The mod­ern garage is all about what’s on dis­play, not what’s hid­den away, writes

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - OUT & ABOUT -

There’s been a huge shift in the way we see home garages, both lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively. While they were once the de­pos­i­tory for tools, cars, bikes, lawnmowers, old boxes and ev­ery­thing that couldn’t fit in­side the house, now they are a part of the home peo­ple don’t mind show­ing off.

From the won­der­fully or­gan­ised tool kit, to the per­sonal gym and the clas­sic car col­lec­tion – the mod­ern garage can be pretty pol­ished. It’s even likely to have a car­pet on the floor, al­beit a spe­cial, long-last­ing syn­thetic one that re­pels mois­ture. And let’s face it, mod­ern cars don’t leak oil.

Some home­own­ers are even putting in glass walls so they can en­joy a view of the garage from other rooms.

Dou­gal Swift, for ex­am­ple, cre­ated a new base­ment garage, games room, bar and wine cel­lar when he and his wife ren­o­vated their tra­di­tional Grey Lynn villa. Both the games room-bar and wine cel­lar are be­hind large glass slid­ing doors, pro­vid­ing a view of the cars, which makes the whole area feel more spa­cious and, dare we say it, mas­cu­line.

An­other Auck­land fam­ily put a large glass wall be­tween their garage and the en­try to their cen­tral city home. Vir­gil Roberts is a car en­thu­si­ast and says his car col­lec­tion gives him so much plea­sure, it was worth it. He even added stairs down to a ‘‘me­chan­ics’ pit’’, which is ac­tu­ally a wine cel­lar.

The Roberts’ garage, which has a ter­razzo floor, also dou­bles as a per­sonal art gallery.

But for most of us, a mod­ern garage is more about be­ing tidy, un­clut­tered and or­gan­ised. Even if the laun­dry is in the garage, it is likely to in­cor­po­rate a bench­top and cabi­netry, so items can be hid­den away.

Par­tic­i­pants in The Block NZ tele­vi­sion se­ries show just how much a mod­ern garage has changed. In­vari­ably, The Block garages in­cor­po­rate laun­dries. Last year’s win­ners, Andy and Nate, man­aged to fit in a gym, while oth­ers have added a wine cab­i­net. In­creas­ingly, elec­tric car charg­ers are also in­cluded.

One Mill­wa­ter cou­ple has sac­ri­ficed a car space to put a gym into the garage in their new ter­race house. A large-screen TV on the wall helps to lessen the bore­dom of the ex­er­cise.

So clearly, a garage can ful­fil more than one func­tion, and a large part of the move to­wards car­peted garages has been the need to max­imise space. And that prob­a­bly ex­plains why a great num­ber of ter­race houses in one new de­vel­op­ment in Takanini fea­ture dou­ble garages that ap­pear to be used for ev­ery­thing but cars.

Walk past the houses on a week­end and it’s easy to glimpse the pool ta­bles and so­fas that have turned the garage into a sec­ond liv­ing area. John Dav­i­son, a di­rec­tor of Af­ford­able Garage Car­pets says the garage is now likely to be an ex­ten­sion of the home, not a room where you keep the door closed.

‘‘Car­pet in the garage be­com­ing a must-have, rather than a lux­ury item,’’ Dav­i­son says. ‘‘The older gen­er­a­tion took a lit­tle longer to come around to the idea, but that’s changed now as they have seen it laid in friends’ houses. Car­pet not only makes the garage more use­able, it also hides the paint splat­ter that trades­peo­ple leave be­hind when a house is fin­ished.

‘‘And be­cause the garage looks and feels like a room of the house, the kids are happy to hang out there. You don’t need to worry about kids with al­ler­gies or asthma be­cause the car­pet stops all the usual dust that ac­cu­mu­lates in the garage, and it can be vac­u­umed.’’

You can ex­pect to pay around $1000 to car­pet a dou­ble garage, and about $500 for a sin­gle garage.

Pro­fes­sional or­gan­iser Natalie

Jane from Be Or­gan­ised says, tra­di­tion­ally, the garage has been ‘‘the place where things come to die’’, so she rec­om­mends start­ing with a few rub­bish sacks to get rid of un­wanted items. And then the plan is to get things off the floor and onto shelves on the walls, even bi­cy­cles. Clear, stack­able plas­tic boxes with la­bels are in­valu­able for stor­age.

Jane also rec­om­mends you treat the garage like a Bun­nings store. ‘‘Cre­ate zones for your items. The more you de­fine the zones, the eas­ier it is to know where to go to find some­thing.’’

For keen handy­men (or women) who want a work­bench in the garage but lack space, Jane sug­gests de­sign­ing one that’s at­tached to the wall and can be folded back up af­ter it has been used.

Large glass walls ex­pose a garage that dou­bles as an art gallery in this cen­tral Auck­land house, which is for sale through Ray White.


Dou­gal and Faye Swift have cre­ated a games room and bar in their base­ment, sep­a­rated from the garage by a wall of slid­ing glass doors.

One of the garages on The Block.

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