{one room challenge} Week 1: Garage Makeover Plans

Thursday, October 6, 2016

It's time once again for the One Room Challenge - that twice annual, six week design challenge hosted by Calling it Home in which hundreds of design bloggers completely transform one room in their homes in a mere six weeks time. It takes a special kind of crazy to take on the One Room Challenge... especially six times in a row!

And this time around I'm even crazier than normal because I'm going head to head with my garage, and I'm determined to come out the winner. The One Room Challenge is a design challenge, and boy oh boy is our garage design challenged! It's a disaster of a space with no real redeeming qualities other than size - nothing but raw studs and concrete. Not exactly a dream blank canvas.

But before I scare you by showing you the current state of the garage, let me take a step back to remind myself why I have tortured myself by taking on the One Room Challenge not one, not twice, but five times in the past three years. Because in the end, the blood, sweat, and tears {all quite literal} are ohhhh so worth it! Each of my prior One Room Challenge spaces are my favorite in our house, and the ORC was exactly the kick in the rear I needed to get them done.

Here's a quick glimpse at each of my past ORC rooms. You can use the links below the slideshow to view the full room reveal posts.


My favorite thing about the ORC is the motivation it provides. Not only motivation to start and finish a space on a deadline, without letting it drag on endlessly {as it would otherwise}, but also the motivation to do it right! The ORC challenges me to go bold. To make the design decisions I want to make, but might otherwise shy away from. To really flex my design muscles, commit to an ambitious plan, and see it through even when the going gets tough. 

And that is exactly why I decided to take on the garage this time around. It's a space that has been getting progressively more out of hand month after month and year after year. But unlike a typical interior decor project that I can get excited about, there was pretty much nothing that made me want to dedicate the time and effort it was going to take to reclaim the garage as a functional space. I knew it was going to take a really long time, and I just didn't wanna

As the mess got worse, I resorted to just piling things up and tossing a plastic tarp over them so that I could continue to spray paint and work on the remaining {quickly diminishing} open floor space. 

Park two cars in our three car garage? Oh, no. We hadn't done that in more than a year. Work tables, boxes, and strollers had taken over the space that should have been used to keep our cars out of the snow.

Ok, so now you know the garage is a mess, but let me pause to tell you a bit more about the space. We live in a modern home in a historic neighborhood of Denver. Our garage is detached from our house, accessed from an alley. Our backyard separates the garage from the house. It's a three car garage, but it's pretty much the smallest possible three car garage, with not even an extra inch to the right or left of the garage doors, and very little extra depth beyond the length of our mid-sized SUVs. 

The garage has a double door and a single door, and while it's possible that you could actually park a car in the single side, I certainly can't do it. When we bought the house we practiced for days on end trying to figure out how to get my then-car through the single garage door, but the narrow width of the alley, and need to make a 90 degree turn into the garage made it darn near impossible. 

At that point, we decided that we would regard the third bay of the garage as our storage and workshop space. We added shelves along one full wall, and installed a workbench at the far end.

This worked well for a while... before we had kids, and before we were doing any serious DIY projects. The work bench never saw any real work. It was a place to store our tools, and a counter to stack things on, but that was about it. Fast forward 8 years, two kids, and a DIY blog later and we were quickly finding the flaws in our garage design. The shelves that had once neatly held storage bins were now impossible to get to because the open floor space was filled with strollers, bikes, wagons, scooters, and, and, and...

That photo above... don't be scared, but that's the cleaned up version from just a few weeks ago. Once I decided to take on the garage for the One Room Challenge, we knew we had to get it "cleaned up" in order to be ready to start the redesign process this week. That process entailed countless trips to Goodwill, the ReStore, and the cardboard recycling center. We got all the loose "stuff" into bins, and we pushed everything back into the third bay, clearing the double side of the garage so that we could actually park in the garage again.

But this "cleaned up" version is FAR from where we want to be. So let's talk a bit about where we are going {fingers crossed}. While in a dream world I'd love to wallboard the garage to make it a "prettier" space to work with, we just can't justify that expense in this detached garage. 

But I do crave a space that is not only more organized and more functional, but also prettier and more creative... 

Paint brush chandelier inspiration photo from Original Youth

While I'm not going to cover up those ugly studs, I do have a plan to disguise them a bit. And the floor... holy cow is it going to be good! I'm working with Rust-Oleum, and guys, the floor is going to be the show stopper! But I'll tell you more about that next week.

