Be It Ever So Humble, There’s No Garage Like Home

Photo by Mel

My house’s attached garage is your pretty average 20 or so foot by 20 or so foot box. And I’m really happy to have it. Because I know so many car guys that make do with a carport, lean-to, subterranean parking spot, or a single car garage, or parking on the street. So the fact that I can fit two cars, all my tools, and several thousand car magazines in a place I can call my own makes me happy and lucky. I guess the point I’m making is that it’s important to want what we have, not just have what we want. Now, that doesn’t kill my dream for a fantasy Garajmahal someday, because after all, that’s the primary purpose of this magazine. But even though I can’t yet have a “building” or a “car barn” I’ve tried to make the most of what I have, and you can too.
Before I moved in to this house, I insulated the garage walls, and ran three-prong electrical to everywhere I thought might need it. The I drywalled over the insulation and studs, which not only made the room quieter, but gave me much-needed poster and sign hanging surface. I’m not the greatest mud-and-tape guy in the world, but the walls came out smooth enough, and an airless sprayer and a five gallon can of semi-gloss eggshell white made it all look of-a-piece. This was also the time to install some four-tube fluorescent light fixtures that I got for free from a local commercial building owner who was remodeling one of his stores. Plus a used ceiling fan. And I installed a couple of them turbine wheelie things that suck the heat right out of the high open ceiling. My magazine library and gazillion bottles of car wax and detail spray consumed several floor to ceiling book cases made of a combination of pressboard, redwood furring strips and ¾” plywood. Which I promise you is so much better than magazine piles in your garage, den or bathroom. Heavy Duty Sears Craftsman compressor and a workbench, plus Craftsman rollaways? Natch.
Ever read a For Sale ad claiming a car was stored in a “climate-controlled garage?” Well I always wanted one of those. So I recently had my HVAC guy visit my attic, hack into my air conditioning and furnace unit, then plumb a duct out into the garage. So my car barnette is now “climate controlled.” So much better for the cars, fuel and rubber, and my inventory of car details supplies, paints and such that don’t like cold humidity or long hot dry So-Cal summer days. The cost was minimal, the result worth much more.
The big mistake I made with all this was not doing something with the floor before I moved in. It is of course old concrete, modestly cracked, and stained, plus it’s just ugly. I should have put one of those shiny heavy coatings on it when the space was empty. But maybe someday I’ll empty it out and refinish. Something to look forward to.
I’m not sharing this with you to prove how great my space is; my main point is that with a little ingenuity, scrounging and effort, your garage can be a helluva lot nicer. And your cars will love it. My gripe is that I don’t have enough time to spend out there fiddling around. Or redoing the floor.