Garage Life Feeds Your Workshop Fantasy

Garage Life MagazineHow many guys might define their ideal home as a huge multi-bay garage with a small living area overhead or off to one side? Many years ago I ran into a website for a magazine called Garage Life that seems written for the Japanese motorhead with the same idea, it's all in Japanese and I couldn't find any way to subscribe. When Mule wrote about his very functional garage workshop a couple of years ago on The Kneeslider, he mentioned that magazine and how he often used it for ideas he could use in his own work space. In answer to a question in the comments, he explained he bought it through a local Japanese bookshop which, unfortunately, many of us don't have access to locally. Well, I just found a way to buy it and it's far easier than begging your friend flying to Japan on business to pick up a copy while he's there.

Zinio, a company I've mentioned before where you can purchase digital subscriptions to many of your favorite magazines, has just added Garage Life. It's a bit pricey, $18.12 per issue, and they only have 2 issues available so far, but you can buy it, and be reading it within minutes.

The magazine is all in Japanese, so unless you read the language, you're essentially buying a glossy picture book, but that's OK, because it's really in the universal language of workshop and garage photos most everyone here can understand.

Garage Life Magazine

Given the tight spaces you'll find most everywhere in Japan, the owners of these garages must be seriously committed to their cars and motorcycles since they're willing to turn over so much of their available space to their vehicles. The photos are pretty sweet and some of the garages are obviously owned by very successful individuals, based on the numerous Ferraris and Porsches and gorgeous wood surrounding them, but there's a cross section of much more basic layouts as well and, given the tight confines, there are some very ingenious solutions to making maximum use of space.

Garage Life Magazine

You may not need to buy every copy, but reading through one or two issues could give you some cool ideas for your own workshop and there's always the simple pleasure of looking inside some garages you wouldn't otherwise get to see. Neat magazine.

Link: Zinio
Link: Garage Life website

Garage Life Magazine


  1. Hewlett Hermit says

    Here in the USA there is hot rod car magazine called “Car Craft” that has a monthly feature called “This Guy’s Garage”. Not much detail, but I often get organization, and/or storage ideas. As an aside, these guys have some very cool cars. It’s worth a look.

  2. says

    I’ve been a subscriber to Garage Life for about ten years now. I just wish there was an American equivalent I could read. But for sure the pictures tell the story.

  3. B50 Jim says

    In most parts of Japan where the population lives — along the coasts; the rest is mountainous — you can’t walk 300 feet in any direction without running into a building, and Tokyo is the most crowded city on the planet. Given that kind of congestion and tight quarters, I’m highly impressed by these guys’ resourceful use of space. It shows serious dedication to your ride, to devote most of your living space to a set of wheels or two. Obviously these blokes aren’t married!

    But how many of us dream of more garage space? Q: How much is too much? A: There’s no such thing as “too much” garage space.

    • AlwaysOnTwo says

      Gotcha and u’r right. Heard of Hide, as in a three story Tokyo home/workshop that does the unimaginable? Check it out @

      Then note, the eifey does pin-striping and color design…mine does too, but I haven’t seen her for about 12 years and wonder about that pot of stew she left….

      Crap, the beams in my garage ceiling are straining under the weight of “soon to be used stuff” dating back to at least 1970. If it’s raining, I can’t work because rolling the chassis out the door in semi-states of finish would just cause more work removing the day-rust.

      But more to the point…this feature is from OZ, for the sake of us mere mortals, I can’t even get my driveway or bathroom this clean and/or organized. Geez, where do you get good help these days?? The beer cans from the guys and dolls chasing Easter eggs this past weekend left more mess!

  4. B50 Jim says

    If I had a barn it would be filled as well, probably with all kinds of projects I’d never get to. Good thing I have only an old 21-foot garage. I got rid of a ’66 Barracuda to make space for two daily vehicles plus two old BSAs. I can actually sweep the floor right to the walls, and I’m actually happier without any big projects that have stalled out for lack of time. That’s the conundrum of big projects — when you’re young you have the time and no money, and later when you have the money you don’t have the time. That’s why motorcycles are the best of both worlds — they can be inexpensive, and don’t take up much space. Even when you tear them down you can stow the bits so nobody trips over them.

