Garages are usually built by or for homeowners as building accessories to their current home. Over the many eras of home building, many houses were built fairly basic with no particular architectural style. The same is true for garage plans and garages built. The plain designs were typical and blended well with houses. However, if you have a home of the Victorian era, for example, the available stock plans for garages were quite limited. You would have had to locate an architect or designer with knowledge of the style to create a design of compatible style. Things have changed. As this industry has grown some capable designers have developed sizeable collections of stock (ready-to-use) garage plans in many styles and sizes. While it is still true that the vast majority plans are still plain and simple you can search the internet with the terminology of architectural styles and find that they are available. In most cases, the cost of stock plans is a small fraction of professional design fees. Becoming familiar with styles and their features will make your search easier. Some styles are presented below:

The Craftsman-Style:

  • Broad overhanging eaves, with visible rafter points under small fascia
  • Broad gable overhangs with brackets supporting flying rafter/rake fascia
  • Horizontal lapped to clapboard type siding
  • Often with upper-gable (also called ‘pediment’) featuring shingle or shake siding
  • Usually 2 or more colors in vintage scheme
  • Gridded (also called ‘muntins”) windows
  • Roof dormers
  • Garage doors of the Carriage House style
  • Doors and windows of Arts and Crafts or Mission styles

In California in its early growth era, the abundance of wood available gave craftsman an opportunity to express their woodworking abilities and it became a whole new thing. The style was known as ‘Arts and Crafts” impacting the furniture and decorating industry and the emerging style of those small bungalow type homes became the ‘Craftsman Style’. Being a successful fashion of its time the Craftsman style became the trend in most major cities’ suburbs. In those times the suburbs were linked to the city by street cars. As the automobile became popular the later Craftsman style house often featured a small 1 car garage – built to match the house. Those garages were usually quite small compared to contemporary needs. In the 1980s there was a resurgence of the style and it led to rather ‘watered-down’ Craftsman-like styles – not so true to form by stylistic details and features. And that goes on today.

The Victorian Style:

  • Roof slope fairly steep
  • Roof shape of cross-gable, L- or T- shaped
  • Corner spires or towers
  • Veranda (wrap-around porch)
  • Gazebo
  • Ornamental, decorative windows
  • Stylized garage doors – fancy panels & windows
  • Cornices, corbels and stylized brackets
  • Shingle-style siding in pediments – regular or in patterns
  • Stylized attic windows
  • Gable peak ornament decorations
  • Lavish rims and moldings throughout
  • Cupolas (decorative)
  • Colorful painting schemes

In the late 19th century the US saw great growth in the manufacturing industry and technology. With the great availability of wood and lumber, there were all sorts of turned spindles, balusters and ornamental trim available to US consumers at prices far less than the prior European import. Americans were proud and delighted with the boldness of design expression newly available to them. This era brought over-indulgence of new shapes, textures, images, symbols, colors and many patterns of home decoration. During this time of Queen Anne, architectural symbols of power, such as towers and spires, mimicked those cathedrals and castles of distant lands. Even with all of this grandeur, the core design of their homes was the fundamental American farmhouse – all dressed up for the latest fashion.

The Colonial Style:

Also called ‘Early American’, the Colonial Style references the 18th C era as exemplified in the Colonial Williamsburg restoration in Virginia. In the 1930s the Rockefeller Foundation funded the restoration project for the greatly deteriorated section of the original town center. They meticulously rebuilt/restored primary buildings and the smaller, utilitarian ‘dependencies’ which house kitchens, shops, animal stock, supplies and some slaves’ quarters. Extensive research was done to discover exact original specifications and every effort was made to preserve that area – history for all visitors to enjoy. The dependencies are similar in scale to garage plans we have produced which feature:

  • Symmetrical (strictly) facades
  • 12/12 or steeper sloping roof
  • Functioning narrow dormers forb ventilation and light
  • Gable overhangs and eaves of the minimal protrusion with drip-endcaps
  • Cornice, frieze, and rake profiled trims and dentils
  • Small paned, double hung, tall windows
  • Horizontal, lapped siding (clapboard)
  • Functioning shutters
  • Out-swing pairs of carriage-house doors
  • Trim with arch forms, spring-line blocks, and keystones

The Carriage-House Style:

Horse-drawn carriages were used by the wealthier class in early American cities. Their storage and maintenance was housed by a new style of building called the ‘carriage house’. Living quarters were provided within the roof attic spaces for the coachmen and caretakers. This is an excellent example of how a building form evolves strictly to support its function. Out-swinging, large wooden doors were made to accommodate large carriages and animals. The steep-roofed attic spaces had openable windows in dormers for greater comfort. The features of this style include:

  • Large swinging plank-built doors
  • Fairly high ceiling
  • Steep roof with attic quarters
  • Dormers

The Mid-Century Modern Style:

For 20 to 30 years following World War 2, there was great economic growth, population boom and robust technological development in the US. An exciting, modern future was at hand and a lifetime to pursue it. The cultural enthusiasm was so complete that it was expressed in all things, such as cars, clothing, hair styles, music, art, film. can openers, cereal boxes, convenience foods, travel, and, in no small way, housing. Returning G.I.s had witnessed the progressive modernist design in Europe. Many design and artists of all kinds fled Hitler’s expansion. Among them, great architects trained in the Bauhaus School of Design. These were the leading modernist theory designers of all time and began building America in its expansion. Their ideas presented the future and abandoned the past. New ideas about light, space, scale, and the experience of living filled new magazine publications. Housing developments were built as quickly as possible. The new, simple and clean modern design ideas made houses cheaper, lighter and airy and a fresh, exciting glimpse of tomorrow for everyday Americans and their families. Ideas expressed in this trend were:

  • Form and spatial dynamics (feeling of flowing light and space)
  • Structural and materials honesty and clarity
  • Light spaces instead of darker spaces
  • Openness instead of compartmentalization

Many artists, designers, architects, and engineers propelled their design arts right into the future in an intensely productive albeit short period of time – the 1950s through 1960s/1970s in America. What a great era for design.