A Sandpoint, Idaho General Contractor
Sandpoint Custom Home

Online Blog > 07/05/2013 - Homebuilder completes custom garage/guest house on the river > Next Entry 08/10/2013

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We have recently wrapped up work on this custom garage with guest house apartment upstairs.  The property is a sloping property with riverfront shoreline on the south side of the Pend Oreille River between Sagle and Priest River, Idaho.  The goal of the project was to provide the homeowners adequate garage space for boat storage and a work bench, provide a guest apartment upstairs for extended family and friends and an RV pad adjacent to the exterior south side with dump station, power and water.  The main challenge on the site was the fact that there was a existing root cellar and shallow with its top under the stairs leading down to the root cellar.  The lot is only 75 feet wide, so setbacks had to be carefully observed to allow good ingress/egress to the main garage rollup doors.  Also, the grade dropped almost 10 feet between the private access road and the north side of the proposed building.

We solved the grade problem with terracing and retaining walls.  We'll start by taking you back to the beginning of the project with tree clearing on the site and carefully locating the plan to meet setbacks and incorporate the root cellar.  The root cellar and well had a small shed built over them.  Excavation involved demolition of the shed and removal of the retaining wall seen in the photo below:

Concrete work was first and involved a multi-stepped foundation to follow the decline in grade and keep the footers well below the frost level (we aim for 12 inches below the 50 year average frost level of 19 inches).  You can see in the photo below the original access to the root cellar.  The original walls are inside our new walls, and we increased their height.  We later filled between the old and new walls with concrete.  You can also see in this picture the formwork we used to pour a slab as a new ceiling over the root cellar access.  This has significant reinforcing steel bar to carry the vehicle loads above.

Attic trusses were used to frame the upstairs apartment, and then a gable dormer was framed to give views of the river on the north side:

Siding was painted Certainteed fiber cement siding, Cedar trim, and the gable ends were sided with rough sawn plywood and battens to give a board and batten look.  We poured new retaining walls next to the building and above the building and covered them with Cultured Stone (an original retaining wall is in the foreground of the below picture), and our landscaping subcontractor installed a 2 zone sprinkler system and sod (what I call instant lawn):

Inside, we covered the ceiling in tongue and groove Western red Cedar.  The countertops are Formica 180FX series, and the bathroom features a tiled tub surround and a deep soaking tub.  We used lots of built ins for storage into the attic part of the building.  The roof received spray foam insulation, and the building heating and cooling performs very efficiently as a result.  The building is also wired with Cat 5 cables to allow the owner to run multiple security cameras.

The flooring is affordable but durable Pergo laminate.

We tiled the bathroom floor and set the tile on Ditra by Schluter Systems instead of traditional cementitious backer board.  The saved some increase in floor height: