Choosing the Ideal Garage Heating Solution — A Close Look at Gas, IN-FLOOR Radiant, and Electric Options

Finding the ideal heating solution to keep your garage comfortable and inviting during chilly months can be a rewarding endeavor. Selecting the perfect heating system for your garage entails navigating through a myriad of options, ranging from forced-air (both gas and electric) to in-floor radiant heating (electric and hydronic). With such a diverse array of choices available, the challenge lies in determining which system best meets your specific needs, requirements, and budget.

To assist you with determining what are the optimal garage heating solutions, I will delve into each option with precision. In this article, I will guide you through the diverse array of Radiant In-Floor systems available for installation in your garage and tackle Forced Air options in our next article.


Exploring the Benefits of a Radiant Floor Heating Systems for Your Residential Home Garage

An alluring and efficient option well worth exploring is an in-floor radiant heating system. There are two types of radiant heating:  Hydronic and Electric.

 Hydronic radiant heating systems

Hydronic (Liquid) RADIANT HEATING – Hydronic radiant heating systems utilize hot water flowing through pipes installed within the floor to distribute heat evenly throughout a space. Here’s how hydronic radiant heat typically works:

  • Boiler or Water Heater: A central boiler or water heater heats water to the desired temperature. Typical heat sources for hydronic radiant heating systems include gas- or oil-fired boilers, electrical, wood-fired boilers, solar water heaters, or a hybrid combination of these options. Hydronic systems typically can be more expensive than electric radiant heat due to the need for a boiler or water heater.
  • Piping Network: Pipes, usually made of PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) or similar materials, are installed within the floor embedded into the concrete slab.
  • Heat Distribution: As hot water circulates through the pipes, it radiates heat upwards, warming the floor surface and the room above it.
  • Thermostat Control: The system is controlled by a thermostat, allowing users to regulate the temperature to their comfort level.
Electric radiant heating systems

ELECTRIC RADIANT HEATING – Electric radiant heating systems utilize electric resistance cables or mats installed beneath the floor surface to generate heat. Here’s how electric radiant heat typically works:

  • Heating Elements: Electric cables or mats, typically made of materials like resistance wire or carbon film, are installed beneath the garage floor surface to produce heat.
  • Electricity Supply: When electricity flows through these heating elements, they generate heat, warming the floor above them; whereas the hydronic liquid system differs in heating water in a boiler and circulating it through tubing beneath the floor to emit heat.
  • Heat Distribution: Like hydronic systems, electric radiant heating radiates heat upwards, providing warmth to the room.
  • Thermostat Control: The system is controlled by a thermostat, enabling users to adjust the temperature according to their preferences.

Electric systems tend to have simpler installation processes and may be more suitable for smaller areas or where access to a boiler or gas line is limited. However, liquid systems are often preferred for larger spaces or where energy costs are a concern, as they can be more energy-efficient over time.

Advantages of Radiant Heating

Efficient Heat Distribution – Since heat radiates from the entire floor surface, radiant heating systems provide uniform warmth throughout garage. Unlike conventional forced-air heating systems that rely on blowing heated air through vents, radiant systems evenly distribute heat, eliminating cold spots and ensuring a consistent, cozy temperature throughout the garage.

Quiet Operation – Radiant flooring systems are known for their quiet operation. Unlike noisy blowers and fans associated with forced-air systems, a radiant flooring system operates silently. This is particularly advantageous in a garage setting, where you might want a peaceful atmosphere for working, tinkering on projects, or simply enjoying your hobby without the distraction of a heater blowing in the background.

An Invisible Installation – Radiant systems are practically invisible, as the heating elements are hidden beneath the floor. This enhances the aesthetic appeal of your garage, allowing you to focus on the layout and design of the space without having to work around bulky heaters or vents. This not only maximizes the use of space but also eliminates the need for visible heating equipment, many of which are unsightly, that could interfere with your garage layout or aesthetics.

Energy Efficiency in their Operation – Radiant flooring systems are known for their energy efficiency. Hydronic heating systems, in particular, which takes advantage of water’s excellent heat conductivity (water conducts heat more effectively than air) allows for better retention and even distribution of heat, resulting in lower energy consumption compared to some other heating methods.

Reduced Air Circulation has Benefits – Traditional heating systems can stir up dust and allergens as they blow air through vents. In contrast, radiant heating systems do not rely on air circulation, reducing the potential for dust to be spread around the garage. This can be particularly beneficial if you use your garage as a workshop or storage space for sensitive items, like collector cars.


The cost of installing a radiant heating system for garage floors varies based on factors such as location, the size of your garage, installation type (hydronic or electric), floor covering (polished concrete, tile, floor coating or interlocking tiles), and local labor costs. Radiant heating system can potentially entail significant upfront costs due to initial equipment installation and complexities like zone valves and intricate piping and a more involved installation process compared to alternative methods.

Summary of In-Floor Radiant Heating Systems

Radiant flooring systems, whether hydronic or electric, offer unparalleled efficiency and tranquility for spaces like residential garages. Radiant floor heating transforms your garage into an aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, and inviting space by prioritizing consistent heat distribution and eliminating allergen circulation from air movement. This system embodies efficient energy utilization, even heat dispersion, and elevated comfort, making it ideal for those seeking optimal warmth and functionality in their garage.

The choice between the two depends on factors such as installation preferences, budget, and energy considerations. Before making a decision, it’s advisable to consult with heating experts who can assess your garage’s specific requirements and guide you toward the best heating solution for your needs.

[This article was written by Chad Haas, who has accumulated over two decades of experience designing and furnishing luxury garages all over the world. As the founder of VAULT and the only ASID Garage Designer in the world, Haas offers a unique insight into this specialized field.]

Maximizing Garage Convenience — Strategically Placing Your Water Sources

Homeowners are increasingly recognizing the value and convenience of having access to a water source in their garage. This trend is gaining popularity as it offers easy access for a range of tasks. These tasks include handwashing, cleaning components, bathing pets, washing vehicles, and even having a bar sink in luxury garages designed for entertainment purposes.

When deciding on optimal plumbing placements within a residential garage, it’s important to take into account the following essential factors for positioning the plumbing. This ensures both convenience and functionality while adhering to building codes:

Proximity of the Water Source to Tasks and Needs

The water source in the garage should be strategically positioned and easily accessible for homeowners, enhancing both convenience and efficiency. Placing plumbing close to areas where tasks like handwashing, parts cleaning, vehicle washing, and entertaining are performed ensures access to water is convenient and efficient.

