In the interest of actually getting the project done this summer, we broke down and hired a contractor to rebuild/remodel our garage. We hired Tim Austin, LLC who gave us a quote of about $20K for the project (about 2/3rds of all the other quotes). I thoroughly investigated his contractor license history (no complaints) and I called three of his references (who gave glowing reviews) and I perused about 20 pictures of his earlier outbuilding projects so I am pretty confident we'll get the garage built as spec-ed out.
He is going to try and get our original garage design approved, but we're expecting now the city will hold firm to their no eave ruling and we'll have to build the one with the gable rotated. I've signed a contract and put down a 50% deposit and Tim's hoping he'll have the permit approved in 3 or 4 weeks. We're hoping for a June 25 start date on demolition.
In addition to the garage, we are planning to add a bit of cement work so we can also deal with this messed up driveway of ours. Thanks to massive walnut tree roots uplifting it, the driveway is now sloped toward the house and garage, which has so far meant some pretty substantial puddles in the garage during particularly rainy weeks. (The basement has so far been pretty dry since we had it repaired right after buying the house.)
We are planning to put in something along these lines, with a gap in the center. We're hoping this design will absorb more of the rain flowing down the driveway.
I'm heading out of town early Wednesday for a week to visit family. It's actually quite hard to tear myself away from all these projects, but I haven't visited family for over a year. Jeff is staying home this time, so perhaps some projects will continue to have some progress in my absence. Hopefully he'll find the motivation to work on paint stripping and the front planting strip, which is currently quite ugly right now.