Fixing up the garage may be last on the family priority list, but it's often first in the heart of those who love the smell of gasoline and the roar of a Chevy small-block V-8. So, don't settle for open two 2-by-four studs, dim bulbs, and intolerable temperatures. Give yourself an automotive playroom that becomes another of your gearhead tools.

Think about functional upgrades, of course, but also look into options that make your garage a reflection of your personality. Consider flooring materials that can be ordered in bold colors. Investigate pro-style tool-storage compartments. And then turn your garage fridge into a faux gas pump.

Below are some tips on how to create and outfit your dream garage. But before starting, have the renovation's end point firmly in mind. Will the garage be primarily a place to store and showcase a 1963 Split-Window Corvette? If so, decor and lighting would be priorities.

If you're Mr. Fixit, are your projects usually minor repairs and maintenance (Bondo missions and oil changes, for instance)? You probably won't need to store too many bulky or expensive tools, if that's the case. If you do major work, like a ground-up restoration of a Shelby Mustang, you will have serious space, power, and climate considerations. Here's a more general discussion about designing a garage.

On the next page are the building considerations you face:
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