Take a look at this spectacular North Carolinian estate belonging to my longtime garage buddy, Larry. For years, I have been a fan of Larry's clinically clean and expertly organized garage, but what impresses me even more is Larry's remarkable detailing work that he completes inside it. When I made the decision to feature garage spaces of others on my blog, I immediately sent Larry an invite and he graciously accepted. He furnished me with comprehensive responses to all of my questions along with quality photos that showcase the pristine environment he has created to pursue his passion for detailing.
Name: Larry Bishop
Location: Charlotte, NC
We moved to Charlotte from the DMV area in mid-2016 and built our first single family home. Construction was completed late August and I quickly started on the garage. Fortunately, the builder finished both garages and installed baseboards which gave us a great starting point. In the first month of ownership, we completed the epoxy, lights, and all the gladiator wall tracks/cabinets. Since we built the house, I spent the construction period researching and accumulating products which meant I had the bulk of the items upon move in. I originally met Rick on Garage Journal, where I spent a good amount of my research time. Yes, I went through all 88 pages of Rick's build journal and contributed greatly to his 630k views! I lost steam on my garage journal thread but the following is what I started:
Click here to connect to Larry's informative build thread on garagejournal.com
For the flooring, I selected ArmorPoxy's ArmorClad with upgraded clear coat. I had epoxy in our Maryland townhouse and it suited my needs very well. The ability to wash inside and easily clean up the floor was the main appeal. My wife and I did the install over a long weekend on both garages. Next was the Gladiator wall tracks. The back wall has 16'x4' of total coverage with the opposing wall having 8'x4' of tracks. I found a local wholesaler who bought returned Gladiator stock from Home Depot and I was able to secure the tool chest, large cabinet, and smaller cabinets at a great price. Those were delivered the second week after the floor fully cured. At this point, we've been in the house less than a month and the garage was progressing very quickly.
The master closet had a door to the unfinished attic space which extended over the primary garage. We had a contractor finish the attic and do a custom closet which meant I was going to lose access above the primary garage. For this reason, it was time to upgrade the lighting before the area was sealed. As of this writing, I've redone the lighting two times and finally happy with the end result. Ideally I would like to add more wall lights but I haven't found a cost effective solution. The current light configuration in the primary garage is six fixtures containing four T8 5K LED bulbs and one fixture containing two T8 5K bulbs. At this time I also had a another 20A outlet installed for a compressor. It's bright and shadows are greatly minimized. Since the interior of the house was being painted, it made sense to paint the primary garage. Four painters completed the task in a half a day, it would've taken me a month.
Next up was the water source. I had the builder do a rough in for a sink knowing that I wanted a hose bib inside the garage. A couple hours with a plumber and I had my utility sink and hose bib ready to go. I do have plans to redo this section as I want to upgrade to a stainless tub and hose reel, hopefully that can happen this year.
The secondary garage received similar treatment with matching epoxy flooring and wall tracks. Since getting my wife a wider SUV and having a baby, it made sense to give her the primary garage and S4 gets the single bay one. I do have some storage goals and possibly lighting upgrades in the works.
I like the garage to feel like an extension of the house. My original goals were simply to have a clean, well lit, and organized space to enjoy my free time and hobbies. Starting in my late 20's, motorcycles were my focus and the two bikes demanded much of the garage space in Maryland. After seven years, two accidents, nine bikes, and sixty plus track days I was starting to shift more attention to cars and detailing. In the summer of 2017, I started detailing professionally in Charlotte out of the primary garage. This decision was more out of fun and to get more involved with the local community since we were relatively new to the area. My career is in corporate finance but I really enjoy the tangible aspect of detailing. So I put my S4 and garage on display and I received my first client in Sept 2017.
Click here to subscribe to Larry's IG feed where he features his detailing work.
My biggest advice to anyone wanting to transform their space is to take your time. Figure out your needs and research till you're bored with the topic and then start. I spent the five month construction period simply reading and asking questions. My wife was a big help with layout and installation as well. Taking advantage of sales or used items can keep costs down, in addition to simply doing what you can yourself. Good examples being the floor and cabinets. I covered the near 1k sq ft of flooring for about $1.50 a sq ft as compared to $4 a sq ft for a local installer. All the cabinets were purchased for 40% off retail since they were overstock.
