For years, I was hiding a dirty little secret! In fact, it was a big secret, and the worst kept one at that!
My garage had slowly become a disorganized catchall for everything from baby gear that we no longer needed, to athletic equipment for sports we never played, and home to approximately 9 hammers because it got to a point where it was just easier to buy a new one rather than sift through the cluttered chaos in hopes of finding the ones we already owned.
I think most people would confess to having a junk drawer, or a junk closet, or maybe even a junk room, but when that room is your garage, there’s no keeping it a secret from the entire neighbourhood. Especially on garbage day when the door slowly raises to embarrassingly reveal the disaster zone in its entirety. So, instead of continuing our covert 2am garage-to-curb garbage missions, my husband and I resolved to clean up our act, and not only make our garage more organized and efficient, but also a well-designed extension of our home.
With a modest budget, a heap of DIY elbow grease, and a dash of creativity, we set out to put the “fun” in functional and tackle the garage transformation ourselves. After a massive purge (which led to the discovery of the 9 hammers), we began to prioritize our projects, and at the top of the list was to address the shell of the space. We spent a weekend installing finished drywall and insulation to the walls and ceiling which immediately made the garage feel more like a room, and then we began prep on the floors.
Now that we could finally see them for the first time in nearly a decade, we noticed that our existing concrete floors had extensive automotive oil and paint stains, pitting from wear and tear, and they were long overdue for a cosmetic overhaul. After extensive cleaning, an application of Moisture Stop to seal the substrate, and patching of all cracks and divots with concrete FastPatch, we were ready to apply a top coat. My husband had always dreamed of a glossy fresh finish …like something you would see in a luxury car dealership, but we didn’t want to invest thousands of dollars into a lengthy and expensive application by a pro. After researching various options, we discovered Rust-Oleum’s RockSolid flooring kit with an anti-slip additive that created a marbleized glass effect, and we were beyond thrilled by how easy and affordable it was to DIY our own showroom worthy floors.
Another obvious project priority was the introduction of smart and savvy storage solutions. We wanted to maximize vertical space as much as possible, and by adding a combination of slat wall, overhead mounted bike hooks, and moveable modular storage cabinets from Gladiator, we could get items up off the floor and onto the walls and ceiling.
For added storage, I had the idea of upcycling an old wood dresser to stylishly stash small bits and bobs such as screws, paint brushes, sandpaper, etc. I quickly realized that a solid wood piece might not fair well with the extreme seasonal climate changes inside the garage, so I went on the hunt for an alternatively thrifty option. Thanks to Kijiji, I scooped up a vintage metal library cabinet for only $20… score! With a quick wire brush cleaning to remove loose rust, and a coat of rust inhibiting Tremclad in Sun Yellow, my frugal find became a show stopper of a storage solution.
High on my garage makeover wish list was the addition of a dedicated workbench, but I quickly realized that if we intended to park two cars in the garage (which we could now finally do), there wouldn’t be enough room for a permanent work surface. After a mini brain wave, I decided to DIY my own space saving work station by affixing a stained pine board to a pair of folding wall brackets. The simple solution now allows me to raise the table when I need it, and then fold it away against the wall when we want to park a car in the garage.
To create a crafty and colourful tool storage solution above the table, I simply primed and painted a pre-cut piece of pegboard, and then framed it out with some inexpensive mouldings. Now, there is place for everything, and everything in its place… including the hammer.
Since the completion of our DIY garage renovation, the only secret left to confess is the fact our garage is now officially (and ironically) the nicest room in our house!
Post was contributed by Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault. See her at the National Home Show March 11 & 12 at the DIY Centre, March 10 & 14 at the Gladiator booth, and on the Unilock main stage presented by Sunwing Foundation March 10 at 1pm, and March 12 at 12pm.