Orland Park Audi oasis
I have met a lot of guys through the garage and Audi worlds and while everyone has their own unique personality and story, everyone I have come to know demonstrates a high degree of attention to detail. This garage story is no exception. Located approximately 40 km southwest of Chicago, this Orland Park triple garage demonstrates how a well organized and executed garage can enhance life in the 'burbs, and support the activities that come with raising three active kids. My thanks to this garage owner for allowing me to share his garage story with my audience and for approaching my questions with such attention to detail.
My wife and I purchased our home in Orland Park, IL, USA in 2006. It was a spec house that was already built, but never occupied, so we got to start from scratch, but that also meant that there were certain things about the garage that I couldn’t build in, like I might have wanted to.
The garage is a 3 bay and is attached to the house. Unfortunately, it did not have a floor drain or a water run, so I’ve had to make do without those things, since I didn’t think to address these needs before I finished it. I’ve outfitted the back wall and one side wall with SlatWall that I purchased from Menard’s in a slate gray color. This has proved to be durable and quite versatile over the last 10+ years. In the time since, various modular wall storage slats from Gladiator and others have become popular, but these were not widely available when I finished mine, so I went with the melamine slatwall. No big regrets here.
Since my house serves my wife and I and our 3 children, as well as various extended family at various points, we knew that having a lot of storage in the garage was key. My dad and I installed 6 Gladiator wall cabinets across the back wall, in conjunction with a workbench, with two tool carts that slot into it. I then got two large cabinets and another tool cart that I’ve fashioned into an island of sorts to block up the space, as we only use 2 of the bays for das autos.
Sometime after initially outfitting the garage, I added Gladiator’s garage fridge/freezer, which both ties in with the cabinets and is generally awesome. I also added another later-model Gladiator XL floor cabinet in the corner next to the fridge.
As you can tell, I have a lot of storage in the garage. While I envy Rick’s and other setups that I have seen on the RAD Garage site and others, my needs really focus more on ultra-practicality and maximization of storage potential. That may not always be the case, but it is for the foreseeable future.
Regarding flooring, shortly after moving in, my dad and I applied a Home Depot-purchased floor epoxy from Rust-o-leum, I believe. This was a consumer-grade product and lasted a couple of years before it started flaking off, particularly in areas of heavy tire rotation (I have a side-entry garage) and where the engines were when parked, likely due to heat. Again, at the time, some of the awesome garage tile solutions, like Swisstrax and Racedeck, were not around or as widely available (or known to me), so I decided to go with a professionally-applied commercial-grade epoxy floor treatment. I am very happy with the look this gives the garage and the protection it affords the concrete. That being said, I do have to deal with water build-up in the garage when washing inside in the colder months, which is a bit annoying. Have thought about potentially getting a floor tile solution to avoid this, but I’m not crazy about leaving standing water around in the garage or about having to periodically clean the tiles, so still thinking about this. I have augmented some black mats near the door to the house to deal with wet conditions and dirt, particularly in the winter/spring.
Since one can never have enough storage, at some point I added a shelving unit to the far wall to hold some large plastic storage bins with detailing supplies and other miscellaneous stuff. NOTE: The black thing on the floor is a ‘Quick Dam’, which I got on Amazon. It is used in quantity to help control flooding. I use it to control water that accumulates when I wash the car in the garage in the winter.
In the summer, my family loves to go to the beach in Indiana and once we got up to three kids and all of the stuff that comes with them to the beach, I was finding that I was going to kill myself if I didn’t find an efficient solution to carry all of that stuff. Enter the monster beach cart! I love this thing and it is a story all to itself for another time, but the major issue then became where to store this huge thing? The answer turned out to be a Garage Gator ceiling-mounted winch system with the optional 3x5 storage rack. And since we have a lot of stuff to store, I went all out and got two of them. These things are well-built and I use them to store all manner of large and small items year-round. I will admit that after we installed them, I was very hesitant about putting a car under them, but they’ve proved to be very reliable and sturdy and I have no complaints!
Lighting is another area that I’ve augmented a bit, but may still think more about future improvements. The garage originally had a couple of simple fixtures when I moved in, coupled with the garage opener lights. I’ve augmented this with four 5-foot fluorescent lights, with two centered over the main parking area to provide illumination during detailing and the other two going horizontal across the back half of the garage, with them being more for lighting when doing non-car activities.
I have thought long and hard about adding a built-in heating solution to the garage, but have not gotten to that, as of yet. For the time-being, I have two space heaters that I picked up on Amazon that do the job. I don’t spend a ton of time in the garage in the winter, so I just fire these guys up a few hours before I plan to clean the car and they get the garage into the low 60’s (F), which is fine for me. Not sure I really need more than this, at least at this point.
Somehow, I’ve managed to get all this way and not manage that I’m an Audi fanatic! I’ve owned a few gen-1 Q7’s and now have a gen-2 Q7. I also own a Q5, and have also had a couple of A7’s that I previously leased. But my baby is a ’15 Audi R8 v8 coupe. This was the ‘dream car’ that I purchased in mid-2017 and I’ve pretty much been obsessed with it since picking it up. It has fueled my interest in detailing and has driven me to make additional tweaks to the garage to support this hobby / addiction. To this end, I’ve adorned the garage with various Audi banners & signs, as well as some framed R8 pictures.
That’s my garage. It works for me now, but it’s never really done. I continue to tweak things as I get new ideas and am always on the lookout for something new that will increase the usefulness of the space.
As you can see, this garage serves its owner and family in a number of important ways and plays a crucial role in allowing this busy household to navigate the rigors of family life. I am curious to see what new innovations make their way into this space over time. If you would like to see more photos of the Audi stable, including the sweet R8, be sure to follow @jrg_chi on Instagram.