As of late, Doug Calvert was recently featured in an article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle. The article itself talks about the new phenomenon of garage organization and styling. Garage Solutions Atlanta has become an expert in garage storage and specializes in garage flooring. The flooring itself immediately brightens up a garage, which for some, coordinates perfectly with their upscale vehicle. Katjusa Cisar wrote the following for The Atlanta Business Chronicle:
“Derek Hopkins remembers when garages were an afterthought.
“Oh, and by the way, we want a four-car garage,” clients would say when hiring the full-service luxury architecture firm Harrison Design Associates, where Hopkins is a project manager.
Garages did not aspire. They were to be lit by florescent lights, grease-stained by leaking vehicles, and cluttered by bicycles, camping gear, half-finished projects and assorted junk.
That’s all changed. Existing garages are getting tricked out, and among new homes, three- and four-car garages are increasingly common. Twenty-two percent of homes built in 2013 had a three-car garage, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
“It’s kind of become the man of the house’s playground,” Hopkins said. Clients now ask his firm to design garages with pocket doors, showroom-quality flooring, HVAC systems, sconces, car lifts and turntables. Some garages peel off into subterranean parking, or are built into the interior of the house as a dual-purpose space with glass walls for showing off prize vehicles.
Robert McCarthy, a real estate agent with Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, built his Brookhaven home in 1999 and recently updated the garage. “It was just your standard, bare-concrete garage [with] stuff tossed everywhere.”
Now it’s more fitting of his performance vehicles, a 2014 Porsche Boxster S convertible and a 2007 BMW X5 4.8 he’s in the process of trading in for another SUV. The camping chairs, margarita machine, golf clubs, grill, games, garden fertilizer and other former clutter are now neatly stored in custom cabinets.
He also hired Garage Solutions Atlanta to install epoxy granite flooring. At $3,400, the flooring is “a little expensive, but it’s perfect.”
Last November, he hosted his extended family — about four or five dozen people — in the garage for Thanksgiving. The epoxy coating on the floor doesn’t just treat luxury vehicles well, it also “cleans up super easy” with Dawn dish detergent and creates a durable, non-slip surface that was safe to walk across for McCarthy’s older parents, grandparents, and young nieces and nephews.
McCarthy said his garage is the envy of his neighbors: “It’s the only one like it in my entire neighborhood.” But he’s far from alone in valuing an updated garage. As a real estate agent, he’s noticed a trend of baby boomers downsizing into smaller homes but upscaling the garage; for instance, by adding a lift to accommodate the same number of cars as they had before moving.
Doug Calvert started the company McCarthy hired, Garage Solutions Atlanta, in 2010 when he saw a need for garage decluttering. He said his business has been doubling annually. He cites a national U.S. Department of Energy study that 25 percent of people with two-car garages don’t park any cars inside and 32 percent manage to squeeze in only one car.
“Because of the economy, people are nesting,” Calvert said, and the garage “is the last bastion of the house.” Women, in particular, are taking an interest, having the garage match the aesthetic of the rest of the home, or in making it a workspace for hobbies, from potting plants to leatherworking. “Eighty percent of our business is strongly influenced by the female in the home,” he said.
In new homes, garages are taking on prominence.
“When we price a house now, we price the garage more like an exterior porch,” or at about 70 percent of the square-foot price of the interior, said Steven West, a luxury homebuilder based in Atlanta. “We dress the outside of them and the inside of them just as much as the house.”
As the economy improves, West expects garages to become more elaborate. He is currently working on plans for a garage that allows vehicles to be lowered into a basement that doubles as a showroom of sorts, visible through a glass wall to the rest of the finished basement and big enough to drive around.
One of the most souped-up garages in the country is a converted horse stable on the $17.5 million Tanners Mill Estate, south of Gainesville.
It has room to park more than 80 cars and is lined with memorabilia, a full-scale vintage Mobil gas station, a 1950s-style diner and barbershop, plus a fully operational saloon with a stage stocked with musical instruments.
This is the playground of Milton Robson, the founder of Gainesville’s Prime Pak Foods. He retired in the 1990s to devote himself to his car collection. Besides a warehouse for his cars, the tiled garage doubles as a ballroom for charity fundraisers.
Although he sold 55 vehicles from his collection in 2010, mostly rare muscle cars, he still has about “20-something” vehicles left in his garage.
“The cars are just spread apart more,” he said. He’s focusing now on his collectibles from the 1930s, 1950s and 1960s, including a 1932 Packard Roadster, 1957 Chrysler 300C convertible and 1962 Chevy convertible. He may add another car, he said, “if something turns me on.”
Robson’s estate is for sale. He splits his time now between Georgia and Daytona Beach. He’s planning to downsize his Georgia home and move into a gated community, but doesn’t want to give up a nice garage. He’s been on the lookout for land or an older building, perhaps in Gainesville, where he can create another garage from scratch to keep his collection of cars and nostalgia sign memorabilia.”
Seeing how far Garage Solutions Atlanta has come with their products and service makes the entire garage storage market one to watch. To read the actual article, visit The Atlanta Business Chronicle.