Consider placing a sink or spigot near a garage exit, main garage door, or entrance. This strategic positioning guarantees effortless access and, if a hose is being used, reduces the requirement for excessive hose length, which could potentially present a tripping hazard.

Proximity to Water Supply Lines

In new construction, placing a water source that is nearest to plumbing lines is generally more practical and cost-effective, as it reduces the need for extensive plumbing installations. In remodeling projects, leveraging the proximity to existing plumbing, you can minimize the effort and expenses associated with plumbing connections.

Height Off the Floor

The placement of a plumbing spigot, such as a hose bib or outdoor faucet, should be determined based on installation requirements, local codes, and practical considerations for the intended use.

Space Availability

When selecting a location for the sink in your garage, prioritize a spot that doesn’t block pathways or disrupt other garage activities. Because corners can provide a challenge for storage due to limited accessibility, utilizing a corner cabinet, which already has space constraints, can be an excellent option for placing a garage sink while effectively concealing the plumbing.

Hot Water Line

You may want to consider plumbing a hot water line to mix the water to a more comfortable temperature should you need warmer water to bathe your dog, wash your hands or clean stubborn stains or parts.

Water Quality

If detailing your automobile is a passion and your water is hard, you may want to consider an in-line water softener and deionizer to remove the minerals from your tap water so you can rinse your car and dry it off without your glass and paint spotting.

If your water source is being used to make ice or as a bar sink it should be clean and safe for human consumption. It is important to test the water quality regularly to ensure that it meets local health and safety standards.


In cold climates, it’s important to properly insulate the water source and plumbing to prevent freezing and bursting pipes. This will protect the system and ensure its longevity.

In conclusion, whether you’re giving your dog a bath, washing your hands, cleaning your car or enjoying your garage bar, a well-placed water source simplifies tasks, making your garage an efficient and more enjoyable space.

Esoteric Selects VAULT® Metal Cabinets to Exude Luxury and Ensure Client Trust

In the world of luxury car detailing, attention to detail is paramount. Every aspect of the customer experience must exude elegance, precision, and trust. When it comes to storing and organizing their tools and equipment, ESOTERIC, a leading luxury car detailing company, understands the importance of choosing the right storage solution. That’s why ESOTERIC was compelled to partner with VAULT®, a renowned provider of high-quality metal cabinets. In this article, we will explore why ESOTERIC has selected VAULT® to meet their storage needs and how these metal cabinets help create a lasting impression on their esteemed clientele.

As clients entrust their prized possessions to ESOTERIC for meticulous detailing, it was crucial to create an environment that not only reflects the luxury of the vehicles themselves and instilled confidence in their customers. The first impression is often the lasting one, and ESOTERIC’s Founder Todd Cooperider understood the significance of this moment. A clean, organized, and visually appealing workspace plays a pivotal role in establishing ESOTERIC’s reputation as a premium service provider.

We are a very high-end luxury detailing and protection facility, we have cars shipped into us from all over the country for paint correction polishing, paint protection film, ceramic coating, window tint, customization … because they are looking for the best of the best in the services, in the quality, and in customer experience that they get. The funny thing is they had a customer at one point who said that they were from out of state, and they looked at pictures of the shop and they said even without seeing your work, ‘any place that can have a really clean facility with white cabinets and white floors that Is where I want my car to go to’, explained Cooperider.        

Image of the ultra-rare McLaren Sabre from the Triple F Collection, a highly exclusive vehicle with only 15 in existence. Esoteric performs meticulous paint correction and ceramic coating on the carbon fiber body, preserving its beauty and integrity.
Image of the ultra-rare McLaren Sabre from the Triple F Collection, a highly exclusive vehicle with only 15 in existence. Esoteric performs meticulous paint correction and ceramic coating on the carbon fiber body, preserving its beauty and integrity.

Tailored Solutions for Efficient Organization

Efficiency and organization are crucial for a luxury car detail company like ESOTERIC. VAULT® Founder Chad Haas listened carefully to their requirements to personalize a custom storage solution tailored to their specific needs. With a wide range of cabinet sizes, configurations, and accessories, VAULT®’s optimized their workspace to ensure easy access to tools and supplies, enhancing their operational efficiency and streamlining their workflow. This level of organization not only saves time but also showcases ESOTERIC’s professionalism to clients.

Image of ESOTERIC detailing a Porsche 918 Spyder in their luxury car detail shop furnished with VAULT's high-quality metal cabinets
Image of ESOTERIC detailing a Porsche 918 Spyder in their luxury car detail shop furnished with VAULT’s high-quality metal cabinets

Seeking Out Uncompromising Quality and Durability

When it came to storage cabinets, ESOTERIC sought out a partner who shared their commitment to quality and durability. VAULT® stood out as the ideal choice for the impeccable reputation they built for crafting metal cabinets of exceptional craftsmanship. Utilizing the finest materials and manufacturing techniques to handcraft cabinets that are built to last a lifetime of use, ESORTERIC’s founder could rest assured that his investment in VAULT® metal cabinets would withstand the test of time and deliver reliable performance, even in a demanding environment. 

Looking closely at your product, (VAULT®) cabinets were built in such a way that we knew that they were going to be around for a long time and take on a lot of use and abuse while also providing us with that high-end luxury look that we were going for. We have had them in our facility here for just about 11-12 years now and they are holding up fantastic. We have had zero issues with them throughout this whole time despite the fact that we have 25 or so employees working in here using each and every one of them (cabinets) every single day. VAULT® has been fantastic for us, for sure” said Cooperider.

For luxury car detail companies like ESOTERIC, the choice of storage solutions goes beyond mere functionality. VAULT® metal cabinets have proven to be the ideal choice for ESOTERIC’s storage needs, combining durability, efficiency, and aesthetics. By selecting VAULT®, ESOTERIC not only ensures the efficient and safe storage of their tools but also creates an impressive environment that instills trust and confidence in their discerning clientele. Using VAULT® metal cabinets, ESOTERIC maintains the highest standard of excellence in the luxury car detailing industry.

Visit ESOTERIC online at and on Instagram or Facebook.

