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Monster Garages Print E-mail

Back in the days of the horse and buggy, the average residential home had a stable to house the horses and a shed to shelter the rig.  Times and transportation have certainly changed; but we still need places to park our rides and store our stuff.

Ever since suburbs first blemished the modern landscape, garages have become middle-class measuring sticks of neighbourhood prosperity.  Families existing in homes with single-car garages soon felt the pressures to meet and surpass those with two, three and even four-car garages.  These suburban parking plazas have become a new form of decadence for North American movers and shakers.  Even one-car families claim to need multi-car garages, if only to store their stacks of stuff.  Of course there are families made up of a mom and a dad and a couple of teenagers.  Families like this may actually own and utilize three or more cars; and these families may even park all of these cars in their whopping big garages. For everyone else though, monster garages with more floor space than most apartments serve as mere bragging rights for the big kids on the block.

The typical suburban family comes equipped with a long list of toys. Boats, jet skis, bikes, hockey and basketball nets, motorcycles, power tools, workbenches, lawn mowers and other necessities of modern existence all need to be securely tucked away in anticipation of a sunny day.  Our oversized homes are humbled only by the monster garages that house our materialistic decadence.

While real estate agents will insist that buyers actually need these massive storage caverns, not everyone is pleased with the trend.  Some homebuilders are sidestepping the "garage house" design by investing extra time and money on architectural plans that split the huge expanses of square footage into opposite sides of the house.  The challenge, of course, is making a house with two garages look like something other than a house with two garages.  A back-loading garage could incorporate nicely to a streamlined home design and offer the most aesthetically pleasing option, but would require the use of an entire backyard as vehicle turnarounds.  Of course, soaring property prices mean that having a lot of this size is just not feasible for the average homeowner.  In the end, mega materialism dictates that one might be good, but five are better; and so, obedient builders continue to erect suburban cookie cutter homes graced by monster garages big as basketball courts.

Nameless suburban streets lined with identical houses are testament to the fact that people still find it hard to imagine life without a supersized garage or all the goodies tucked within.  But every once in a while you'll turn the corner and find a truly unique home, coupled with a humble single car garage.  The house will be home to people who think that perhaps one family car is enough; and maybe a single car garage, or even no garage at all, is everything a homeowner really needs.  After all, it's what's inside a home that counts, not what's packed into the garage.

 
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