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$60,000 Toy Chest - Drivers Seat

Nov 1, 2007

My current two-car garage has long been a source of dissatisfaction for me. Filled to the brim with toolboxes, car parts, engines, a '73 righthand-drive Mini Cooper, a '73 Toyota Corolla and a smattering of other automotive supplies, there's no room left for actually working on a car. I try to remind myself that this garage is still an improvement over my apartment-dwelling days where storage consisted of a parking stall and overhead bin. Nonetheless, I long for more space.

This quest for a larger garage has got me contemplating if I should buy a commercial property and build my own shop or if I should buy a house on a big lot and build a massive garage. Yes, my neighbors will hate me but the plus side is that when you get hungry working on a car you can just stroll into the kitchen and raid the fridge. I should also clarify that I am picky and don't want to live way out in the sticks. Yes, you could build a whole rally dirt track on farmland but the two-hour commute each way to the office isn't my idea of fun. I love being in my car but not in stop-and-go traffic.

I recently looked at some large lots and brought out an architect who told me it would cost me about $60,000 to build the garage I had in mind. The $60,000 garage in question would hold about seven cars, have room for a lift and would have a surrounding concrete RV pad to park another five cars. Of course the driveway could store another four vehicles so that brings the total car capacity to 17 - not bad. I'd like to think that I could be content if I could park 15 cars at my house.

This brings up two issues - the cost and the space. Personally $60,000 seems like a whole lot of money for a big toy chest, even if it would be a dream come true. I'd be like a happy kid in a candy store, but a very poor one at that. Another issue is that a seven-car garage seems humongous but in all likelihood I'll have it filled to capacity in no time (mind you I own 10 cars already). They always say you spread out and adjust to the space you have. That is, when you lived at home you just had a roomful of stuff. Then when you moved to a tiny studio apartment you filled out that space. When I bought my first house I couldn't believe how quickly I ran out of storage space even though it was twice the size of my previous apartment. I have a feeling if I move into a bigger garage I'll acquire more car parts just because I can store more car parts.

Give me an inch and I'll take a mile. I have a tendency to hoard car parts as if in preparation for an apocalypse. You never know when you need a spare engine or cylinder head. Friends call me before they call a junkyard because I probably have that Honda engine piece they're looking for. Yes, there's physically only so much space to store cars and toolboxes but car parts can creatively fit in every nook and cranny. Given this obsession, will a $60,000 garage suffice or will I feel just as cramped after six months?

I slept on it for a few days and decided to wait before investing in my custom garage. They say good things come to those who wait, so maybe in a few years I'll save up more and invest in a $100,000 20-car garage. I'll just live in the doublewide mobile home adjacent to it. Heck, I'll pitch a tent in my garage and camp out there (we'll see what the wife thinks of this game plan). In the meantime, everyone e-mail me pictures of amazing garages so I can get my planning underway for when that day arrives when I ring my architect and say, "The wait is over, let the building of the fortress begin!"Robert ChooEditor

Editorial DirectorJohn Naderi

Corporate Creative DirectorAlan Alpanian

Group Art DirectorTi Tong

EditorRobert Choo - Robert.Choo@primedia.com

Managing EditorNancy I. Lee - Nancy.Lee@primedia.com

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Staff PhotographerHenry Z. DeKuyper

Contributing EditorsEvan GriffeyAdam GecziDino Dalle CarbonareBrad ElsinoreJohn PrescottTania PatinoPablo MazlumianJohn RoperE. John Thawley III

Art directorClint D. Davis - Clint.Davis@primedia.com

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