Considerations For Windows In Garage Design

Windows are becoming increasingly popular in garage design. They provide a pleasant source of ambient light and, if they open, a source for fresh air and ventilation. Windows can take advantage of a great view outdoors and connect the interior space with the outside providing a sense of openness in a way that can make the garage appear and feel larger than its actual size. Having a window over a work area can create a more pleasant and more interesting working environment. And if there is enough natural light coming into a garage, you may not even need to turn on the lights to grab what you need (speaking as someone who has accidentally left the lights on in his garage on more than a few occasions).

For architects designing a garage and the builders who build them, the location of windows, their size and orientation should be taken into consideration so that they do not limit the homeowners’ choices of what they may want to do. Depending on which direction the garage faces, you can still enjoy the daylight and views that a window brings if you are selective about where you locate them.


The height of a window off the floor is one of the most important considerations so they do not limit how that area of the garage may be used.  All too frequently we run into challenges from windows that are specified too close to the floor, which can prevent cabinets from being used on that wall.

In a home, windows are traditionally set above the common height of 3 Feet (36”) measured from the floor to the bottom of the window trim to allow the placement of furniture under the sill and not block the window. Yet, we have encountered windows in garages that are placed below the standard height, which then creates an obstacle for the homeowner to place cabinets, storage racks, appliances, or other items that are more frequently being placed inside a garage.

If you place a window and its trim above countertop height, it will not block anything you may want to place in that area of the garage. Window trim can range from ¾” thickness to 3-1/2” or more, which should be accounted for in their placement measured from the floor to the bottom of the trim.

The safe zone that architects and builders should adhere to when designing and placing windows is to set them at least 36” and taller, as measured from the floor to the bottom of the window trim, and taking into account the window trim so that it is not set so closely to the countertop that it looks scrunched. Some homeowners may also want to set their countertops higher than the industry standard height than exist in kitchens, so it is not uncommon for countertop heights in garages to be set at a height of 38” or taller overall.  


Sun windows can fill the garage with bright, ambient light, just be aware of the potential for overheating in summer or incoming ultraviolet light causing fading to the paint on automobiles. If you are concerned about excessive heat or faded furnishings, making accommodations for blinds or a window film to block out the heat from the sun can help enhance the comfort of your garage.


If you are concerned about privacy or security, the placement of a window in a location where it is not directly seen by prying eyes or at a height off the ground that a person could not climb through with the use of a ladder, will reduce the vulnerability of your garage to break-ins and theft. The size and shape of a window can also reduce break-ins if an average person cannot reasonably fit through them.

If you desire natural light, but you are concerned that outsiders will be able to look inside your garage, a simple solution of using privacy glass (like frosted glass) or installation of a film over the windows, as is commonly used in bathrooms, will ensure your privacy.


Keep in mind that the more windows that are placed in a garage the less wall space will be available for storage. However, if you have tall ceilings, placing windows near the ceiling can introduce ambient light and not conflict with anything you may want to do on the walls.


Another way to introduce natural light into a garage is specifying windows in your garage doors. In addition to increasing the curb appeal of your home by making the garage door more stylish, you will gain beautiful ambient light. In my home, I designed both wood carriage doors using seedy glass, which is an elegant and beautiful way to allow natural light to bathe my garages while retaining privacy. Even small lites, like on the carriage doors I designed for a garage remodel (see pictures below) allows just natural light to filter into the garage while also maintaining the privacy that was important to my client.

Hope you enjoyed reading this article and it helps you plan a better garage for your home.

Chad Haas

Founder & Chief Gearhead

Transforming My Garage into a Dream Hangout: A Custom Cabinet Success Story

“Cabinets look amazing. Seriously amazing!!! Attention to detail is over the top. Truly works of art. Your packing alone rivals Apple.”

Sometimes our customers just say it best. We recently received this glowing testimonial from a project in Colorado Springs –  and rather than summarize it we figured we’d just share Dr. Christopher Jones’ kind words in its entirety. We collaborated with Prismatic Powders on this job to match our Professional Series Garage Cabinets to Christopher’s Porsches.

I have been an automobile, and Porsche enthusiast ever since I was a young boy. The first time that I saw a 930 Turbo I was in awe. The sexy lines, massive wing and the muscular rear end got my blood flowing. I could only dream of being able to drive such a car one day. After years of school and working hard, I attained my dream and have been fortunate enough to be able to own a few of these engineering marvels.

Next came Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Cameron’s father’s garage. The glass on both sides allowing you to see through it was completely off the hook. For years, I dreamt of building “my garage/man cave”. The design would certainly have the glass on both sides allowing you to see the cars, and an awesome view out the back. After many years, this dream was finally materializing. I wanted it to have a real cool factor. As I started to work on the interior design, I did an incredible amount of research on everything from wall coverings, cases for my model car collection, floor coverings and cabinets. At first I did not think of the cabinets as a center piece, but still wanted them to be cool.

After looking at countless cabinets and cabinet companies online, I stumbled across VAULT®. These cabinets were beautiful! I looked through the gallery on VAULT®’s website a hundred times and decided this is what my garage needed. The first time I called VAULT® I got the owner, Chad Haas, on the line. We spoke for over an hour about his cabinets and what makes them unique. His enthusiasm and understanding of what makes a garage special was obvious. We hung up the phone and I emailed him a few photos of my Porsches and what I was planning for cabinets. The color choice was slate gray. I thought it would look clean and sharp. Chad saw the pictures of my cars and immediately said that we have to make the cabinets a custom blue to match my cars (Mexico Blue and Riviera Blue). At first I wasn’t sure about this choice. I thought that it may be too much. Thankfully, I listened and the color turned out to be beautiful!

When I first learned the price of these cabinets, I have to admit that I was a bit apprehensive. There are quite a few cheaper options out there, but after seeing the quality of engineering, materials and paint, there is no doubt that they are worth every penny. Granted you may save 25% by going with a cheaper option, but you will not get VAULT® garage cabinets! I have cabinets in my other garage that were made from melamine. These cabinets are functional, attractive and custom made. However, even after just a few years, the hinges are starting to fail. Most importantly, they are “just cabinets”.

The customer requested the integration of a subzero beverage fridge.

