Our Philippine House building project. The accidental bodega (storage room) and laundry area. First of all, in the Philippines a “bodega” refers to a warehouse or storage area. We built our carport using left over heavy steel roof rafters originally intended for the house but later determined not to be necessary. Because the house is much bigger than the carport we envisioned, the rafters were too long. Part of this extra length was employed in making a very steep roof pitch for the garage/carport. The advantage of the steep roof was to give us a relatively high place to put our stainless steel water storage tank. That way we wouldn’t have to build a separate tower to hold the tank. Some of the welded-up water tanks towers are an eyesore and unnecessarily take up room in the yard.
Stainless steel water tank in car port.
Even with this steep pitch the rafters were still too long. On one side we created as wide an overhang as we could, reaching almost to our perimeter wall. The space this overhang created is shown below. We could have cut off the overlong rafter tail but instead used it to create space for our storage and laundry area.
The big overhang
Our plan was to make a bodega to house our water pump, generator and tools plus a laundry area where our washing machine would be located. The laundry area would also have a big sink and a counter and a covered area to dry laundry.
Before we poured the carport floor, we put in the water supply and drain pipes and electrical conduit.
Pipes go in before the floor is poured
This shows the walls of the bodega going up.
and is the storage room and the partially completed laundry area.
The heavy steel door is another leftover. It was originally built for the house but was too heavy and jail-like. It’s great for the bodega. The bodega roof is leftover house roofing panels.
Inside the bodega
The big red wires (AWG 10) lead to the house electrical panel box. They will carry the output of the generator into the house. Since this photo was taken, the bodega was painted and fitted with shelves.
Laundry area under construction
Both the bodega and the laundry area were tiled with inexpensive local tile. Why tile the bodega? It’s to correct a mistake. When the carport floor was poured it was sloped to drain to each side. Once the bodega went up, we belatedly realized that the slope directed rain and wash water directly into the bodega. Since the bodega will house our generator and welder we want it to be as dry as possible. Tiling the bodega allowed us to correct this mistake and gives us a little nicer storage area. The entire carport was painted after the concrete finish has cured and was washed with neutralizer.
Completed laundry area
Finished bodega (storage area)
The carport/bodega/laundry area covers about 48 square meters, bigger than a small house. Since it’s been more or less done I’ve realized the same thing that many Filipino families know — that the garage is a great place to hang out. You have a roof which keeps off the sun and rain but otherwise it’s open to whatever breeze is available on a hot day. Although we’ve done everything we can to make our house comfortable in the heat, it really can’t compare with being outside — and that’s what being in the garage is like. We’ll put a bench there as an alternative hangout on hot days.
As an aside, one of the most pleasant surprises about life at our house is the lack of biting insects, at least during the day. Bob spends all day at the site and is never bothered by mosquitoes or other biting insects. There are fire ants, but they are pretty easy to avoid. There are flies which really don’t bite. This is such a wonderful contrast with our beautiful farm in Upstate New York. It’s lovely there but enjoyment of the outdoors is really a challenge because of the multitude of biting insects — deer flies, black flies and clouds of mosquitoes. Who would have guessed that the tropics could be so free of biting bugs.
The above photo shows that we decided to tile the garage floor. This was a great decision. The cost was not high. The tile is much easier to keep clean than the roughly finished concrete.