Design Essentials for the Perfect Garage

California Closets

Irwin Weiner ASID - What is it about a garage that makes some people's eyes light up while others glaze over? Design2Share recently interviewed Westport, CT interior designer Katy Cleare of Catherine Cleare Interiors, and we got to talk with her husband Steve Kolb about the only space in the house he was allowed to design and decorate. The builder/developer walked us through some of the features he built into his "castle." And here's my checklist for designing the garage of your dreams - and note that you can turn a seldom-used garage into practically any living space, from spare bedroom to garage band practice space.

  • Add good lighting and you won't feel that you've been consigned to an outer ring of Hell
  • Cover the walls with a storage system, even something as simple as old pegboard and hook systems for hanging ladders, leaf blowers, bicycles, and garden tools - but add cupboards and other cubbies and nooks to store things and keep things out of sight when they're not in use
  • Include a hose and good drainage - the floor should pitch out so you can wash your car and motorcycle; make sure your walls have a water-resistant paint and waterproof drywall
  • If you can afford it, heat your garage, e.g. an independent blower heater system
  • You'll appreciate a laundry sink where you can attach the hose for quick car washes, and you've also got a place where you can wash paint brushes, and clean up from outdoor or mechanical work
California Closets
  • Many families keep an extra refrigerator/freezer in their garage; outlets should be accessible so you can unplug the large appliances easily or use outlets that are operated by a switch - some people use such appliances only when they're having a party and keep them turned off when not in use, and you don't want to have to pull heavy appliances away from the wall to pull the plug
  • Here's a real nice-to-have feature: heavy-duty outlets mounted from the ceiling in the center of the room are great for tools - turn the garage into the workshop space of your dreams by removing your cars and plugging tools from extension cords hanging down from the ceiling so there's no tripping over wires; it's also nice to work in the center of the garage so you have the maximum amount of space
  • Workbenches on wheels with brakes can be wheeled from the walls to the center of the garage for maximum work room if you've got that overhead power system mentioned in the previous bullet - and it's nice when the weather's wonderful to be able to wheel the workbench into the driveway so you don't feel cooped up


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