Then came the design stage. I wanted a specific setup for my hangout area that would incorporate a stereo cabinet and a sub zero fridge. Chad and his team went to work designing two custom cabinets to match my requested set up. I didn’t know this at the time, but they have never made a cabinet with an incorporated subzero beverage fridge. When they reached out to subzero, subzero told them that no one has ever re-faced one of their fridges with a metal front. VAULT® saw this as a challenge. They ordered the fridge of my choice and went to work designing a custom cabinet. We went back and forth a half dozen times with engineering drawings until they got what I wanted. They engineered everything from vented rear cabinet walls to accommodate the heat of the audio equipment, to a specifically located cut out to match my wall outlets. There were some challenges along the way, but after several iterations, they nailed it.

When it was time to ship my garage cabinets, they packaged them into bomb proof crates to protect them on their journey. Chad communicated with me the whole time and called me immediately after delivery to make sure that everything went smoothly. VAULT® provided detailed instructions on how to unpack and set up the cabinets. While this did require a fair amount of work, the instructions were spot on and made it a smooth process.

The cabinets exceeded my expectations in every way. When I started this process, the cabinets were not a primary concern or center piece of my garage. Now, I could not imagine my garage without the VAULT® cabinets.  They MAKE the garage special! I look at them as a piece of art to be admired. The color is stunning! The construction is exacting!

Thank you Chad and The VAULT® Team for helping make my dream garage A Dream!

Christopher Jones, MD

How To Ensure Your Tiled Garage Floor Can Last a Lifetime

Few surfaces look better on a garage floor than porcelain.  Nothing compares to the timeless beauty, durability, and ease of maintenance as porcelain, which is why it has become a major trend for residential garages and a must-have for homeowners.

When properly installed, a porcelain tiled floor is practically indestructible.  Able to withstand extreme weight loads, tile is unaffected by the weight of vehicles, making it a perfectly suitable surface for the garage. 

The major cause of damage to tiled garage floors are a result of movement stresses and water penetration, which can cause cracking of the tile or grout.  In extreme examples, which are rare, delamination of the tiled surface can occur.

One way to ensure that your finished tile floor will last a lifetime is through its proper installation.  Tile has been successfully installed for thousands of years and preventing your tiled floor from this type of damage starts before the first tile is installed, beginning with an underlayment that is installed between your tile and the concrete subfloor to prevent stresses from being transferred directly to the tile and causing cracking or delamination of your tiled surface.  These underlayment membranes work by allowing the tile and subfloor to move independently from each other, effectively neutralizing the movement stresses between the substrate and the tile, thus eliminating the major cause of cracking and delaminating of the tiled surface.

Another distinguishing feature of these membranes is the creation of free space, or channels, on the underside of the matting, that creates an escape route for excess moisture and vapor that could otherwise cause damage to the tile layer above and preventing mold and mildew from building up.  Tiled floors that are installed using these types of membranes are reliable, durable, and engineered to last the lifetime of the home.  A wise investment indeed.

One such membrane that we have used and highly recommend is made by Schluter Systems under the brand name DITRA.  This membrane was specifically engineered to prevent cracking, delamination, and moisture damage and enjoy the lasting benefits and beauty of your new tiled floor over any even and load bearing substrate.   Made of waterproof polyethylene, it prevents moisture penetration, which is particularly important in today’s residential homes where most garage floors are either damp or have moisture issues

To learn more about DITRA underlayment membrane, watch this video:

Visit our garage flooring page to learn more about the perfect porcelain tile for your garage and we will guide your through the thousands of choices of porcelain tile options so that you can get exactly what you want.

The Key Elements of a Great Garage

One of the questions frequently posed to me as the founder of VAULT® is, “What Makes a Great Garage?” Garages are often an afterthought in home design, so I am always excited by the chance to respond to this particular question.

A great garage actually has very little to do with how much money someone invests into its construction. Nor is it achieved by making over-the-top statements with extravagant automobiles or opulent furnishings meant to impress one’s visitors.

In my opinion, a great garage is one that evokes an emotion the moment you walk into the space. If your design can be meaningful enough to evoke feeling, then your space will be memorable. And if your garage can create a memorable experience in a way that maintains architectural harmony with the rest of the home, in a way that does not replicate things that you’re seeing everybody else do, in a way that is unique but not so brash that it is tacky, in a way that is simply timeless… well you’re going to have a truly great garage.

Here are a few key design elements that will draw someone into your garage and make them want to stay for a while.

1. A Great Garage Is Timeless, Not Trendy

Timeless design does not pull its inspiration from what is “trending.” In a time when everything changes so quickly, what might be hip today can go out of vogue in the blink of an eye. Therefore, when designing your garage you should avoid the impulse to do something trendy. Committing to a trend will lock you into a design that is temporary and that will need to be updated, perhaps time and time again. A timeless design, on the other hand, will remain impressive for years to come.

The “hot trend” in garage design I probably see most often is the liberal use of tread plate – that textured, shiny pattern that started popping up in garages, gyms, workshops, and pickup trucks a decade ago. Tread plate might be widespread, but that doesn’t mean it will last. And even right now, despite its popularity, overuse of this feature can leave the wrong kind of impression. I’ve consulted in many spaces with prominent tread plate, and the effect I’m left with is generally the same: a cold, unexciting, uninspired feeling. Simply put, it is almost always the wrong kind of memorable.

Another way people chase trends is by going out or their way to incorporate the year’s “hot colors.” In 2018, the Pantone Color Institute named vivid purple its “Color of the Year.” But does that mean you should rush to the paint store before all the purple is sold out? Before you do, take a minute to recall some other hot color trends and what became of them. Bright pink was the most popular color for bathroom fixtures in the Atomic Age, with millions of post-war households scrapping their Victorian fixtures for this ill-advised palette. And remember when Avocado-colored tile, toilets, and baths were all the rage in the 1960s and 1970s? By the 1980s those fixtures and colors were branded as outdated symbols of an ugly, bygone era.

So unless you’re planning on redoing your space on a yearly basis, you’re better off working with classic colors that will last when hot trends come and go. Bottom line, a classic style is one that can endure the test of time. This is why at VAULT® we strive to achieve a design aesthetic that is timeless and elegant – because good designs last forever.

2. A Great Garage Is Original

Avoid a cookie-cutter approach that will make your garage look like everyone else’s. It’s good practice to scan the Internet, books, and magazines to get inspiration for what others are doing, but don’t get caught up in trying to replicate something commonplace. That’s just boring. What makes a design successful is originality, when it incorporates elements that no one has seen in another garage. Being original and doing something that no one has done before are what make a garage stand out.

