During a time when so many of us are at home it can be challenging to continue the day-to-day activities that keep us happy, motivated and connected, let alone find ways to observe special moments that are usually marked by celebratory gatherings with family and friends. In spite of the obstacles, people persist in finding meaningful ways to come together and to pursue their passions while at home by making the most of the extra spaces available to them, like the garage.
For the most creative, the garage has served as a workshop crafting supplies for essential workers, a gym (both of the personal and Olympic variety), a makeshift studio from which entertainers can broadcast and perform, and even an improvised wedding venue.
Here are six of our favorite examples of the extraordinary ways that people are using their garages to enrich their lives and stay connected to others while at home:
1. Giving Back to Healthcare Workers: Several people with a talent for making plastic face shields and sewing masks have been using their garages as makeshift workshops to create these much-needed items for healthcare workers. After learning of a protective gear shortage from his mother who is a medical assistant, college student, Justin Levine, used his family’s home garage workshop and 3-D printer to start making full face shields to donate to Bay Area hospitals. Kyra Poulos has transformed her craft table in the garage and passion for sewing into a face mask business for anyone in need of them, including healthcare workers who get them for free.
2. A Haven for Healthcare Workers Protecting Their Families: Healthcare professionals serving on the frontlines are taking extraordinary steps to protect their families. Some doctors have made the selfless choice to sleep in their garages in order to keep their loved ones healthy. Pulmonary and critical care specialist, Dr. Timmy Cheng of Irvine, California chose to move into his garage and camp out in a tent in order to keep his wife, toddler, and parents safe. While Dr. Cheng’s temporary sleeping space in the garage ensures he is still able to see his family from a distance, he urges others to stay home if they can so that he and all healthcare workers can safely be with their families someday soon.
3. The Home Gym You Didn’t Know You Had: For both professional athletes and those of us that are just trying to stick to our personal fitness routines, the garage has become an unexpected haven for workouts, as well as an opportunity to destress through physical activity. Top NFL pick, Cesar Ruis, who was selected by the New Orleans Saints for the 2020 NFL draft on April 23d, relied on his garage as a workout space to maintain his physique while at home in New Jersey awaiting the draft results. Although many professional athletes are transforming their garages into gyms out of necessity, some are even offering pointers or sharing their workouts with fans in need of inspiration. Milwaukee Brewers pitcher, Brandon Woodruff was recently featured in a video shot from his garage-turned-gym sharing several at-home workout ideas, including gorilla crawls, fire hydrants, plank walk-outs, bunny hops and squats using his dog.
4. Virtual Concerts and Entertainment: Musicians and entertainers haven’t let concert and show cancellations keep them from bringing much needed joy and distraction to their fans. Following tour cancellations country music artists Luke Combs and Jake Owen both used social media to treat fans to free impromptu concerts broadcasting directly from their garages. James Corden, the host of The Late Late Show on CBS is ensuring his show stays on the air by filming it from his garage, with guests joining him virtually. This comes after Corden’s success hosting Homefest, from his garage. The primetime special featured performances from Billie Eilish, John Legend, Will Ferrell and a host of other stars.
5. A Classic 21st Birthday Celebration Courtesy of a Garage-Turned Bar: In a now viral TikTok video, Carolyn and Anthony Torchia made sure that their son, Jack, didn’t miss out on the traditional 21st birthday experience. Quarantined at home with his parents and sister, the New Jersey college student was expecting his birthday to be pretty dull, but unbeknownst to Jack his family was hard at work transforming their garage into a nightclub aptly named Club Quarantine. Jack’s dad served as the bouncer at the detached-garage-turned bar asking for his son’s driver’s license at the door. His mom played the role of bartender welcoming him to the club and pouring him a celebratory 21st birthday shot.
6. A Makeshift Wedding Venue: Despite the fact that many engaged couples have had to postpone plans for their big day, some determined brides and grooms are finding ways to tie the knot, and a few are choosing to use their garage as a venue as it allows family and friends to view the ceremony at a safe distance from the car or on the street. Kelly Donahue, a nurse, and Andrew Scheurlein, a police officer, were married in their driveway in North Merrick, NY on April 5th. Andrew’s father, Richard, officiated from the front of the couple’s garage while fifty cars carrying the newlywed couple’s family and friends participated in the drive-by wedding ceremony. In a similar ceremony, Katelyn Weedon and Richard Webster wed in their garage in Chesterfield County, Virginia on April 20th, with their ten-year-old daughter serving as maid-of-honor. The reception is on hold until stay-at-home restrictions are lifted, but the mother-of-the bride promises a huge, festive and well deserved occasion.