Daily Herald


Garage Makeover Winner, 2016

Makeover winner enjoys his inner sanctum

Rob Ruisz is a garage guy. His Schaumburg garage is his man cave. He works on his motorcycle, cars and pickup truck there. is is also where he completes house maintenance projects like woodworking — and where Ruisz entertains.

“I am a garage freak. My wife, Liz, and I refer to our- selves as garage dwellers. Some people like to spend lots of time in their back- yards. We like to spend lots of time in our garage,” the 57-year-old retired Schaum- burg police o cer said.

e couple has been liv- ing in their 1960s-era raised ranch since 2002 and the garage still looked much the way it did when the home was built, with the exception of several large cracks in the oor and lots of pitting from years of road salt.

“ e garage was in decent shape because I have never used it to store boxes and junk like many people do. But I had always dreamed about getting an epoxy oor,” Ruisz said. “I realized, however, that everyone I knew who laid an epoxy oor themselves saw it wear away. ose oors are simply not a do-it-yourself job.”

So when he saw the announcement of Garage Store’s annual makeover contest in the Daily Herald, he entered, writing, in part, “Our garage, a ectionately named by our friends ‘Big Iron Saloon at Rob’s Garage,’ is a place in our home that serves mainly as a social gathering place, but also as a personal man cave escape zone, a workshop, a vehicle repair shop and used very lit- tle for the storage of junk.” “I entered last year, but never heard anything. So I decided to try again,” Ruisz said.

Each year, Garage Store adjusts the contest’s focus. Two years ago, for instance, Garage Store owner Jim Melchert said he sought to show how a garage could become more organized and functional. Last year, he wanted to show how a “made-over” garage could literally impact the lives of the family living there, so he chose homeowners whose son had respiratory prob- lems that were aggravated by a crumbling garage oor and the resulting dust.

is year, Garage Store wanted to focus on how a garage can become another room of the house, to be used for entertaining as well as other pursuits. “We had approximately 1,000 entries and chose three nalists,” Melchert said.

“Rob was really excited when I stopped by to see his garage and he gave me a really good vibe,” Melchert said. “He is a real sociable garage guy who is very orga- nized, has a Harley and actu- ally uses his garage as a room of his house and for enter- taining year-round, even though his oor was pretty bad.”

Melchert said he knew Ruisz’s garage would really show people what can be done with Garage Store’s commercial grade floooring system. “When he pulled up in his Garage Store truck one Satur- day morning, it was like the Publisher’s Clearinghouse van had pulled up in front of my house,” Ruisz said. “I knew it had to be good news because they don’t stop by to tell you that you lost. at is when I found out I was one of the three nalists.” A few days later he got the ultimate good news. “Oh my God, it was like my birthday, Christmas and Father’s Day all rolled into one! I was in heaven. It was amazing. I feel so fortunate,” Ruisz said.

He describes his new garage as the “ultimate man cave” and says now his wife will always know where to nd him, adding that the floor is particularly amaz- ing. Garage Store also gave the Ruiszes two wall units, two tall cabinets that extend about 5 feet up from the oor and two workbenches with cabinets below. “Rob said he was really impressed by the talent and skill of our flooring crew and how much it took to do the job right. It made him under- stand why this is not some- thing a homeowner can do himself and be successful,” Melchert said.

e total value of Ruisz’s prize, including the con- crete restoration on the oor and subsequent commercial grade coating, was $5,000. “We have four adult chil- dren and six grandchildren and because our garage is heated, it is a great place for all of us to gather, even in the winter. ose gatherings will be even better now,” Ruisz said.

Melchert has no doubt the family will enjoy their updated space. “I am so pleased that after many years of serving the community, this former police o cer can enjoy his retirement in this nice garage,” he said.

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