Case in point, sixteen years ago when I renovated my own garage, I envisioned a space that was highly functional, yet was not bland or boring. A space that would trigger a WOW, an emotional reaction so strong that clients would remember it.

My instincts were telling me that black elephant hide walls would make for a suitable backdrop for our Ferrari yellow cabinets, and that this combination would make my garage exciting. When I first started painting the blank walls to this dark black I thought I might have made a huge mistake. But I trusted my instincts. Once the cabinets went in there was this wonderful contrast of bright yellow against the dark background that just made everything in the space pop.

Going with a really bright and aggressive color choice like I did was a really bold decision.  As was the use of beadboard on the ceiling, base and crown molding, and the use of horizontal slatwalls on the walls, which were done to create visual intrigue.

Because no one had ever designed that style of garage before, it paid off in a big way. When people saw it, it evoked a response and resonated with them. It was unforgettable. As a result, I have one of the most published garages on the West Coast, featured on television and numerous print publications. By making my garage distinctive it stood out from the rest, and that made the garage instantly memorable. Sixteen years later, the staying power of my original design choices still evokes the same WOW response from my visitors.

In short, stand apart from the crowd and make your garage memorable. This might sound like a daunting task, but really it may be as simple as avoiding trends, following your instincts, and/or making a bold design choice. But remember, too, that it’s not just about bold choices, but the right bold choices. Be careful not to let them overwhelm the overall feel or look of the design. Timeless design aims for simplicity, beauty, and elegance, but also harmony – its aspects working together, not in opposition. That’s the blueprint for remaining relevant for years to come.

3. A Great Garage Reflects Its Owner’s Personality

Simply put, you want your friends and family to walk into your space and instantly feel like it is YOUR garage, an extension of what makes you unique and singular. It’s all about expressing your personality in a way that clicks with your guests, immediately. They simply get it. Not only are they wowed, but they identify the space as having your design fingerprint, and yours alone.

There are, of course, many ways to go about threading your personality into your space. You might, for example, incorporate themes of brands you’re interested in, such as a particular car manufacturer.

If you have a passion for, say, Harley Davidsons, then expressing that in a way that is subtle but dramatic can be very powerful. But subtlety is the key. If you love Harleys, black and orange will be a great color choice, and maybe some signage could also be incorporated. But if everything is Harley Davidson orange-and-black it could easily become a little bit overpowering, so much so that it’s really no longer yours – it becomes all about the brand, leaving little to no room for YOU in there. So you have to be careful and strike a good balance in order to incorporate a concept tastefully.

Or, your space might reflect the passion you have for a hobby, whether it’s biking, surfing, or fishing. The same rules apply for incorporating a brand, though. You want to make sure you’re featuring elements that convey that passion, but not in a way that’s overpowering. One example that comes to mind is a garage I designed for a client who is an avid deep-sea fisherman. His rods and reels were beautiful to look at, so we didn’t want to hide them behind cabinet doors. At the same time, we wanted to avoid a cluttered feel by piling them all up together. Ultimately, we took advantage of his tall garage ceilings and used rod holders – like you find on the stern of fishing boats – to feature the rods in a really compelling way that conveyed, to any visitor, his passion for fishing.

This concept, of course, could apply to featuring a bicycles, skateboards, surfboards, etc. Or perhaps you have a couple specific antiques or pieces of art or musical instruments that really reflect who you are. The key is to create focal points with these featured items that work in harmony with the rest of the space. Not dominating, not cluttering, but tying everything together in a way that truly defines this space as your own.

4. A Great Garage Maintains Architectural Harmony with the Rest of the Home

You don’t want to have a particular style of home and then go in a completely different direction in your garage – with color choices, with architectural details, with furnishings, etc. This is especially true if the garage is attached to the home. You want to be able to walk from your garage into your home, or vise versa, without feeling like you’ve entered a foreign space. In short, you want a seamless transition between these spaces.

You also want to avoid a style clash when the home is viewed from the street. If you’ve got a Victorian home but the garage is very modern, then it’s going to impact the overall harmony and cohesion of the structure when your garage doors are open. And, of course, the garage doors themselves might even be contributing to the clash when they’re closed. Maintaining architectural harmony with the home could involve something as simple as choosing a floor that has the same color palette as what you are using on your driveway, such as pavers, or maybe the stone on your home on the exterior facade of the home. Or it could be selecting colors for the walls that are similar to what you’re using inside.

Here’s a brief case study to illustrate. A few years ago, I had the privilege of working in a home in Littleton, Colorado, that had won National Home Builders Association Home of the Year. The problem was that the garage just didn’t fit with the rest of the home. In short, there was no harmony. The homeowner spoke of the exact issue I just described above: he said that when you walk from the kitchen entryway door into the garage it felt like a foreign space, like it didn’t belong there, like it wasn’t an extension of the home. This client wanted to treat the garage like another room of the home, not like a separate and disconnected space.

So we created this really warm environment of hand-stuccoed walls and false-beamed ceilings built with lovely, rustic wood from a renovated warehouse. We even replaced the garage doors, which were very expensive but just weren’t befitting of a home of this stature. This was a very elegant home, yet the garage doors were nothing special, almost like an afterthought. In contrast, the carriage-style garage doors that we replaced them with are amazingly beautiful, with mahogany wood and hand wrought iron hardware – very elegant garage doors that were custom-built to match the client’s design aesthetic while reflecting the style of the rest of the home.

The result of our efforts was a sea change from the original space: from cold to warm, from boring to exciting, from disconnect to harmony. When you walk into the garage today it’s welcoming and elegant and feels like it’s an extension of the home. It’s another room in the house, not some separate, foreign space for storing vehicles.

Contact VAULT® With All Your Garage Design Needs

When I’m working with a client on a garage design project, I don’t impose my design aesthetic upon that client. Quite the contrary, I work with each individual to unearth his or her passions, interests, and personal preferences and style. This includes everything from understanding the kinds of surfaces that intrigue them to zeroing in on their preferred color palettes to identifying the brands they admire. As a designer, I take everything into consideration in order to create something for a client that is special and truly unique.

For over a decade VAULT® has been designing America’s finest garages, combining layout, lighting, flooring, doors, and furnishings into custom-built spaces that leave our clients (and their neighbors) in awe. We’re experts at creating memorable garages that reflect your personality and the style of your home as a whole. In short, we’re experts at designing great garages.

