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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Garage Makeover

Two years ago, we attempted to makeover the garage.  First we added a new, more attractive,  automatic garage door with windows to let in some much needed light.  Next, I had a carpenter move the threshold for the interior entrance that leads into the laundry/mud room about a foot.  A new door was also added (still not painted...) because the original was pretty beat up. We use this door as the main entrance for our family and every time someone was at the mud sink, they would get hit in the back by whoever was coming in through the garage. The original door location was a serious builder blunder!  I also had the old short stairs removed and replaced them with a 6ft. run that went to the wall allowing for storage and safety. The old handrail was on the left.  Absurd, since there was nothing to hold onto and prevent you from falling off the right side! And, when the hand rail was on the left, it made for the useless little cubbie that just collected dirt between the stairs and the wall. We also added extra circuits to the breaker panel for media and electrical wiring needed for planned renovations. 

Before-signs of phase 1

After-all phases complete
This past spring I promised my husband his Father's Day gift would be to complete the garage makeover. To say he was excited would be an understatement! We got started in the Spring with Step 1 through 3.  Steps 4 and 5 followed.  And, this past weekend the last few things were completed! I do NOT recommend, dragging it out this long, as there is a very good chance it will never get finished. We gave ourselves a firm deadline of the end of September to complete both the garage and storage room.

The Wish List:
Lots of sturdy storage shelving
Hanging system for tools
Work bench
New refrigerator

The Plan:
Be brutal about what we really needed to keep.
Measure for everything that would stay.
Make sure the systems were flexible for possible changes down the road.
Allow virtually nothing to be stored on the floor.
Make it as attractive as possible!

Donate & Dump

The Process:
Implement the 3 D's. You may call it something else, but this is my personal system:  Decide, Donate, Dump.
I use for it myself and  my clients.

Step 1:
Decide what you are keeping and put it aside.
Donate to your neighbors, friends, favorite charity, or local thrift store everything in good condition that you no longer need.
Dump the rest in the garbage or recycling.

Step 2: 
Draw up the design plan. We already had a metal storage cabinet (used to store paper goods and cleaning products) and the measurements for the new Gladiator refrigerator, so the rest of the space was configured from there. NOTE: Don't forget to account for your automatic garage door tracks and electrical outlets! Be precise about every measurement and size of every item. Each item will need to have an exact location. This is critical in knowing what parts will be ordered. This step is definitely, the most difficult aspect of the whole job, because it will impact everything, including what you spend!  Order parts and have delivered.

Assess the mess & decide what stays for measurements.

Step 3:
Paint the walls (aqua), ceiling (white), stain the floor (gray), and the baseboards (black). I use the term baseboards loosely because in reality it was a rough uneven space between the walls and floor.  We used an exterior paint for this part.  

Step 4:
Prep the floor. Sweep and then use a cleaner/etcher solvent. Allow to dry for 2 days. Apply 2 coats of concrete stain to floor. Not difficult, but very time consuming. Apply 1 coat of stain for a mottled look, 2 coats if you want the look of paint without all the scratching/chipping in a high traffic area. Plus, it covered up oil & rust (from our renter's car) and most of my mishap of spilled paint a few years earlier...oops! Wait at least 3 days for foot traffic and at least 10 days for car parking.

The products used

Goodbye oil & rust stains

Goodbye paint spill.

Left side after etching,-Right side after primer.

First coat of stain.

Second coat on upper left.
 Step 5:
 Install the system. We chose an Elfa system because of durability & flexibility.  The old plastic shelving didn't function well. We were on our 3rd one! They crack over time and are a hazzard if you are trying to store anything heavy. Plus, debris always gets trapped underneath.  Since this was suppose to be a gift to my husband, I didn't want him to have to do this part. Instead I had an Elfa expert to the installation. With the design plan in hand (we gave them our measurements and parts list, then they put it into their software program to create the final plan) it only took him 2 hours. Worth every cent! 

Ready to get organized!
  Step 6:
Put everything away based on the design plan. Note: Our backyard deck is enclosed with lattice and there is an entry gate to access storage underneath.  Large items such as the lawnmower and wheelbarrow are stored there under a tarp. The trash can has always been kept on the side of the house, hidden from view by a large Holly tree. Recycling is now located right by the door. Convenient for tossing newspapers and cardboard!


