Daily Herald


Garage Makeover Winner, 2014

Heidi Eglund of Prospect Heights is a self-proclaimed “neat freak.” Her home is always neat and tidy. But until recently, when it came to her family’s garage, she threw up her hands. It was a dumping ground and she was embarrassed for anyone to see it.

Her husband, Paul, is a professional painter so his work supplies often cluttered up the space. In addition there were sports items, gardening supplies, used furniture and family hand-me-down items which hadn’t allowed Paul to park his car inside in more than ten years. In fact, Heidi only parked her car in the garage during the winter because there just wasn’t usually enough room.

In addition, the 65-year-old concrete floor was cracked and pitted, so it was constantly emitting dust. Heidi could sweep and sweep and it would still feel and look dirty.

So this spring when she saw the announcement of the Daily Herald – Garage Store “Garage Makeover Contest,” she took some photos of the source of her embarrassment and sent in an entry. She was one of approximately 80 readers who entered to win a $5,000 makeover for their garage.

As luck would have it, Heidi won the grand prize while three other readers each won overhead storage racks worth $500 for their respective garages.

“I really wanted to choose a garage where I could make a difference for someone by making it functional and useful. I wanted to make sure that I chose active people for whom it would become not just a garage, but another room of the house. I also wanted them to be able to park their cars inside again and, of course, I also wanted a good showcase for my product,” explained Jim Melchert, owner of Garage Store, based in East Dundee.

The announcement that she had won the prize forced Heidi and Paul to clear out their garage and throw out/recycle the items that they no longer needed. Then Paul gave the walls a fresh coat of paint.

Next, Melchert went to work, first learning about the Eglunds’ lifestyle and needs and then designing a garage for them using cabinets, racks, hanging systems and a work area with a countertop.

“All of our products and services for the garage come ala carte so that homeowners can pick and choose what fits into their budget,” Melchert said.

For instance, Garage Store carries several lines of cabinets, wall systems, as well as hooks, baskets, specialized sports racks, shelves and much more. In fact, they are the exclusive designer and installer in Illinois for Gladiator GarageWorks powder-coated steel cabinets, made by Whirlpool. They also carry ceiling-mounted bike pulley systems, SafeRacks and MonsterRax for overhead storage.

Melchert was also determined to give the Eglunds a new floor so that Heidi could stop her fruitless sweeping.

Garage Store personnel ground out the cracks and filled in the pits with flexible material. Then they resurfaced the entire floor using trowels and put down several different coats of materials which resulted in an easy-to-clean, OSHA-approved slip-resistant polymer floor that looks gorgeous. They also installed a four-inch lip all around which acts like a baseboard and keeps water which might get into the garage from wicking up the walls. It will also make hosing out the garage periodically a simple process.

After the floor was complete, they installed extensive storage solutions which handle everything from Paul’s drop cloths and painting supplies, to their children’s sports equipment and Heidi’s gardening materials. There is now even room to store luggage on the huge racks that Garage Store supplied.

“I managed to cover all of my material costs in the $5,000 prize and threw in much of the labor because I didn’t want to leave any part of the space incomplete,” Melchert admitted.

“I am so thrilled with our new garage. I no longer have to put down the garage door to hide it,” Heidi said. “It had been a disaster since we moved in 18 years ago. Every year it seemed that something else came up that took precedence over organizing the garage.”

Now with their oldest child about to head off to college and another one in high school, she figured that fixing up their garage would have to wait at least another seven years. But Garage Store stepped in and made a huge difference in their lives.

“People today are staying in their houses longer and it seems that the garage is always the space that is neglected,” Melchert stated. “Our aim is to come up with ways to make people’s lives easier. So, we go out to talk to them at home and really understand what activities they are involved in; how many kids they have; and so forth. Then we come up with a proposal and a price.”

The runners-up who won overhead storage racks from Garage Store were Steve Maglich of Rolling Meadows, Susan Stewert of Elgin and Jackie Rosenfeldt of St. Charles.

Garage Store has a 2,000 square foot warehouse/showroom at 1082 Rock Road Lane, Unit E, E. Dundee which is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday. For more information, phone 847-428-8862 or log on to www.garage-store.com.

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