By: Tina A. McQuaid

Before and After Major Garage Makeover [How we changed a catch-all room into a 50s-style oasis]

Tags: Garage Makeover, Before and After, Cleaning and Organization, Anti-Stress Therapy, Handmade, Budget Makeover Projects

Click the link above to watch the video progression of photos

August 23, 2021 - MISSISSAUGA: The garage was an absolute mess, we were stuck inside with the winter weather - dreaming of spring - and wondering "where are were going to park a 3-wheeled motor bike?" So, in February of this year, I started the job of transforming the space into a 50's style garage (on a budget)!

Original concept design using floorplanner online website
The first step was to measure the space and make a future plan for the garage. It turns out that most single-car garage dimensions are 12-feet wide by 20-feet long. Ours was a tad more condensed, with the sides only offering 10-feet. I created a basic plan of the space using free software called FloorPlanner. In the original model, I added square garage floor tiles, paint on the walls and even a focal wall using slats from crates; assembled horizontally and stained. (FB Marketplace and kijiji had a bunch of crates that were listed for free!)

Before                                                                                                   Before
The next step was to see what items we could remove and junk or sell. This entailed moving a bunch of the items out of the garage so that we could have it in broom-swept condition. This was definitely therapy - all the while asking myself how did we get the garage into this state? Each time I picked up an item I had to decide whether to keep it, donate, sell or garbage. [The great thing was that there were a lot of items that we were able to donate or sell, like the kayak, and the Mississauga dump had some free days happening for a while.] 

Before (mat)                                                                                          After (mat)
We worked in stages. We had the garage cleared out enough so that I could put down a floor mat. However, this mat covered the whole of the garage and had a lip on it that would have made moving a motor bike a bit tricky. So, I sold that mat and bought a solid rubber one that, put together, measured 8 x 12 feet (Princess Auto carries ones that are similar.) We placed it in the front and middle of the garage, so that the bike could be parked with room all around.

Utilizing Shelving units helped keep things organized (the bins keep alike items together)
We also arranged storage shelves all along the left wall of the garage. These plastic shelves were easy to set up and we could store all types of articles (such as all the camping gear) together on 1 shelf. Our garage is also short (about 8' feet tall) so we had to be cognizant that the shelf did not run into the garage-door rails at the front. (Costco had the smaller shelves and Wal-Mart sold a very sturdy kind that were taller). The one thing to keep in mind is to store heavier items on the bottom and lighter items on top. Monitor the shelves for buckling, as this indicates that the items are too heavy for the shelf. (Re-distribute the items to other shelving units).

Before (right wall)                                                                                             After (right wall)
So we had the basic garage set up. Now, it was time for some design. We added a Tri-Fold light (for more visibility). There was a thin film of styrofoam that was placed on 2 walls and ceiling by the previous owner. The white colour brought a brightness to the garage. We knocked those panels off the wall and put them into the recycling pile - and saved the silver nails that were used to affix them to the walls. (It turns out that the previous owner used the tiles to disguise a water/pipe repair). 

Adding style with a painted wooden border and checkered wall 
The bottom of the floor had a wood panel as part of the repair. We decided to purchase a piece of lumber the same width and continue it along the bottom of the wall, to act like a runner. Painting the whole panel white made the repair panel and the rest of it a more unified piece, and framed the bottom of the wall nicely. We came across some white-and-black floor tiles (on sale) at Lowes. They were light-weight, flexible and duable (and looked much better than styrofoam). They could also cover the repair of the wall, which bubbled out a bit. Using black-painted nails for the black panels and the saved silver nails on the white panels, the wall went up in no time. Adding an upright bike rack helped us organize 2 of our 5 bicycles.

Painting the pegboard white kept it bright and matched the overall design 
We had a bunch of tools and purchased this great deal Husky workbench (on sale) at Home Depot. But we wanted a place to display some tools, and purchased a pegboard off kijiji for $5. We painted it with a roller and hung it on some extra pieces of wood that we chopped into 2"-square blocks. A peg-board kit from Canadian Tire helped organize our display tools. We also got a great deal on a new $25 Husky stool. We eventually added some old licence plates; to the left of the pegboard.

Before (back wall)                                                        After (back wall)                                                                                     Panel around faucet and Hose reel
Working away at organizing, the back wall looked a bit rough. We found some black inter-locking panels at Princess Auto (on sale $9 for 4) and decided to cover that wall. It made the space smaller, but placing some retro decals on the wall lent some ambience. We also re-organized the wood workbench. We painted the column the same plain white that we'd used throughout the garage and lined the area by the faucet with a white foam panel to finish it. We also purchased a metal hose roller from Canadian Tire (a bit of a splurge, but worth it - no leaks).

We added vintage flair with vintage lockers. retro fridge and old-timey metal signs.
Adding to the 50's feel, a set of metal lockers and Coca-Cola fridge were purchased from resale sites. We placed them to the right of a white column, on which is placed a decorative Ryker sign, Google Mini speaker, white Fire Extinguisher and heavy-duty extension cord. We added magnets on metal signs and vintage baseball cards to decorate the metal locker panels.

Now, it's home to a Can-Am Ryker and is my husband's "happy place"!

Written by Tina A McQuaid
Sales Representative and Accredited GreenAgent(TM)
Sutton Group-Summit Realty Inc., Brokerage