I am excited to share a very unique and inspiring garage story with you. I have been a fan of Greg and Nancy's space since they began sharing it on Garage Journal back in January of 2016. They have purchased a private storage condominium suite at "The Place" which is located in the St. Louis area. The Place has a motto: "For when your passion outgrows your garage" and it is one example of a steady movement that is spreading across North America. People in need of more space, but not in a position to expand or move, can purchase a suite where they can enjoy extra space while also becoming part of a collective community. These facilities usually have a common space where people can host social events or just hang out. Greg and Nancy have done a tremendous job of appointing and finishing their condo and I was excited when they agreed to allow me to feature their space on my blog. I furnished Greg and Nancy with some questions about their car condo experience and I have no doubt you will enjoy their responses along with the photos that effectively showcase the high quality of planning and execution that went into its completion.
Name | Greg & Nancy
Location | The Place, Chesterfield, MO –
Unit | 25
What attracted you to the idea of a car condo?
I came by an interest in cars honestly as we averaged about 15 cars at any time, scattered around our house (in the driveway, in the garage, in the front and back yards) at any given moment while I was growing up. But as much as I could blame myself alone, my wife certainly had a part in it as well. She was driving a manual Toyota MR2 Turbo when we were dating and always liked fast cars. Our 10th wedding anniversary was spent at Mid-Ohio, taking a 3-day driving course. Although we both loved cars, I was only expecting us to just each have a single nice car that fit in our small 2-car garage. The turning point happened when my wife was fighting through cancer. Part of our discussions as we sat talking during chemo sessions was that she should buy her “bucket list car” when she beat it. Once she was declared in remission, she found her dream car; a 2009 Porsche 911 C4S PDK. However, she didn’t want to sell her VW EOS, so now we had 4 cars, and with our daughters getting to driving age (meaning more cars to be acquired in the near future), our little two car garage was not going to cut it. Expanding the house garage was not an option, due to the small lot. We considered moving to a bigger house/garage, but didn’t want the larger yard and maintenance. My wife saw an advertisement for The Place and the rest is history.
What do you love about your garage?
Obviously, a garage condo is a bit different than a garage attached to a house or even a pole barn on your property. It is a space in a facility. There is a clubhouse, gated access, internet, and security video cameras- all taken care of by the condo association. The units are commercial space, all with high bays. The Place currently has 35 units with plans to build another phase of at least that many. The Place draws events to the facility. We’ve had multiple cars and coffee events and even an event hosted by Amazon, with a night time showing of the Grand Tour on a big inflatable movie screen. I love the social aspect of the facility.
As far as our unit, I love how our mezzanine turned out. People are always surprised by the fireplace and the four screen / big screen TV set up. My wife and I have spent more than a few evenings shooting pool in the club house and then heading over to our unit for the bar and TV. We also work in our unit to do simple oil changes, tire swaps, and the like. I love the fact that I can turn on the heat from our house and drive down to wash our cars indoors when it is 15 degrees F outside.
What future plans/dreams do you have for it?
First, I want to see the current phase of the facility get sold and populated with like-minded enthusiasts. I want to see more car shows and events at The Place. We are taking an active role in that by working with the local Porsche club to do a single marque cars & coffee this month. I really want to see the second phase occur so that the facility rounds out to its full potential. As far as our unit is concerned, there is a lot of work to do still to fill out the space and decorate some more. I’d like to add in a 4 car (2X2) lift under the mezzanine, and even more important, find the right cars for the lift.
What advice do you have for anyone interested in a condo such as yours?
I’ll answer this in two parts. As far as the condo space itself, there is a lot of planning that has to go into it. Be prepared for a lot of work. Anyone building a garage from scratch will have similar stories. The fact that the condo here was held to commercial code was a layer of complexity I was not really ready for at first. Most car condos have taller vertical space and so understanding how to use that space is key. Working through lighting that works from 20’ up and having a plan on HVAC, including moving air with a ceiling fan, are all important parts to your plan.
The second part to the answer is to just do it. My wife’s brush with cancer was really a wake-up call for us. Yes, we bought a Porsche and then bought a condo. But more importantly, we have joined the Porsche club and gone to its national convention. We have been out to do DE events at Gateway International Raceway. I’ve used the condo space to have happy hours with people from work. We have attended car shows and had car shows come to us, where we have met tons of great people. A Porsche is more than a car and a car condo is more than a garage.
As you can see, Greg and Nancy have carved out a little piece of paradise with their car condo. In addition to developing their space into a warm and comfortable place to relax, they have developed and equipped the space in such a way that they can effectively store and maintain their expanding collection of cars. Beyond that, they have become members of a vibrant car community and forged relationships with other like-minded people.
Greg has done a masterful job of documenting each step of the build process on Garage Journal, so I strongly suggest you check out this thread to witness all the victories and tribulations that have come along the way. If you want to see even more photo documentation of the build process, I highly recommend checking out this family of Flickr albums.
My thanks to Greg and Nancy for allowing me to feature their amazing unit on my blog and I wish them nothing but the best as they continue to enjoy the special place they have created.
If you have an interesting garage project in progress, or if you would like to show off your completed garage, feel free to contact me and let's get the ball rolling!