I want to thank Larry for taking the time to share the story of his garage with me. It is my hope that people will take inspiration from his garage and make the most of their own garages. If you would like to see your garage story featured on my blog, feel free to contact me. In the meantime, thanks for taking the time to visit this blog and be sure to come back soon because I have more amazing garage stories lined up!
My quest to feature garages belonging to other enthusiasts takes me to Saskatoon, SK. Shaun Gullacher and I have been garage buddies for a few years. We became acquainted through the Obsessed Garage Facebook group page and have been communicating our fascinations with garages and detailing through texts and Instagram messages ever since. We had the opportunity to meet up this past summer when his family was in town. We took the kids to a play centre, dropped in on Chris at Carzilla, downed some burgers, and hung out in the RAD environment for a few magical hours. Since the summer, Shaun and his wife have begun construction of their dream home complete with the most epic of garages. The project is in full swing and I thought it would be fun to ask Shaun some questions about his project. Before I share his responses, here are the vitals:
What is the primary focus for your dream garage project?
Primarily, the garage will be used for keeping my two vehicles clean as well as accommodating my side detailing business. I will also use the space for minor vehicle maintenance (oil changes/etc.). The focus of the garage is to have a large enough space to comfortably park two vehicles year round and have enough room to move around the vehicles while they are in the garage. Getting kids in and out of the vehicles daily with out having to worry about doors opening and hitting the other vehicle or other items in the garage. Having the space to be able to unload those big grocery hauls from Costco on cold January nights in the comfort of a heated garage with the doors down.
I can certainly appreciate Shaun's desire to make his garage a warm and inviting space given the Canadian prairie winters we experience. I can also appreciate how handy it will be for him and his family to unload those sizable Costco hauls. We Canadians need to stock up on supplies to make it through the long cold winters!
What has been the most rewarding step in this process?
The whole process is really rewarding to me. Being able to see your dream garage being built and watching it advance through every step is pretty special. You are witnessing your dream come to a reality in slow motion. Almost makes it sweeter because you can truly soak it all up at each stage. It is like a kid walking into a candy store. They can't fully digest it all at once so much of the greatness is overlooked. It is like handing a kid a store full of candy one handful at a time. This all being said, stepping into your garage for the first time once it is framed and actually being able to physically feel the space is probably one of the biggest highlights in the process for me.
Shaun eloquently communicates the feelings I had when my home/garage was being constructed. I'm glad I was patient with the process and took the time to savor the experience.
What have some of the challenges been?
With having a custom home builder the biggest challenge I have had is getting them to understand the importance I put on my garage. It is fairly common that the finishing standards in a garage are not the same as the actual living space of the house. From the very first time I talked with the builder I made it very clear that I wanted the finishes in my garage to be of the same quality as the rest of the house. I have had to continue to remind them of that throughout the whole process. Just making them understand that I care about all the fine details of my garage just as much if not more as the rest of the house is very hard to get across to them. People just don't get it. The builder spends a lot of time in the house with us ensuring they are getting things right in that area. At every stage I have to request we go out into the garage to discuss things out there. It's like they almost forget about the garage. It is as though it is usually just an after thought for most people where they store all their junk. Why waste a bunch of time on it? Nobody cares that much about their garage.
I know how detail oriented Shaun is, so I completely understand how these frustrations materialize on a regular basis. I also know that Shaun isn't the type of guy to let those frustrations get in the way of him realizing his vision. I anticipate the garage will be finished to his high standards come hell or high water.
What wisdom have you acquired throughout this process that would be helpful to someone wanting to build their own dream garage?
Don't be in a rush. Think everything through (the initial effort will be worth it in the end). Take your time. In your initial planning always plan for the future. Think about things that you might want to do in your garage down the road and make sure you have everything is place to make that happen. ie: Extra bracing in the wall for hanging heavy objects, electrical/plumbing rough-ins in place for additional lighting etc. This is the 3rd new home build that the wife and I have done and i still don't think I will get it completely perfect. I will always overlook something but the idea is to limit it to as little things as possible. Some things can be done after the fact but then again some things just can't. I have spent countless hours thinking about all aspects of this garage and what I want the finished product to look like. In order to have all your rough-ins (electrical/plumbing) in the proper places you need to have a solid plan for the garage prior to the shovels in the ground.