One full wall of the third bay will still be dedicated to storage, but I have a plan to reclaim that open floor space so that the shelves can actually usable once again. We're also planning to add a fridge and freezer to that wall, because even at their young ages, I can already tell that having two growing boys in the house is going to mean we need more food in the house at all times {and it will make shopping at Costco so much more fun}. 

I hesitated on the fridge and freezer plan at first, because they'll take up a lot of room that could otherwise be used for shelves, but at the end of the day, I think we can simply use the space more efficiently and make everything work. Plus the fridge and freezer may just become focal points all their own {but you'll have to wait for a few more weeks to hear all about those plans}.

The workbench space will also stay in the same spot... sort of. One of the main reasons we never used the old workbench, even once we started DIY'ing on a regular basis, was that we just didn't have enough room in the corner of the garage to move around our tools and maneuver long boards. Instead we ended up setting up a long folding table in the middle of the garage for serious DIY projects. To remedy this problem, our new workbench will be on wheels! It can be tucked in the corner of the garage when not in use, and rolled out into the middle when there's work to be done. I. CAN'T. WAIT.

Ok, that's all I've got for you today. Come back next week and I'll share the more specific design plans and give you some sneak peeks of the upcoming projects. In the meantime, please hop over to Calling it Home where you'll find links to what all of the other One Room Challenge participants have in store for the next six weeks!


  1. You're doing a garage makeover for ORC, too? :) I can't wait to see what you do! I'm pretty excited to get mine whipped into shape ;)

  2. Although we have tackled our garage before, it just keeps getting out of hand. Looking forward to lots of inspiration!

  3. I am so excited to see how your garage turns out! Such a fun space to take on - totally allows so much creativity to flow and I love how every one I see is so different :) Can't wait to see the floors!

  4. Your past rooms are amazing!! You are gonna kill that garage and I can't wait to see how you transform it. Absolutely awesome!

  5. What do you have up your sleeve?!? All of those bright color swatches are going to make me regret painting my garage light gray. LOL.

  6. Oh Angela! This is going to be AMAZING!!! I was hoping someone would do a garage! Can't wait to see more! xoxo

  7. I'm so excited to see the rolling workbench in this space! Even with our garage redone, we occasionally have to set up a folding table in the middle. I'm hoping to get some inspiration for a more practical solution!

  8. Obsessing over your master bathroom from an earlier ORC! Love your style of writing and cannot wait to see what creative ideas you come up with for the garage!

    Super stoked to be among such great talent for this go-round! XO

  9. We are always impressed at the large projects you are willing to tackle. We can't wait to see what your flooring will be. ready to follow along!

    Vicki and Jenn
    2 Bees in a Pod

  10. I am so excited that you are doing your garage, Thats actually my next project after the OCR, so I will pay extra attention to your posts.

  11. Holy Wow!!! I am amazed at all of your talent! It is going to be so great! My garage is a total mess!!! It's a bicycle bonanza! I can't wait to see your completed garage and be inspired! xox, Emily

  12. Oh my goodness I can't even handle how excited I am to see these before and afters. It's going to be AMAZING! So excited to follow this journey with you girl!

  13. If it makes you feel any better, your garage looks better than mine :) Looks like you've got some amazing plans for this space, and with two boys of my own, that fridge/freezer idea is a brilliant choice. At 6 and 9 mine are already eating me out of house and home. I can't even imagine what's going to happen when they're teenagers. Yikes!

  14. Our garage is a crazy mess so I'm excited to see what you come up with on this!

  15. Angela I'm so excited for this! I have always wanted to give our garage a more functional (and pretty!) makeover so I may be stealing some of your ideas once this is done!!

  16. Angela!! I could possibly be more excited than you to see the end result. You are a rockstar with all your past ORC challenges. I loved the slideshow! Amazing transformations! I know this one will be just as amazing. So excited to see your progress!!

  17. That laundry room from a previous ORC is super funky! I think this is going to be a super functional and well used space, so it was the perfect choice!

  18. Angela...As one with an out of control garage, I admire your intent to tackle your garage. I will surely follow along to get the motivation I need to tackle my own garage. You go girl!

  19. I'm excited to follow along with your process! Your garage already looks nicer than mine in the before pics! Haha


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