By JOSH BAKER
If you have a passion for cooking, you might consider creating a gourmet kitchen with all the equipment desired by world-class chefs. But what if you’re a car enthusiast? Then today’s high-tech and well-designed showstopper garages might be just your speed. Here are some great ideas our design-build remodeling team has included in garage transformation projects for car aficionados.
Whether it’s a makeover of existing space for the family car or a new detached showroom for a vintage car collection, higher end garages have been on the rise in recent years. More and more, car enthusiasts are looking to create garages that are fully conditioned and decked out with storage systems, entertainment areas, plumbing, machinery and high-quality finishes.
Mechanical systems: Whether you’re looking to work on your own cars, create a private workshop or add additional capacity, you may consider installing a hydraulic lift. On the upper end of options are in-ground lifts, which are flush-mounted with the floor and rise from underneath with the push of a button. Also available are a range of above-ground post lifts that allow convenient accessibility for car servicing or, with enough ceiling height, can double or even triple garage capacity. If you’re a mechanic at heart, you may add a professional-grade air compressor for convenient power for the tools of the trade. Another luxury option is a garage (or driveway) turntable that is installed flush to the surface and helps to maneuver vehicles into tricky spaces.
Flooring: If your garage serves dual purposes – showroom and workshop – you may consider mixed flooring. For the display area, many choose to invest in quality ceramic tile for a high-end, finished look. However, dropped objects can cause damage to these tiles so they are not ideal for the work area. For this portion, many recommend cement floors with a dark colored epoxy treatment, for a solution that is less expensive and virtually impenetrable. Another all-over flooring option, which is cost effective, durable and attractive, is rubber tile or sheet goods specifically made for the auto industry.
Lighting and windows: As sunlight will fade vehicle paint and fabrics, special care should be taken when deciding where or if to include windows. Well-planned, high-quality artificial lighting is critical to both functionality and color accuracy. Cool fluorescent lighting with high output is ideal, especially when it carries a high Color Rendition Index (CRI), which helps to ensure that colors appear true.
Climate Control: A complete heating, air conditioning and dehumidifying system is important to create an environment that is comfortable for both you and your car. Another important consideration is controlling humidity, which can help to prevent rust and mold. Garage owners can choose either a basic standalone unit or a sophisticated system with digital controls that automatically maintains the desired humidity level.
Plumbing: With many garages now featuring bathrooms, indoor car washes, ice makers and utility sinks, water is another must-have in the ultimate garage. Keep in mind that a garage drain will likely require separators to filter out the oil and grease.
Entertainment: As if the lure of the cars is not enough, many are choosing to turn their new garages into lounge-like gathering spaces to be shared by all. Common additions are wet bars, seating areas, pool tables, high-end sound systems and entertainment centers.
Security: Just like with the rest of your home, you want to make sure your garage and vehicles are properly protected with a quality security system.
The bottom line is with professional design expertise and execution, garages are no longer greasy spaces overstuffed with junk. With a bit of planning, today’s garages are high-tech, comfortable and more functional retreats for car enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts alike.
Josh Baker is the founder and co-chair of BOWA, an award-winning design and construction company specializing in luxury renovations, remodels and additions in the greater Washington, D.C. area. BOWA has more than 25 years of experience and has been honored with 110 local and national awards. Reach BOWA at 703-734-9050 or bowa.com.