A garage, gym and workshop in one timber building
A timber outbuilding for rural County Durham
James lives with his family in County Durham, in the North East of England, on a large property in a rural area. His home is surrounded by a large garden and is nestled among fields and a farm. He often volunteers at the farm, which is just half a mile up his road, to feed the sheep and help out however he can; James loves the countryside.
The previous homeowner converted the huge garage already on the property into a home, where he now lives. This left the house without a shelter for vehicles. James and his wife moved into the house just before the Covid pandemic hit. For this reason, they postponed the idea of building a garage for years.
Once the pandemic was under control, they revisited the idea. However, James discovered that prices had increased significantly, so building a stone garage of the size he requested became cost-prohibitive. He spent a long time browsing the internet, looking for a substantial and good-quality building that matched his budget. This is when he discovered he could opt for a carriage house with garage doors, which would fit in perfectly with the Conservation Area he lives in.
Choosing a building that would be a garage, workshop and a gym
At the beginning of 2022, James was ready to place an order for a garage. He had planning permission from a couple of years before, so he didn’t need to apply again. However, because he lives near a 13th century hall, he had to submit the plans to the planning officer for approval before placing an order.
He chose Olson Timber Buildings among 40 other companies because he felt our buildings were long-lasting and strong. The reviews were great and he liked the idea that slow-grown wood is a sustainable material. He says Olson make “one of the best-looking and largest buildings I’ve seen.” Price was also a factor in his decision and he appreciated the installation being included in the purchase price.
James found the process “ideal”, as he had to respect strict local building requirements. The council wasn’t happy with a standard roof pitch, so Olson quickly modified the plans to suit the request. He arranged for a local builder to lay down the concrete foundation and once this was in place, the Olson team made the trip up North to install the carriage house.
“The crew were absolutely fab, very reliable” comments James. They started the build at 8:30 in the morning and the carriage house was complete by the early afternoon. James was “very pleased with the efficiency and the standard of construction.”
More than a wooden garage
The two-bay garage is 7.2 metres by 7.3 metres and sits in the driveway, at the back of James’ house. It features two garage doors on one side and a personal door and single window on the others.
James keeps his quad bike, Landrover, Suzuki 4x4, vintage tractor, archery equipment, mountain bike, outdoor gear and more in it. He even managed to set up a gym space and a little workshop where he refurbishes wooden furniture and fencing. This consists of two workbenches, as well as woodworking tools and materials.
He hired an electrician to fit the building with electricity, so it now has five heavy-duty sockets, which can be used to operate power tools. Inside there are five LED strip lights, while outside four dome lights automatically turn on when someone approaches. This is especially useful at night.
The customer’s feedback
“The whole process was really good, communication was clear for a novice like me and the building is great value” comments James.
James is “impressed” with the quality of the carriage house. “The hinges are very substantial, I’d say top of the range. They are very robust and strong,” he comments. He is very fond of wood as a building material, so he really likes the look of it, too. His wife says it’s too big, but James thinks that “it suits (his) needs perfectly” - he can always find a use for the extra space.
Overall, he describes the experience as “spot on, straightforward.”