From what I have witnessed throughout this build process, I can honestly say that Shaun has taken his time and considered each and every detail of his garage. While it is true that there will always be a detail that sneaks by, I will also say it is true that this garage, when finished, will be one of the most thoughtfully planned and expertly executed garages imaginable. I am sure Shaun will continue to share this project with others as it nears completion and I am hopeful he will share the detailing work he will complete once it is in full operation. To follow Shaun's progress, I suggest checking out his Instagram. He has a decent amount of progress pics on there with many more to come in the near future.
Here is a gallery of images taken from the onset of the project. You will see the garage floor plan along with a number of shots of the concrete work. Once framed, you will see a trench system has been incorporated into the pad which will undoubtedly help with water management. Schematics for his garage cabinets are also included and they look spectacular. Thanks to Shaun for agreeing to share his garage story with me and I look forward to posting more of his project once it is complete.
After three weeks of suffering with a bare concrete floor, my Swisstrax floor arrived this weekend. Here are some photos of the install process and final result. I am very pleased with how things have come together. I need two Pearl Grey tiles and the edges weren't included with the order, so it's about 98% complete at this point. I am looking forward to putting it to good use and sharing my insights into its performance.
Here's a video I put together:
After many years, I have decided to part with my RaceDeck Free Flow floor. I found a local buyer who picked it up a few weeks ago. Living without a flooring system for the past little while has been terrible. I am really looking forward to installing my new floor soon. Stay tuned to see what I have planned!
I enlisted the services of a local decal maker and had a batch of 6" x 2.5" decals made. I have only a few left. It is pretty sweet to see many of my fellow detailing and garage enthusiasts sporting the RAD logo in their own spaces! Feel free to contact me if you would like to order one for your own space.
I am experimenting with a new logo, but I am not completely sold on it. It was a collaborative effort between me and a Belgian designer I hooked up with through Fiverr. Currently, I have commissioned another designer to see what they can come up with, so hopefully they can come up with something even better. In the meantime, this is the new one:
I was tired of having my polisher arsenal stored away and out of sight, so I mounted them on the Craftsman pegboard above my workbench. I want to add one more polisher to my collection, but that will have to wait until Father's Day. I also moved my pad collection from my 56" Craftsman to two of the drawers beneath my workbench. Here's a few pics:
A good friend of mine is an acclaimed photographer. She is well known for her remarkable shots of Aurora Borealis. Through chatting with her, we got the crazy idea for her to come and take some shots of my garage. She was by last weekend and she snapped some very cool shots. There's more to come, but here's a little taste of what Christy is working on. I eagerly await more of these since she is a master of HDR and other cool editing techniques.
Since purchasing my BL-5000SLX QuickJack lift, I have been putting it to the test quite regularly. I have taken the wheels off a number of times to gain access to the wheel wells and I have been able to perform some touch ups on the paint around the rotor hats. It has been a helpful tool as well as a cool one. My friend, Geoff popped by a little while ago with his camera gear to snap some shots of the QuickJack in action and here's a little slideshow that demonstrates how it has helped me raise my detailing game. The photos give you an idea of how I have the system set up. Like I have said before, it works great for my needs and it is a purchase I am very happy with.
My raised aluminum TREK sign arrived and I got it perfectly placed on my big grey wall. The logo was in a shiny red and the letters have the brushed aluminum look to them. The red of the logo clashed with the red of my stripe below so I pained the logo the same grey as my TV wall. I think it looks much better, plus I didn't want the TREK sign to be the focal point of that wall. If you are looking for a sign such as this, I suggest you hit up Joe at Enthusi-works. He is great to work with and can just about make anything your mind can conjure up. You may even see some photos of my garage in his various listings. Here's how things turned out.
I recently removed a shelf I was using to store jack stands. I relocated the shelves to the top of my tire racks. I plan on adding a raised aluminum "Trek" sign to this wall space. Here's a few shots that illustrate the evolution of this part of the garage.
