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Have you heard of a Garbin? It’s a combination garage/cabin (hence the name). Basically, a Garbin is a garage that has additional storage space above it. It’s a good way to make use out of extra space and add some spots for guests to sleep along with storage space to keep your cars, equipment, and outdoor toys out of the way when you aren’t using them.

Who should add a Garbin?

If you have need for a garage anyway, you might as well use the extra space above the garage for a practical purpose. If you don’t really have a need for a garage, then you can make extra space in your cabin in more conventional ways, such as putting extra beds in a bunkhouse or even getting a second cabin (depending on just how many extra beds you find yourself needing throughout the year).

What to consider before adding on a Garbin

Zoning regulations

Before you get too far in planning out your new storage space, you’ll need to do some research. Check with your city to make sure there aren’t any zoning regulations that would prohibit you from adding a Garbin on to your cabin. The thing you’ll be looking for is whether local zoning authorities will allow secondary living structures on your site.

 

Different codes have different definitions for what qualifies as “living space.” Some define living space as spaces with wet spaces (like a kitchen or bathroom) but will still allow for a rec room. It’s possible to have a Garbin designed to connect to main structures in order to have the full cabin qualify as one single dwelling.

Access and egress

When you decide to use the space above your garage for something besides storage, you need to make sure that the stairway leading up to it meets all relevant codes in your location.

 

A pull-down stair doesn’t cut it. You’ll need to add a real stairway either outside or inside the building’s envelope. For internal stairs, they have to be separated from the garage area and will need to directly lead to the exterior.

 

You can use a fire-rated door in between the garage and the stairs, provided the fire-rated door doesn’t imply an exit.

 

External stairs can make for a unique design and decorative feature, particularly if they lead to a small deck. Adding a small deck can also make the attic space even more livable and enjoyable for your guests.

 

Any space that’s designated as a bedroom, including in the attic space, has to have an egress window that meets proper egress codes.

Size

You can get a Garbin designed for as many as four cars. The larger the garage space, the larger the living space. But you don’t want to have more garage space than you’ll reasonably use. Think carefully about how you’ll use your garage when planning out your Garbin.

 

Adding a Garbin to your cabin can be a functional way to add storage and living space at the same time. Make sure to work with a qualified builder and designer who can help you make the most out of your cabin space.

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