Yes, it’s true: Last month I sold my garage. It was constructed almost five years ago, and over that span I made some tasteful upgrades. Nothing crazy—just a little personalization. I wasn’t initially in the market to sell, but I think it was John Lennon who said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

While I do appreciate a well-appointed man-cave, that kind of extravagance is just not for me. I have no desire to spend tens of thousands on excessive upgrades and other garage bling. As my bio indicates, I am neither a mechanic nor a engineer, so most of those enhancements are lost on me anyway (as much as I’d like a scissor lift).

This workbench can support all my projects.

It’s a modest space—frame construction, twenty feet square. It’s just a place where two cars can rest in comfort. I started with the floor, adding a polyaspartic surface resistant to anything you can pour, drop, or spray on it. There’s an alcove with a massive workbench topped with a thick work surface and steel legs that could support a lawn tractor.

The walls are covered on both sides with pegboard that I’ve tinted light gray—for aesthetics and car-door protection, not for hanging tools. The concrete footers are coated in a graphite color that visually divides the floor and walls. There are accents of steel diamond-plate moldings along the front wall and as a kick-plate for the entry door.

Some tasteful upgrades…

Two separately controlled bay doors are connected to the interface on both of our cars, so there’s no remote clip to crush the visor. Since the doors are WiFi enabled, I can open and close them separately or together from virtually anywhere on the planet with my smartphone, and at night they shut down automatically if I forget and leave them open (although that will never happen).

Two rolling cabinets under the bench hold most of my hand tools in drawers lined with non-slip inserts that keep them organized. My power tools are now stored in a covered cabinet above the bench, and my table and miter saws rest easily below it. There is a narrow shelf the length and depth of the alcove for a minimum of chemicals and detailing liquids.

Yes, I am painfully organized!

When I need to work on a larger project sheltered from inclement weather, I can move one or both cars into the driveway to maneuver lumber and other materials, as well as any shop tools I might need. But I prefer that these involved activities are done outside, because they tend to be a messy business and I like to keep the place clean.

LED fixtures overhead provide more light than any florescent could, and without the flickering. A minimalist, I keep as little as possible on the walls: an extension ladder, a step stool. and some long-handled tools are suspended just inside the bay doors so that they cannot be easily seen from the street. My garage was conceived to be simple, purposeful, an unassuming.

Just our two BMWs, and not much else.

There are no freezers filled with burger patties and chicken nuggets, no bicycles or outdoor furniture, no lawn mower or other yard gear, and no bags of mulch or potting soil. I don’t have a TV or seating area. There’s not much else in my garage other than our BMWs: a 2021 M440i that I drive and a 2021 330e plug-in hybrid that my wife enjoys.

It took some effort to get the setup just right. I spent many hours planning and creating. But in a few months, a new owner will be using this space for whatever they so choose. They don’t have to be as meticulous as I am, and I cringe a little thinking about that. After settlement, my garage will be theirs—along with the house connected to it.

One last look…

We are moving to comparable quarters in a similar community, not terribly far away, for reasons that won’t add much to this narrative. Starting over isn’t always a terrible thing; the silver lining in all of this is that I have the unique opportunity to remedy the few mistakes I made the first time around (stay tuned for a future column).

It is certainly not a shop to brag about, but it works quite well for me, and my garage sold overnight—perhaps because of its efficient use of space. There’s enough room to move around both cars and use the workbench without backing out a vehicle. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter, so I know that comfort was not the motivating factor. Whatever the reason, moving logistics while I wait for my new garage to be built mean that I’ll experience a few months of apartment living with outdoor, unprotected parking.

I don’t want to even think about it.

On the bright side, the interim does give me some time to think about the design and features of my new place. Oh, and I might consider some improvements to the living quarters attached to it.—David Newton



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