It took me two full days, but our cedar garage door has been stained, and very pleased with the result. The builder used a stain/paint and we never really liked it. I sanded it down for four or five hours and then applied a coat of Cabot's Australian Timber Oil and it brought out the character of each board. The sanding process left me with a lot of cleaning in the garage. I had to clean every inch of the garage, but that is all done and things have never looked so great. Here are some photos that will take you through the process of getting this door to the point it should have been when we moved in.
My tile project is progressing well. I had to trim the top row of tiles by hand so that took a bit of time, but other than that everything was quite straightforward. I'll let the mortar set for 24 hours and then apply the sanded grout. This whole project is completely unnecessary, but I think this is going to look amazing.
The portion of wall above the garage door has always been a thorn in my side. The builder did a lousy job of finishing off this part of the garage, so I have been fixing it up for a number of years. Even though I have addressed it a number of times, I still feel like it needs something to better integrate it into the overall design theme. So, this week I will be installing white 3x6 subway tile along with a charcoal groat. This is a completely unnecessary project from many standpoints, but I think it will look great. Here's some photos that show the evolution of this area from construction to present day.
I have a Craftsman cabinet in the far corner of my garage that houses lots of paint cans and other various liquids and sprays, and it is mounted using a white panel that I picked up from Sears when I bought the cabinets. The white panel was a bit of an eyesore, and when I painted the Gladiator mounting panel for the ball caddy, it looked too good not to do with the upper panel. A few coats of the wall colour and it is pretty tough to even notice the mounting panel now. The first photo in the slideshow was taken a while back, but shows the white rail.
I noticed that Sears Canada isn't showing these cabinets on their website any longer. Lots of Gladiator stuff, so I wonder if these cabinets are now obsolete. If so, that's too bad since I really like them.
If there's one thing that goes well with Audis, it is Trek bikes. I am working with the guy that made my raised aluminum "Audi" sign to have a custom Trek sign made. I'm going to put the text above the logo. Since the signs will be aluminum, I am thinking of creating a painted shadow effect behind them to give them a 3D look. This is gonna be a fun little project. Stay tuned.
This virtual tour should give you a great sense of how things are laid out in my garage. I have to say, things are approaching perfection. It's just a matter of fine tuning the little details at this point. I hope you enjoy.
I was sifting through a whack of external hard drives and came across some grainy old pics of the garage. They were taken not too long after we took possession of our house. I think I had the Sony Ericsson S003 at the time. These photos seem way older than five years, but that's because a lot has changed in that time. Anyway, here are some photographs that capture some milestones in the evolution of my garage.
One of my friends is a professional photographer. A while back, I did some work on his Nissan Murano. In return, he spent almost six hours at my place, earlier this week, photographing my car and garage. I was blown away by the quality of the images he captured. I have put a slideshow together that demonstrates his skill as well as my garage's beauty. After viewing the shots I have selected, I'm sure you will agree that they are stunning in their depth, clarity, and composure.
To learn more about Geoff and check out more of his work, be sure to visit his website here.
Click here to view even more beauty shots
Years ago, I fashioned a wooden box to cover up the furnace switch and thermostat. I grew tired of it, so I removed it and freshened up the outlets with some dark grey paint. I think it looks better. If you're wondering what the black box is to the right of the thermostat, it is a locking key caddy.
My garage has seen more than its fair share of decals over the years. The bulk of them came from eBay, but most of them are now gone. I now have only 3 decals on the walls. I have a few stickers on my metal magnet board. The large "SQ5" decal was a custom job I used a guy in Latvia for. I paid too much, but he was very willing to work with me and I got the exact decal I wanted in the exact size I requested. The "quattro" by the clock was your basic eBay search and purchase, as was the "vorsprung" decal on the car door. The "Audi" above the floor mat wall is actually raised letters I purchased online. I also applied a couple of decals to liven up my Craftsman rolling cabinets. They began life grey, but I rattle-canned them blue.
Most of the standard decals can be had for pennies on the Internet. My current decals are all incorporated into the paint scheme which, in my opinion, brings more cohesion to the overall design. This is in stark contrast to my decal philosophy of the past, which was a "more is better" approach.
The Current Decal Situation
If you spend any time browsing through the garage gallery, you will see a multitude of decals that have come and gone.
Who is Rick?
I'm just a guy who loves his garage, Audi, and detailing so much he blogs about them.
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