Pleading to be rescued...

Dignity for our family & our cars restored!

The Details:

Storage Wall

Work Wall

Recreation: Bikes & Golf

Playing too!

And a little gardening...

Favorite helpers!

Big help for muddy feet & paws.

Finishing touches...they help too!
What it cost:
Design fee: Zero. I hired myself! 
Elfa shelving & hanging systems: $1,475
Installation fee: 30% of total
Gladiator refrigerator: $925
Metal cabinet: $75
Work bench: $200
Rug: $85
Materials: $150

All photos courtesy of A&A


  1. I am going to show you my garage! Love your garage. It really is such a blessing to have one. On that is well kept!

  2. When are you coming to my house? And bring the fridge please!

  3. That looks great. We sooooo need to do ours. It is a mess and I keep telling my husband we have got to work on it. He just keeps putting it off and works on his car garage for his hobby instead. Ugh!

  4. Your garage looks amazing. I'm keeping this for inspiration when we "own" our house. Right now we rent and if you could see our garage you would have heart failure. I'm still going to organize it on a budget and when I do - I'll show you but this is great inspiration for homeowners and I love the product you used for installation and that fridge is just way too cute. I want to come for a party and hang out by the fridge :)

  5. Yay! I love a good organization project, our garage and closets are all elfa'd (mom works at TCS) and what a difference it makes!! Good job finishing it up!! *Amy

  6. Good heavens to mergatroid, what a transformation! Impressed!

  7. You should feel SO proud! What a fantastic accomplishment. The first step in our reno is ripping down the garage and starting over. Now, I have a visual on what to do!!!

  8. Now that's impressive!! My husband is obsessed with our garage. If I was in charge, it would definitely look like your "before". Loved seeing the transformation!!

  9. Wow! SO jealous of this...thinking Elfa should be paying you, it looks like an ad! Wow!

  10. great post....
    but it just reminds me of MY GARAGE mess.

    someday i will get to it.

  11. Wow, that looks just gorgeous. A lot of elbow grease but well worth the beautiful result. I love a tidied up garage. I want to paint ours white inside too and have been wondering about doing something like that to the floor. Also the concrete floor in our furnace room - was dreaming about a Farrow & Ball colour to make my ugly room look happy. Never heard of concrete stain. Learned lots here!!

    Gorgeous. Even utility spaces can be brightened up!

    xo Terri

  12. My husband would
    consider this absolute
    Nirvana! We need to
    tackle the garage again,
    soon, before it gets too
    cold, as ours isn't heated
    and we live in MN. The
    toughest part is the 3 D's,
    for us!! Thanks for all
    of the great inspiration
    and for taking us through
    the process.
    xx Suzanne

  13. I am so impressed! A garage to make any husband happy. I like the Decide Donate Dump, now if I can just apply it to my closet purge. It is just the Decide part I have trouble with but I am going to be ruthless! Happy weekend, maybe a garage party? XO

  14. this is my dream. A dream that will never happen. But you may have inspired me. My poor garage is just a hell hole.

  15. Hey Girl....well done! My fridge in the garage is fine but I LUV yours!

  16. Looks wonderful. We cleaned ours out recently and it made me feel so much better. When we move we won't have a basement so our garage will have to do double duty...and we are losing a space, going from a 3 to 2 we are going to HAVE to get even better organized. Filing this away in my inspiration files!

  17. Oh, my husband would so love this. We are talking organization plus. Great job!!!! Have a fabulous weekend. Mona

  18. Wow that looks GREAT!!!!! I wish we had a garage.

  19. I love before and afters...even garages and this looks fabulous! Great Job!

  20. Can you come over my house? Just beautiful!

  21. WOW, what a great transformation! We don't have a garage but we do have a basement and it needs exactly the same TLC! I can imagine how great it feels to have it all organized - love that feeling!

  22. Hey you have a very interesting blog, i will visit ur blog regularly, u should go for this website to increase visitor.Happy Blogging!!!

  23. Very impressive renovation. I'm impressed not only with the design, but also the discipline to follow through until the end.

  24. OMG...obviously you do not have ADD....what an awesome job and the comment before me about finishing it is so true. Although I can't even start.


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