Unit Alpha – Garage 1

The Laird decided upon the “Unit Alpha” terminology. I agree that it is much superior to “Apt. A” or “Unit A”. Due to the lack of contractor availability, I’m playing contractor, yet again. I decided to start with the garage – how hard can that be, right?

Unit Alpha’s driveway and garage (Starlink antenna on the roof).
The floor plan, drawn North up, so flipped to match the picture makes a mess of it.
You did get that “how hard can it be?” was rhetorical, right?

Let’s start with the tennis ball. It’s important because The Laird’s truck is about a foot shorter than the garage, up to that workbench. There is a very fine line between “can’t get around the front” and “door closes on back bumper”.

The obvious first thought: Remove the workbench. Well. I have often complained that home remodelers build crap. That workbench is not crap. It’s built for the ages. Removing it would be a nightmare and rather sad. So, the workbench stays. The Laird is getting a new, shorter truck. Yes, really.

It is a small garage, so white. Blinding, brilliant, glossy, high-tech lab white. And lights. Lots and lots of bright lights. The window is just two panes of glass (as is the one on right wall, which is not in the photo), one of which I’ve broken, already. I’m looking at a louvered exhaust fan, because there will be plenty of artificial light and a cool looking workshop needs an exhaust fan. FarmTek and McMaster-Carr look promising.

Note that this will not be an actual workshop. At best, it will be tool storage. There is a single 15 amp circuit here. The black cord hanging on the back wall? That’s the garage door opener’s. But, I want it to look like a cool workshop because why not?

My original thought was Kobalt Blue with a rolling toolbox. But, The Laird wants a blue truck and we wouldn’t want clashing blues when the only point is to look cool. So, Craftsman Nostalgia it is. Note the “nostalgia” part. I may buy a rolling toolbox to complete the look, but it is a style choice only and I shall not buy another Craftsman tool – ever. Sears is dead to me. But, I can enjoy fond memories of my childhood. I bought “toolbox red” paint to spray the vice (it’s on the workbench, but not visible at this resolution/angle).

The door will be replaced with one having a glass insert and a keypad lock. Might as well throw it on the Unit Alpha automation system. Speaking of which, getting a pick’em up truck into that driveway does not have a lot of room for error. Exterior runway chaser lights from the sidewalk to the back of the garage would be just the thing. And you know what? They’re CHEAP!

They come in four pieces: The LED light strips, a WiFi interface for the automation system, the light controller, and the stuff to connect it all together. I’m learning as I go here, but if I end up with some extras, is that so bad? The magic words seem to be “5050”, “4Pin”, “LED Strip”, “waterproof”, “RGB-IC”, and “WiFi” – “Bluetooth” is an unmagic word, based on my light bulb experiment.

If you can read upside-down and backwards numbers and care enough to add them up, you will see that I “need” about 200 feet of chaser lights: Both sides of the driveway (2×24′) and both sides of the floor of the garage (2×24′). I did say I wanted a lot of lights, right? So, another pair of strips running just over head-height along the garage walls. The chasers can be wired to the garage door opener (until I get “if this/then that” working) while the others are wired to wall switch, with the workbench spots. I’m tempted by a chaser strip up the middle of the floor, but that would be another controller and WiFi unit. We’ll see if I end with an “extra” after getting the desired length (kits seem easier to get than the pieces parts).

We’ve started with the white paint. Three gallons in, it is looking promising so I’ll stick with the Lowe’s white for at least three more gallons, probably four, hopefully not five. Rustoleum high gloss black and red are easy to find. Lowe’s didn’t have the aluminum, so I’ll check Knecht Ace and while there see what they have for grease-covering garage paint for a grey floor; the Lowe’s paint person was not very helpful, so I feel no loyalty there.

Update: I’ve declared victory (with an “after” picture).

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