With the trend toward smaller lot and house sizes, it's time to revisit the humble garage. Its potential as a multifunctional space is largely untapped, but with the right materials, fittings and design it can be transformed into an attractive and versatile room. In addition to storing cars, it can also serve as a family breakout space, workshop or project space. It can even change use according to the season. Whether homeowners have tots or teens, or an empty nest, the garage is ready to be viewed as a space that can house more than just cars.
Interior designer Sonya Cotter has styled this Auckland garage three ways: as a secondary living room, as a games room and for a practical yet comfortable gardening workspace. To the existing dark blue polypropylene carpet, she has selected pre-finished PlyPlay in a clear finish. "The plywood immediately transforms the room with the warmth of timber," she says. "It feels more welcoming, which is important for a family space, but also because garages are inadvertently used as another entry into the home."
PlyPlay provides equal measures of style and practicality, making it as desirable as it is functional. Glued and panel pinned to the existing plasterboard lining, the plywood offers a strong surface for hooks and fittings. Whether storing bicycles from the ceiling, hanging gardening tools or a bean bag, hooks and brackets won't rip out like they can from plasterboard. And if a hook is removed, the hole hardly shows due to the texture of the wood.
Being pre-finished also means the construction time is quick and relatively mess-free. Builder Phil Hays lined this garage in under two days. "It took me about half an hour per sheet to install," he explains, "and because they are pre-finished, I was the only contractor required. No need for plastering or painting trades. The protective plastic on the PlyPlay surface allowed me to easily mark my cut lines, which sped up the installation."
Maintenance is also an important consideration for garages, as anyone storing sports or gardening gear can attest to. Bumped and marked plasterboard is not attractive and takes a lot of work to keep clean. PlyPlay by contrast, has a strong Ecoply substrate and durable UV-cured polyurethane finish. It handles more knocks, wear and tear and is easy to clean with a soft wet sponge.
Photos: Bryce Carleton