Schedule your free garage design consultation today and take
the first step to a great garage.

Matching Garage Cabinets to Custom Garage Flooring

Our client in Southampton, New York, is thrilled with his custom garage remodel. We hand-selected the matte finish on his Professional Series garage cabinets to match the elegant porcelain floor tiles that were also a part of VAULT®‘s custom garage design.

The Cabinets: VAULT® Professional Series Metal Garage Cabinets

The client’s VAULT® Professional Series armoires, cabinets, and workchests were custom-built and to his exact specifications that includes a powder coat finish that is equally durable as it is beautiful.  Catering to the most discriminating of clients, our flagship line is instantly recognizable and distinctive in their impeccably styled, high performance design.  Eye-catching in their classy design and substantial in their construction, they’re unlike any other metal cabinet or tool chest you will encounter. 

The Pro Series is indeed a sexy, beautiful cabinet.  But it’s also incredibly strong and versatile, and a must for any active garage.  “The cabinets look AWESOME and are of great quality,” our client said. “Every bit as impressive as I thought they’d be.”

A signature design feature of the Pro Series cabinets are the exposed exterior frames.  With its indestructible 11-gauge vertical frame members and 16-gauge horizontal framing, no other metal cabinet in the world has a stronger foundation.  Weighing in at a whopping 300lbs apiece, these four-drawer toolchest cabinets are a fortress of strength that contributes to the Pro Series distinctive look. 

Those 36”-wide foot wide drawer’s (also available in a 4-foot wide configuration) offer a massive amount of storage capacity for the clients hand and power tool storage.  Riding on extreme-duty ball bearing slides our stainless steel drawers will easily accommodate an extreme amount of weight up to 225lbs without any noticeable fatigue in their operation, guaranteeing a lifetime of use without them ever coming out of alignment.

The double-walled doors on these armoire cabinets are welded and flanged for a solid construction.  Weighing in at a hefty 52lbs apiece, that they are solid in their construction and pre-hung to ensure they fit perfectly they close softly on European-style hinges and a shutting mechanism that keeps dirt and dust from getting inside.  Inside each cabinet are shelves of extreme-duty construction so that they are infallible and will last a lifetime of use without failing.  Our ingeniously simple shelf bracket will allow the client to place every shelf exactly where he needs it.

Available exclusively to clients that expect the very best, this made-to-order tool chest and storage cabinet system is legendary for the superb craftsmanship and styling that have distinguished VAULT® as the most prestigious custom metal cabinet you could own.  You will not find a classier, sexier, more beautifully crafted cabinet in the world.

All of our custom-built metal garage cabinets are handcrafted with pride in the United States of America at our Indianapolis factory, and powder-coated to meet our customers’ needs or match their space or personality.

The Flooring: Custom Garage Flooring by VAULT®

When it comes to garage flooring, nothing approaches the performance and value of porcelain. Porcelain tile has the sought-after appearance of marbles, granites, and other quarry stones, but its technical attributes are far superior to these materials. Porcelain tile is unmatched in features such as uniformity, shine, strength, low absorption, abrasion resistance, stain resistance, and ease of cleaning. Simply put, there is not a stronger or denser tiled surface, especially one that offers the stunning aesthetics of porcelain.

Porcelain is the garage flooring material of choice at VAULT®. We are the exclusive importer and distributer of the same best-in-class Italian porcelain tile installed at all Ferrari and Maserati showrooms throughout the world, the same porcelain tiles used by Mercedes, Porsche, Lamborghini, Audi, and Land Rover. Needless to say, this client was thrilled to claim the same kind of unmatched quality and luxury for his home garage.

VAULT® Custom Garage Design

To learn more About VAULT® garage cabinets, garage flooring, and garage design services contact us today at (310) 622-4477 to book your free design consult.

“Ten Years On, It’s All Just Perfect” – VAULT Cabinets Ace the Boathouse Test

We ship our VAULT® garage cabinets all over the world, where they’re subsequently installed in all kinds of challenging settings. You’ll find our tool chests and armoires and wall cabinets on Alaskan oil rigs, in garages in the arid Middle East, and storing scuba equipment in Turks and Caicos. These cabinets have taken the best of what these harsh environments have to dish out and keep on excelling year after year.

As such, we were delighted – but not necessarily surprised – to hear from a past client in Oregon whose VAULT® cabinets have out-performed expectations after a decade in an especially harsh setting. John McDonald’s contractor at MCM Construction in Lake Oswego turned him onto VAULT® cabinets ten years ago when John was remodeling his lakeside boathouse. Not only is this an inherently high-humidity environment, but according to John the cabinets also get quite a bit of collateral splash when he’s hosing down his boat or the boathouse walls. But despite these conditions, John says, ten years later the cabinets still look fresh-out-of-the-crate:

It’s been amazing how well they’ve held up. Honestly, they look brand new. There’s not a mark on them and they don’t rust. I mean, it’s just been incredible.

The Durability Formula: Unrivaled Design + Unrivaled Materials

The pressing question, then, is how do they survive so long and so well? The short part of the answer is that VAULT® cabinets are easy to clean, so you can use preemptive measures to ward off corrosion. When we spoke to John, he pointed out the ease with which he can wipe down the cabinets after they’ve been splashed. But ease of cleaning is only part of the reason our cabinets persevere and exceed the expectations consumers have built from
their disappointing experiences with other, inferior cabinet lines.

So here’s the longer part of the answer: VAULT® is the only made-in-the-USA manufacturer of garage cabinetry that only builds using Premium-Grade 304 stainless steel or Galvanized Steel, the highest quality materials available. But these are more than high-strength metals that are easy to clean and resistant to dents – they are also the best raw materials for resisting rust and corrosion. Therefore, they respond exceptionally well in high-humidity or corrosive environments, whether that’s a boathouse, a garage, an offshore rig or a surf shop.

The Choice of Industry Pros and Homeowners Alike

This is just one reason why John’s contractor and countless other architects, builders and designers love VAULT®, and why John and the other homeowners these pros confidently steer in our direction remain in awe years after initial installation. But we’ll let John tell you himself:

You can’t go wrong with these VAULT® cabinets. They’re just incredible, they’re beautiful, and they just last. They way they open, the hinges, everything… ten years on it’s all just perfect.

