August 27, 2020

My COVID DIY Garage Makeover (Part 1)

(I'm doing this in two parts because it's going to be long... but I finally finished the garage and I'm excited to post the before and after photos!)

Jerry always wanted a garage. When we first got our house (we bought a piece of property and had a manufactured home--a.k.a. trailer, double-wide, call it what you'd like! etc--put on it) we planned for it to be a temporary home. A couple of years, max.

We put it up for sale in 2005 (we bought it in 2003) but shortly afterward, I found out I was pregnant with Eli. I just didn't feel like it was a good time to sell our home, so we decided to stay here. And eventually, I kind of fell in love with it. Not the home itself, but the property. I love where we live! And Jerry and I slowly made the decision over the years that we'd like it to be permanent. 

Look at this view! This is what we see from our front yard in the fall:

We live across the street from a marsh (state land). I love that we can walk Joey on a trail back there and we see lots of wildlife. The fact that our home was a "starter home" didn't matter anymore. We really liked it.

We didn't own the lot next door to us, however, and it went up for auction in 2008-ish? We ended up buying it for $2,500 from the bank. It was kind of sickening because we'd spent $25,000 on our lot (both were listed for the same price in 2003). The housing market crashed right after we bought ours, so we were just shit-outta-luck. But being able to buy the lot next door was exciting for us!

I wanted Jerry to have his garage, and since we had the property for it, we had that built in 2014. I literally had nothing to do with it--I didn't care for a garage, didn't have a need for one, and just let Jerry do his thing. My ONLY input was that since he wanted a three-car garage, we should put a single car door at the rear of the garage (with a two-car door in front).

I can remember when I was a kid and we had thunderstorms, my dad would open the garage door and we'd sit on lawn chairs just inside the garage to watch the storms. When Jerry was figuring out the plans for our garage, that's what I had in mind for the single-car door.

Fast-forward six years, and we had a three-car garage filled with random STUFF, including an enormous zero-turn lawn mower to take up the entire back door. (The lawn mower was kind of inherited from a family friend--they are crazy-expensive to buy, otherwise we wouldn't have it.)

The garage wasn't finished inside--meaning you could see all the studs and joists--and I never thought much about it. Until I got into woodworking.

I started remodeling our house in August 2018, and somewhere along the way, I discovered that I loved power tools and building things. Since then, Lowe's has become my home away from home and I spend way too much time working in the garage. (It's become my "happy place". And if I won the lottery, I'd likely spend all my money at Lowe's!)

When I was trying to do things in the garage in the winter, it was super challenging. My hands were frozen and paint wouldn't dry and it just wasn't "fun" to work on projects. I decided that I wanted to insulate and drywall the garage, even if I did it over a long period of time (buying a little insulation and a couple sheets of drywall here and there).

Then COVID happened, and I had a lot of spare time on my hands. Jerry was still working (thank God he didn't lose his job) so we had extra money. The kids' schools were canceled for the rest of the school year and my brother didn't want me to continue working on his ceiling at the time (I had been removing his popcorn ceiling, and when COVID became an issue, I stayed home. As of now, I still have to go over there to sand and paint the ceiling!)

Since I was going to be home for a while, I decided I was going to make the garage my "quarantine project"--installing soffit vents, insulation on the walls and ceiling, and finally, drywall. (Including finishing the drywall with tape and mud, sanding, priming, and painting.)

I had done a lot of taping and mudding of the drywall in the house, I didn't think doing the garage would be a huge deal. And I was insistent that I wanted this to be MY project--no help from anybody else! I started spending the majority of my time out in the garage, working and listening to podcasts. I loved it.

My first big delivery from Lowe's--the insulation and drywall:

It was much harder (more work) than I expected it to be, but so satisfying! I loved seeing the progress as I moved along. I got to use some new tools (I always borrow stuff from my brother--but then I end up buying my own because I like using it so much.) And I learned more about electrical work (my brother worked for an electrician for several years and helped me through a lot of stuff).

When we first built the garage, Jerry wanted a "man cave". The kids loved that idea--a place to hang out with friends--so we made a little corner of the garage the designated space to chill. We put some hand-me-down furniture out there along with an old TV, and that became the "man cave". 

The only time I really sat out there was Halloween night, because I'd watch a scary movie and hand out candy. Occasionally, we'd have friends over and spend time out there, but mostly the garage was just for storage.

Halloween, 2015 (watching Scream). I only got about five(?) trick-or-treaters! 

As a female, I probably turned the "man cave" into something a little nicer than Jerry was thinking, but I couldn't help it. I finished the windows and casings and I painted everything--it looks SO much better. And honestly, the kids are very excited about it. Noah invited a couple of friends to come over today, and he planned to hang out in the garage.

So, I made the garage my main focus today, and I spent nearly seven hours putting things into place, cleaning and dusting. There are still just a couple of tiny things I want to do, but for the most part, the she-shed garage/man cave is done.

I took a trillion pictures today to set up against "before" photos, but I still have to sort through those. So I'll post them in a "Part 2" tomorrow... sorry! I just felt like I should explain our garage situation before jumping into the remodel. To be continued... :)


  1. Gosh I'm so excited to see the before and after pics! I love following along on your DIY journey!!

  2. I knew it was incredible, but seeing these photos puts it into perspective! Wow!

  3. Ugh, what a teaser... I can't wait for tomorrow's post!


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