Garages are an unusual place. I think when man went into his first cave looking for shelter; he actually went into the first garage. Think about it. It’s dark, dirty, and if you make a mess-who cares. It’s a place to store stuff out of the weather and to keep it out of the reach of other cavemen. It’s a place to get away from the world’s woes. It’s a hiding place from the angry cavewife. It’s where you can just hang and do nothing. It’s a place where you can scratch, burp, pass gas, and belch the alphabet. All this in the sanctuary of the cave/garage…HEAVEN. My dad usually hung out in his cave after supper. He’d go out there and pour himself a nicecave welcoming drink from the vodka bottle hidden behind the water softener. Then, he would proceed to putz on some new idea. Whether it be his cruise control (He often terrified the family when the Chevy test laboratory would go on it’s own idea of a cruise) or the weedless fishing lure that eventually caught bass. I cherish the time we spent together in his cave building a go kart, or when he showed me how to deck the neighborhood bully and even when he broke ping pong paddles over my butt after setting the lawn chairs on fire while burning ants with a magnifying glass. The cave/garage is a place where you can create, invent, rebuild, restore, repent, and repair.

My Dad’s cave was a very cool place. He had his tools all arranged on the wall and could tell when I used them. Everything had its place. He had some old automobilia tacked on the walls mixed with some girly calendars. It was a clean place. Sometimes my folks danced the night away in the cave. I always wanted a neat cave like my dad’s-a kind of cool shrine to manhood and automobilia.

I finally got my own cave when we remodeled our home in Novato in 1986. It was very much like my dad’s cave only crammed with more cars and stuff. It had a lift in it, lots of models, and car advertisements on the wall. The neighborhood kids spent a lot of time hanging out or helping me clean Brutus (’57 Vette). But it was crowded and cramped and way too small. I yearned for better.

Life brought my wife Sue and I to Penn Valley. We found a great house that had two caves-an upper and a lower cave. Nice, but not the shrine I yearned for. Then I met Tom Frantz, my new neighbor. He is a partner in SHS-Sips Home Systems-a Grass Valley company the sells foam cored structural panels. He showed me a video on how the panels are made and are put up.

The panels are cost effective, extremely strong, and best of all, very insulated. I had just tried washing Brutus in 110 degree heat in a metal horse barn so Tom had my attention. After a few weeks of playing with paper and a scale, the Garagemahal was created. I went to Tom’s business partners, Joy and Ken Porter who sat down with me and worked out the details. Ken is a licensed contractor so now all the pieces were in place. My dream cave was to become a reality!

The metal barn went to its new home in May and as soon as the foundation got carried off, the forms were laid for the new Garagemahal.

On June 17th SHS had a house razing party. Contractors interested in this high tech building system came to get their education and certification to begin their own future with SIPS (Structurally Insulated Panel Systems). They started at 8 am. By 3 pm the walls were up and a new cave had been born. My cave. My Garagemahal!

If you are interested, have any questions, or wish to see, feel free to ask/call me, Dave (432-0396) or call SHS (477-9790).

Original article appeared in the 2007 Roamin Angels newsletter.