Like kudzu, garage houses are going up all over my beloved working-class Brigadoon. Not your grandmothers granny flat. A casita royale. Numero deux. The deuce. YIMBY-ville.
Something with a separate address, and a ghost in the stucco where the door once was.
Yimby, Yimby, Yimby. Literally. Just around back. Through the side gate. C’mon in. A house of one’s own. Yes, right here. Yes yes yes.
The old arrangement: five cars in the driveway and a door within the door of the garage had all the plausible deniability of a 40oz malt liquor in a paper bag. This served, for decades, as the ugly-yet-practical affordable workaround in a city which restricted new housing stock to Instagrammable apartment blocks for sugar babies, well beyond the economic reach of the unsubsidized. A few carbon monoxide deaths a year from space heaters may have been the price to be paid, but as long as there was a single electric meter the City looked the other way.
Very quietly, by allowing garage conversions, Los Angeles has potentially doubled housing stock in certain neighborhoods. The accessory dwelling unit is out of the closet at long last and ready to walk the boulevard in tight pants. Always thirsty for permits and taxes, it’s the City’s unofficial way of expanding horizontally without sprawl. The backyard is the new outer ring suburb.
Californians in this era of the one-party state have been required to accept conditions that our predecessors would never tolerate. Every once in a great while, it can get something right. I think this is going to work, though it will have detractors on aesthetic grounds, as one moves upmarket.
Then again, there’s this. Valley 3.0. Vehicles with extension cords.