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Organizing a Garage: A Designer’s Perspective

By: Kathryn LaBarbera on Mar 12, 2015 in Custom Garage, Garage Cabinetry, Organization, Our Experts, Tips

Organizing a Garage: A Designer’s Perspective



I look at every new Motor Trend Garage project as a blank canvas. I recently talked with clients Jim and Danielle Sterling about what each of them were looking to do with their garage. They both wanted very specific things, but were skeptical that we could get all of it accomplished in one garage. Jim wanted a workbench, access to the door to the backyard, room for a car and a place for all of his tools. Danielle wanted a laundry area, storage for bins, shelves for bulk items and everything to look good. I took detailed notes. It was a tall order, but I knew I was up to the task.

I analyzed what they stored in the garage and measured their appliances (washer, dryer, refrigerator and wine refrigerator), their bins, tools and everything else they stored in the garage. It was quite a task because they had so much stuff and it was difficult to get to.I had to measure the walls of the garage including the different heights due to a sloping ceiling. There were a lot of obstructions that would affect the design: an electrical panel, plugs, light switches, pipes, wires, steam unit for the master bathroom, garage door track and more.

Once I had all of the measurements, it was time to create the sketch. The washer and dryer had to stay in the same place due to pipes and vents, so I started working around them. Overhead garage cabinets are ideal. Danielle wanted a place to fold laundry and Jim wanted a workbench. This went perfectly on the back wall and served both purposes. A utility cabinet for the vacuum, space for the wine refrigerator and cabinet with pull out trays for the dog and cat food finished the right wall.

slatwallThe left wall was easy – with cabinets for storing bins, camping equipment, luggage and bulk items. Two cabinets have sliding doors so Jim and Danielle can easily get to the contents even when the car is parked in the garage. Every empty wall has slatwall for large yard tools, gardening items and other things Jim needed for the barbecue.

My work of art – the design – was complete. Both Jim and Danielle were happy that they got the garage storage they needed and wanted. I could tell that Jim was still a little skeptical that everything would work as I promised. We had to wait until everything was installed, but I knew that we got everything in there with space to spare.

The best part was seeing the look on their faces when they saw their new garage cabinets for the first time. Not only were they happy, but their new garage exceeded their expectations, too. This truly was a case where reality was better than art.

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