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The garage of your dreams

You know it’s there. The potential, that is. It might be behind the kids’ bikes, or under the busted Christmas tree box. Maybe near that pile of patio furniture? Somewhere, there is potential for you to have the garage of your dreams. You just have to find it.

Urban Garage owner Joseph Gagliardi acknowledges that, for modern families, space is at a premium. And while they might tend to use the garage as a dumping ground, they also usually wish they had more space. That’s why they come to him for help.

Gagliardi says he’s got a solution for everybody, including Bryan Baeumler. Baeumler’s wife, Sarah, hired Gagliardi to makeover the family’s Oakville garage, during filming of the contractor’s popular HGTV series Life of Bryan. “Not everyone needs a complete makeover, though,” says Gagliardi. “Depends on the project. It could be as simple as organizing some of their items on the wall. And the possibilities go up from there: custom cabinetry; sinks; a dog bath. Some people install video monitors behind cabinets. And vehicle hoists are a great way to increase your parking space.”

If you’re warming to the idea and want full immersion in the potential, you’ll also want to check out Garage Living, another Toronto company specializing in garage lifestyle. Their 3000 foot showroom in Vaughan has five “dream garages” on site to show folks exactly what they’re missing.

There are great systems, cabinets, wall hooks and overhead storage available – and all of it helps. But Gagliardi suggests, there are a few key steps you can do yourself to achieve the garage of your dreams.


Like most modern problems with organization, the root of all evil is the clutter. The good news is, the garage is the first place people stash their truly extraneous items – stuff they really, really don’t need or use. If you steel yourself, you should be able to get going quickly. “Make different piles,” says Gagliardi. “Throw away. Recycle. Keep. Get rid of things your parents gave you. Things that are broken. That old TV…”

Take your time

For the DIYer, a real garage overhaul takes more than an afternoon. Give yourself the whole weekend, and don’t be surprised if it takes two.

Be realistic

Suburban garage owners can go for broke with their garage reno. Assuming they’ve got the budget, they probably have the space. But Gagliardi cautions downtowners, or people living in older homes, to be realistic with how much storage they can squeeze out of their garage. “The older single car garages are difficult,” he says. “They’re so small and tight. People want their dream list but they also want to be able to park their car. In a small space like that, instead of benches and cabinetry, you look at overhead space.”

Great gear for the garage of your dreams

Overhead Storage Systems

Overhead storage works in almost any garage. Gagliardi says his systems start at about $300 for a 4 x 8 unit. For an extra hundred bucks, the company will install it. A ceiling rack can hold 600 pounds (if properly installed) and is a great way to keep seasonal items out of sight. Most folks use a stepladder to access them, but there are small hoists available, too.

Wall Storage Systems

By far his biggest seller, Gagliardi says the wall storage is a must for any garage clean up. A good system he uses incorporates slat wall by HandiWall. “You can do a small strip or a whole wall – and the price runs from about $200 up to $3000 or more, depending on the size of your project.”

Tire Racks

If you’ve got room, why pay a tire shop to store your snows?

Other Great Tools

There are also floor coatings, vehicle and bicycle hoists, bicycle racks, everyday cabinetry and custom cabinetry for high-end hobbyists. The only limit is your imagination. And your budget.