Archive for Thursday, July 21, 2005

Final call for makeovers: the messy garage

July 21, 2005

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The garage may be the final frontier for homeowners smitten by makeover mania.

It's hard to pick a household space with, at least to neighbors and passers-by, a more public persona. Nowhere do mess and clutter speak louder about the occupant's organizational skills and tastes, or lack thereof.

The good folks in the enclave of Germantown, Tenn., know the repercussions of junky garages. Homeowner association officials there have floated the idea of mandating garage doors remain closed at all times.

Tom Baker of St. Paul, Minn., can relate. For Baker and his wife Kathy, the breaking point was "the mess, with everything in total disarray, and we couldn't find anything" among lawn and garden tools and other gadgets strewn across the floor and jammed into corners.

The Bakers' epiphany mirrors what Chris Hubbuch sees as housing's trend de jour: the garage has been elevated to room status.

"Ultimately, people have pride in all their rooms, including the garage," Hubbuch says. "And they want theirs to be better looking than the neighbor's."

As with other rooms in the house where big bucks are spent in a heartbeat, consumers can spend a little or a lot on garage upgrades.

Homeowners can spend as little as $50 on basic wall storage. From there, the sky's the limit, cost-wise. The Gladiator approach is a complete grow-as-you-go modular system from walls to corners and ceilings and even snazzy flooring and refrigerators.

Other firms, such as Case Logic, give homeowners a $10 entry price point for basic wall storage that slips between bare wall studs or can be affixed directly to drywall atop studs.

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