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  • Writer's picture Lance Williams


The most unlikely trio has recently proven one of my favorite adages: "You can create just about anything out of a box".

The trio:

1) The "box".

In this case it was a dark, dank, musty old one car garage that's seen life as a car shelter, an au pair suite, and a dumping ground for any variety and number of tools collected by the owner over sixty years.

2) The owner: Dick Brumley, a former building inspector and do-it-yourself extraordinaire. When Amy and I moved in next door to him and his wife Mary over 25 years ago, Dick presented me with a set of keys to the "tool shed".

Never was a gift of keys more precious. A leaking faucet? Head to Dick's tool shed. A hammer? I had my choice of more than forty. Blow up a pool toy? The air compressor stood at the ready. Not that things were necessarily easy to find... thousands of nuts and bolts, hammers and screwdrivers, drills and bits, nails and pipes, saws and doo-dads weren't always in proper order. It didn't matter. Sifting through the bins and shelves, fighting off bugs and heat, I could usually find just what I was looking for. To quote Dick's son David: "Dad had one of everything, and two of most things".

We have since moved away, Dick has since passed away, but the tool shed lives on; albeit in a much more stylish incarnation.

3) The "transformer": Son David and his wife, Bobbie live on the other side of Dick and Mary's house, and David inherited his father's need for a project. It started with no place to put his fat daddy motorcycle and ended with a man cave that's an homage to David's dad.

In one momth David, Bobbie, and David's 82 year old mom, Mary, ripped the old garage apart, fending off dead rats and roaches, unholy stenches and discarded wrenches.

It is an astounding transformation. For just a scoche under $3,000.

"The Last Chance Garage" is an embracing womb away from the world. Just twenty steps from their house, it is David and Bobbie's place to "walk in the woods".

A wall fountain gurgles as you arrive at the French doors that open to the "cave". But, there's no roughing it in this hideaway, complete with vaulted beamed ceilings, track lighting, a mini fridge, and air conditioning. There is no telephone, no computer, and no t.v. You see, David likes to paint, they all like to read, and what's the point of a getaway if you bring the world with you?

The signs of Dick Brumley are everywhere. Using his dad's vast and eclectic tool collection, David ingeniously designed a pulley system and weights that automatically closes a barn-red door leading to another room; another door is a pop art wonder, adorned with Dick's old radial saw blades. Old faucets now do duty as a hatrack, Dick's old hardhat proudly takin center stage.

The old car shelter is now a sanctuary. Soft lighting, wood grain floors, an easel in the corner and a couch along the wall invite you to "cave" in, sit a spell, and shut out the rest of the world. Dick would've been proud! OH WHAT A LIFE!

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