So there you have it. Whether you want to install VAULT® cabinets in a climate-controlled car museum or a lakeside boathouse open to the elements, the elegance, strength and durability of VAULT® cabinets will enhance your space and out-perform your expectations, and then some. From Alaska to the Caribbean, from Oregon to Dubai, VAULT® cabinets meet every challenge they’re presented with – day after day, year after year, decade after decade.

Contact VAULT® for All Your Garage Design Needs

At VAULT®, we work with industry pros and homeowners alike to custom-craft unique spaces with our unrivaled products and unsurpassed customer service. Schedule your free consultation today, and start outfitting a garage, barn, workshop or boathouse that will stand the test of time and astonish your neighbors all at once.

Garage Storage Concepts: Optimizing Your Garage Layout

At VAULT®, we specialize in helping our clients achieve an optimal garage layout. But what exactly does that mean? And what sort of planning and choices go into such an undertaking?

Optimizing a garage layout means selecting cabinet types that ensure the best possible return on investment while maximizing the available space. A successful optimization takes into account the unique character and shape of the space, and finds the best solutions for balancing a customer’s aesthetic preferences with the customer’s budget.

Here is a closer look some of the factors industry pros and homeowners alike should consider during the planning phase, as well as some helpful tips for achieving a winning garage layout.

Go With the Largest Cabinet Size Possible

Why? First, it’s more practical. Simply put, larger cabinet and drawer dimensions make it easier to find items. Instead of having to open up multiple drawers to fish around for a particular tool or fastener, you open up one drawer. As such, one trend that we’re seeing is very large-width drawers, three and four foot in width. This saves you both time and frustration. The same goes for wider cabinets, with wider doors and larger shelves. If you open up a single door to search a four-foot shelf, it’s a far easier task than opening several smaller doors in order to search several two-foot shelves.

Second, selecting larger cabinets is more budget-friendly. It’s always going to benefit a customer financially to choose a larger cabinet over multiple smaller cabinets to fit the same space. Two cabinets instead of one means twice the parts, twice the labor cost, twice the shipping cost, and twice the installation cost. It’s always going to be beneficial to try to optimize the cabinet layout by ordering the largest cabinet possible. 

Embrace the Value and Versatility of Armoires

Armoires reinforce our basic rule of thumb that bigger cabinets are better than smaller cabinets. Armoires are tall vertical storage cabinets, and they are incredible versatile and valuable. They are full-depth and 7 feet tall, but their value really comes into focus when you compare them to their most likely alternative. That would be combination of a full-depth base cabinet and a shallow depth wall cabinet (shallow so you don’t bang your head on it). Compared to the armoire, this combination would give you less depth, a useless void between the two cabinets, and the significantly higher cost of two units (plus the added wall cabinet installation cost).

The armoire, on the other hand, offers unmatched size, value, and flexibility. It’s great for stowing bulky items that are often very difficult to store, things like gardening equipment, sporting goods, children’s toys, Rubbermaid containers, boxes, buckets, paint cans, and even clothes. As such, the armoire’s value translates to a wide range of customers. It’s one cabinet that should absolutely be part every single layout. 24 percent of all the cabinets we build are armoires, and for very good reason – their value simply can’t be beat.

One quick tip if you (smartly) do choose to include armoires to your layout: segment them. Building what’s called a segment into armoires is going to allow you to better organize your contents and maximize the cabinets’ flexibility even further. For example, you could add segments in order to store skis on one side while placing shelves on the other for ski boots, helmet, and goggles. If you’re a motorcyclist or bicyclist, segments can allow you to more easily store riding equipment or clothing. With the versatility of an armoire, the possibilities are endless.

Avoid Corner Cabinets

At VAULT®, we do our best to steer clients away from corner cabinets because they have a very high cost and a very low return on investment. Corner cabinets do have visual merits, as they can allow you to span a countertop from one wall to another without obstruction. However, the lack of functionally is just too much to overcome. Consider a corner kitchen cabinet. Without a Lazy Susan installed, it has very limited practicality. It’s very difficult to reach the back of the cabinet, and the entrance door has to be very small, hindering accessibility even more.

A garage corner cabinet comes with the same drawbacks as a kitchen corner cabinet. You end up with a very deep cabinet, either three or four feet wide on both adjoining walls, and it’s full of dead or hard-to-access space. Instead of cabinets, we most often recommend installing TVs in garage corners. You can read our more in-depth article about garage television placement here.

Understand the Limitations of Wall Cabinets

We’ve already discussed how great armoires are and how impractical corner cabinets are. That said, if we were to rank cabinet types based on overall value and necessity, it would look like this: armoires, drawers, wall cabinets, corner cabinets.

After armoires, drawers come in second because they are a necessity for storing power tools and hand tools. Wall cabinets, on the other hand, are not a necessity. While there is a potential benefit of having wall cabinets over a work station – for storing things like aerosol cans, cleaning supplies, or car care equipment – there are also some significant limitations. Because a wall cabinet has to be recessed 12 inches from base cabinets (so you don’t bang your head on them), their shallow depth really does limit what can be stored in them.

While they might not be a necessity, wall cabinets certainly do look attractive if your budget allows for their inclusion in your layout. But the most import thing, as always, is to examine your space, budget, and needs and determine which combination of cabinets is going to be of most value to you. And the limited depth of wall cabinets, in our opinion, hurts their versatility and overall value. Therefore, at VAULT® we guide our clients to focus on the most important cabinets first: armoires and base cabinets. And if the client has the budget to include wall cabinets over a work surface, that’s certainly an option as an added feature to the base layout.

Opt for Doors and Drawers

The reason why a well-designed garage looks really organized is because everything’s behind a door or a drawer. When things are out in the open – on open shelving, on hooks, in baskets – the space as a whole will often look cluttered and disorganized as a result. Using a combination of armoires, base cabinets, and wall cabinets instead of open storage will allow you to stow items and present a more organized space, overall.

The other drawback of leaving items out in the open is that they will quickly collect dust and dirt, especially in a garage. So for these two reasons – organization and item upkeep – we generally steer clients away from open storage.  It’s the same thinking that goes into kitchen storage, where items out in the open – utensils, plates, baking pans – would collect dust while creating a “cluttered” feel. This is why you generally won’t find baskets of soccer balls or baseball bats or rakes or shovels in higher end garages. Those spaces tend to conceal such items out of plain view, creating a more organized and pleasant environment in the process.

