lift it in place. Ultimately, I was able to install all the ceiling drywall myself.
My friend, Dave Helton dropped by to help me put up the drywall on the walls near the ceiling -- I simply couldn't lift, position, and pin these sheets in place by myself. Here you see Dave installing a nailing surface for a sheet of drywall.
This shows the garage with about half of the drywall in place.

July 2007: Concrete landscaping

The building wouldn't pass its final inspection because the Albany building inspectors wanted land to slope away from the garage ... so I rented a Bobcat and began pushing lots of dirt around.
We decided to put concrete on the back and side of the garage. Getting the forms ready was a lot of hard work by hand.
The night before the concrete pour, Barb talked about having a decorative iron fence at the side of the garage. Since it should swing out, this meant we should have a sturdy post on which to hang the fence. So I was up past midnight welding and digging in order to put together a reinforced footing for the fence. I really owe Barb a big thank you for thinking of this ... it would be a lot more work to put this in after the concrete was poured.
The concrete truck has arrived ... the pumper truck is ready ... and the hard work will begin in just a few minutes.

Chuck's Concrete Pumping helped with placing the concrete. Here you can see the hose line laid out while we wait for the concrete truck to arrive.
Placing, leveling, and screeding the concrete. My friend, Dave Helton, is doing the back-breaking work of screeding the concrete level.
I attempt to use a bull float to smooth out the concrete.
Nearly all the concrete has been placed ... which means the hardest work of troweling still remains.

August 2006: Framing

The city building inspectors had a fit when they found out that the garage was being built from lumber that lacked professional grading stamps. The solution I selected was to hire Paul Hightower, a registered professional engineer, to write a letter certifying the strength of the construction. His letter is worth reading ... and it also includes a number of nifty photos.

I got the walls and roof finished ...
Rather than buying factory-made garage doors, I thought it would be more historic to build the doors from scratch.
This photo shows what the garage hinges looked like on eBay. I bought these massive hinges from a guy in New York and had them shipped across the country. Then I had them sandblasted and powder coated black. Once again, it seemed more historic to use recycled hinges than newly manufactured commercial hinges.
Jeremy and I put up the Hardiplank siding. All the wood trim and the windows were built from lumber from the cull logs shown at the bottom of this page.

June 2006: Foundation

We hired a backhoe operator to clear the garage site. This was a huge help. In a couple of hours, he was able to remove the ground cover, make the site level, remove a walnut tree, and load several dump truck loads of dirt and debris for removal.
Time to start the hard work of laying out the foundation.
Hot weather and an out-of-shape body make for some ugly pictures. Sorry.
The foundation is nearly ready for concrete.

May - June 2006: Acquiring Lumber

I went to the Thompson Sort Yard in Philomath to pick out some cull logs. You can see my DS chalk marks on logs that I've selected to buy. I used these logs to make the walls, doors, and windows for the garage.
After having the logs delivered to Gene Cooper's small one-man log mill in Blodget, Oregon ... I went to help Gene cut up the logs. Gene didn't need much help, but the trip was fun. Here you can see that Gene has placed a log in the mill and the circular saw blades are cutting away from Gene toward the end of the log.
This shows Gene running the log mill along with the pile of cut lumber in the background.
This finished load of lumber from Gene Cooper's saw mill is what I used to frame the foundation footings and begin building the walls.

Fall 2004 - Spring 2006: Planning

When we purchased the home, we received a notebook full of house history items. This notebook contained a complete set of garage plans for a 16 by 40 foot garage. We thought that design was rather long and skinny, so we modified it to be 20 by 36 feet and ran our ideas past Albany's Landmark Advisory Committee in Fall 2004. Since their approval required actually constructing the building within three years, Dave finally began work in May of 2006 before the three-year window would expire.

This image shows the floor plans along with detailed specs for the rafters.
The plot plan showing the garage in relation to the house.
The front view showing the garage with a roll-up door. I ultimately decided it would be more in character with the historic district to build the garage door from scratch from Douglas Fir lumber.


The Allen-House.Com and websites are maintained by Dave and Barbara Sullivan who live in the N. H. Allen House at 208 6th Avenue SE, Albany, Oregon. Our home phone is 541-924-5983.