by Lauren Busser The House Designers Editorial Director
Next Sunday is Fathers Day and that means it's time to think about how to help Dad really do his thing in the garage, whether he's a simple hobbyist or a race car mechanic/machinist. Garages have evolved over the years from simply a place to park the car and the snow thrower to a genuine work space, and in some cases may even become an extension of your living area. With what's available today Dad can maintain his and your wheels and create and customize the workspace and storage to exactly his preferences.
When you think about a custom garage you'll need to first consider exactly how it will be used. Garages are of course great for storing and working on your cars and bikes, and larger spaces offer options that may not be obvious at first glance. A one-car family might take advantage of the extra space in a two-car garage by using some of it as a home office or a spot for the treadmill and weight bench. Some garage plans feature an overhead loft that can be used as a studio or guest space. And with the high-tech products available today you can build a mechanic’s true dream workspace. Here are a few ways to customize your garage.
Organization is number one in the serious garage, and with it any storage challenge can be met. And you'll want to have plenty of that storage for whatever you intend for your space. If the garage is used as a shop to work on cars and other wrench-spinning tasks you'll need space to store tool boxes and hang shelves for larger tools and parts. When considering layout, it's usually best to use longer spaces for large tools such as a lathe and for work benches. Short walls are great for cabinets and stashing rolling tool chests.
You’ll need to shop around for cabinetry that fits your needs and aesthetic tastes but one key aspect to look at carefully drawer-load capacity. This is particularly important when storing heavy tools like impact drivers and large hammers. A drawer load capacity of 125 pounds is readily available and will get the job done in most cases.
A great way to keep all your stuff organized and off the floor is to hang strong shelves and use overhead racks for rarely used bulky items. Cabinets work great but if you prefer to keep things out and available, then look for wire wall racks. Using wire wall racks frees up valuable floor space and keeps things tidy. Another real plus with wire racks and shelves is that they don't collect dust so it's easier to keep your stuff clean and orderly.
A car lift might just be the coolest thing you could add to any garage. You may have seen these at your mechanic’s shop or your dealership, and now it's available to anyone who wants to maximize their space and bragging rights. Many auto enthusiasts use them to turn a two-car garage into a three car garage or to free up floor space for other storage.
Better models will hold up to 7,000 pounds, with some units sitting on casters to allow them to be moved around the garage as needed. Of course as well as freeing up space, the real beauty is that you can ditch the jackstands and creeper and work standing up like a pro for a change.
These are just a few of the design elements that could help you create a Dad's dream garage. Keeping tools and parts organized and adding a little bit of luxury will make it a space you will love and want to spend time in. Whether you are working on classic cars or you want to extend your living space a bit, we hope we've given you some ideas on how to better use this often disused but valuable space.