Consider Your Countertops

Countertops may seem like an afterthought and mainly a function of the cabinet choices you’ve made. But it’s important to make conscious choices about countertop size and placement. Overall, we find that countertops that are 72 inches (6 feet) in width or smaller just don’t serve clients very well. One of the places you can possibly get away with a four-foot countertop is as a resting place before you’re entering the home, where you’re maybe setting groceries down. But that’s a rare exception, and in almost any other situation – especially in a workspace – six feet or larger is ideal. At VAULT®, we make countertops in any sizes up to as wide as 144 inches (12 feet) in length, which is a massive countertop.

Complete a Thorough Mental Inventory of Your Storage Needs

We encourage our clients to complete a thorough mental inventory of everything that will need to be stored in their cabinets, and then we help them fit those needs to the different cabinet types. Our goal at VAULT® is to guide customers to selecting the fewest number of cabinets that they absolutely need to meet their storage needs. Then, if after storing items and filling their cabinets they still find they have things out in the open – items still in boxes, a garage still in disarray – then they can always order more cabinets. So we really encourage clients to visualize their storage needs and layout beforehand, and we guide them through this as much as needed. Here’s an article and video we’ve put together about laying out cabinet placement with painters tape to help you understand your storage needs and the possible solutions.

Assess Your Need For Drawers (Which Cost More than Doors)

Once you complete your mental inventory and understand what needs to be stored, the next step is determining which cabinets your items will be stored in. At this phase, it’s important to grasp that different cabinets have a different cost. Cabinets with doors are going to be the least expensive cabinet to buy. By comparison, cabinets with drawers are more expensive, and it’s for a pretty obvious reason. Simply put, there are a lot more parts that go into making drawers, as a drawer body is inherently one of the most challenging cabinet parts to manufacture. That’s because a single drawer body includes two sides, a front, a back, the drawer handle, and two drawer slides. An eight-drawer cabinet, then, has 8 drawer bodies, which means 16 drawer slides, 8 drawer faces, 8 handles, and so on. And whenever you have a lot of parts you have a lot of costs and a lot of assembly time.

So this is another reason for clients to really put some time and thought into that mental inventory before selecting cabinets. It’s really crucial to understand what has to be stored in drawers (and what doesn’t) in order to minimize the number of drawers that will be specified for storage of things like socket sets, wrenches, screwdrivers, fasteners, etc. – anything that you’re going to put in a drawer. This includes power tools, too, and anything you’re that going to plug into an air hose, that is battery operated, or that is going to be plugged it into a wall socket. Those items will also typically be stored in drawers, not on shelves.

Bottom line, make mental inventories of things you’re going to store and ask, is this going to be placed on a shelf? Is it going to be placed over my head? Or is it going to be placed in a drawer below a countertop where I can quickly access it? Those questions will help you accurately assess your need for drawers, and will help you better keep on budget by avoiding drawers you don’t need.

Understand the Benefits of a Symmetrical Layout

At VAULT®, we’re often asked, What are the most common layouts used in a typical garage? The simple answer is, we try to place everything where it belongs. One simple fact is that most people are going to find it most convenient to work at the dead center of a work surface. And so it makes the most sense to flank the center of the work surface with drawers on the left and drawers on the right – that way, when someone is working at that countertop and they need to find a tool, they can open up a drawer without having to step aside to do so.

As such, many of the layouts we put together for clients are built with that kind of symmetry in mind. Symmetry makes sense from a convenience standpoint, but it is also a central factor in creating an aesthetically pleasing layout. We’ll also often place armoires at the ends of a layout to further enhance that symmetry. This creates a nice bookend effect where this substantial cabinet is anchoring the left and the right side of a layout, with base cabinets in between and wall cabinets above. Whenever you have that picture frame effect of left matching right, top matching bottom, that symmetry is really pleasing to the eye.

But this symmetry also places everything where it makes sense to place it. If you need car carry equipment or cleaning supplies you just reach above your head and they’re right where you need them. And aerosol cans and cleaning supplies and parking equipment fit perfectly in a wall cabinet, so having those overhead makes sense, as well. And farther off to either side, you’ve got bulkier items that you need less-frequent access to – Rubbermaid containers, paint cans, sporting goods, etc. – stowed in the armoires. So having bulky storage off to the left and right side of your work area, and then having drawers within this work area, simply makes the most sense.

Understand How Symmetry Can Affect Your Budget

An average cabinet layout in a garage is going to be anywhere from 15 to 20 feet in overall length. That’s a perfect width for the back wall of a garage, which is typically where most garage cabinetry is located. Extended layouts obviously mean you have more options in terms of mixing and matching cabinets. While total end-to-end symmetry is usually an option, breaking with symmetry can help you stay on budget – especially when you keep in mind that in many cases two smaller cabinets can swapped out for one larger one. Let’s look at an example of how we might approach a layout in order to balance budget and symmetry while maximizing value.

Let’s say a client comes to VAULT® and says, I want 10 feet of armoire storage. This client has perfect symmetry in mind, envisioning 24-inch and 36-inch cabinets on the left and matching 24-inch and 36-inch cabinets on the right. But the client is also concerned about budget. In this particular case, we’d suggest optimizing by replacing the pair of 24-inch cabinets in the center with one 48-inch cabinet. It’s a different look, but it has more value because the layout is composed of three cabinets instead of four.

But, of course, these are just two possible configurations out of many. Ultimately, clients have to ask themselves what they want to accomplish. Do they want to achieve total symmetry and the aesthetics that come with it? Or is their overarching goal functionality and getting the best return on investment? Or is it a certain degree of both? Whatever the answer, it should be weighed with all the other factors discussed above in order to plan out an optimized, customized, perfect garage.

Contact VAULT® for Your Free Garage Design Consultation

We hope these tips have helped set you up for success. An optimized garage takes thoughtful planning, and it also takes a seasoned eye – one that’s seen it all, as far as garage design is concerned. Luckily, VAULT® is here to help you or your clients craft the perfect garage.

For over a decade we’ve been designing America’s finest garages, combining layout, lighting, flooring, doors, and furnishings into custom-built spaces that leave our clients (and their neighbors) in awe.

Best of luck on all your current or future projects. If we can be of any help in your garage design endeavors, we’d love to hear from you at (310) 622-4477.