  5. john says

    Don’t forget the basement under the garage, the overhead hoists on trolleys running on the lower flange of “I” beams, and one bay with a service pit under it.

  6. B50 Jim says

    I have a friend who built something like that — two big bays; one with a machine shop, an overhead I-beam for a hoist and living space over everything. His house is steps away but he rarely has to go there. Of course, he is single. Twice.

  7. Ryukyustriker says

    Well I was born and raised in Japan. Up until last April I was reassgined to Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona as a Department of Defense employee. I lived in Japan 31 of my 36 years. I got to tell you bookstores in Japan are awesome. This is one of the books I would browse through. They had some issues where the cars would be elivated to the second floor from the garage to the living room. Mens hobbies are called Romon which translates to pasion, and they say your passion knows no limits. There are sooo many magazines in Japan that everyone here would be gawking over. Too bad they’re only in Japan.

  8. dannyb says

    what about “Garage Style Magazine” thats available here in the states, and i find it at Barnes and Noble every once in awile

  9. johnny ro says

    very cool

    There is a garage project site I like- you all would like- Its US based and pretty decent.

  10. Paul Crowe - "The Kneeslider" says

    As several of you have pointed out, there are other magazines and websites focused on garages, most car magazines have garage features now and then and there are garage planning books of all sorts, too, but what I wanted to point out here was the availability of this specific magazine. Previously, it has been very hard to find in the US and it is pretty unique.

    Garage Style magazine, mentioned above by dannyb, is promising, but I bought a couple of issues in the past and was disappointed, though I have not read it in over a year so it may have improved since.

    The website Garage Journal, also mentioned above, has a forum where some excellent projects are detailed and is well worth the time to check out.

    • Bluegrass says

      Garage Journal is about the best US based resource I’ve found, most magazines however, leave me wanting. So many of the US based magazines depict garages as glorified display cases for the toys of aging boomers rather than as a storage and work space.

      British magazines, such as Classic Bike, usually have an article or two every issue on tools and garages.

  11. bbartcadia says

    I have a 600 square foot house with a 900 square foot fab shop under one roof. Most guys tell me I have my priorities right.

  12. Jim Kunselman says

    My neighbor Walt is completing (as I write this) a new shingle Craftsman shingle-style three-bay garage w/ a 500sq.ft. loft. Man, it is so beautiful that several of the neighborhood guys, myself included– have developed severe cases of garage envy. You can tell that by all the drool on the driveway apron. One bay even has a lift so that he can park a fourth car under his sports car. Geez, I’d move into the loft, if I had my way.

  13. AlwaysOnTwo says

    @Kneeslider after pondering just a tad, I took your last para as the most enlightening. Yep, sort of a wrench-head def of an upskirt shot. Even if you can’t have it, makes you want to think you can….

    Despite the over-burdened roof trusses in my own garage holding many treasures that are just waiting for an opportunity to serve the time-duty on the space taken for perhaps many years, I do have a very disciplined manner of housing machines awaiting care, tools, and parts for future projects. I’d like to share my system for all Kneeslider readers.

    When I find or recover even the most problematic part or bike “in parts”, AND, If there is a place, a corner, a tidbit of space or a nook unused, I stuff the aforesaid artifact into that space. If there is no space, then I kust jamb it deeper into the bin of dreams, for surely I will remember it when the need arises.

    Yep. Got a few 276 Amals needing refurb and and good donor bike, and someday a crazy bloke will walk into the shop and want a rad 2012 Trumpet build….and I’m waiting.

    No, as @Mule as said before, there is no limit, there is never ever enough. How the unending process is dealt with is the path of insanity, hording, or enthusiastic overindulgence. Color me drowning in all of the previous.

    In my prior life as a stockbroker, my secretary was ever vigilant in admonishing me about the clutter surrounding my desk. And never without admiring that never a trade was missed. Do I have to quote the old saw about a sick mind and a cluttered desk (garage)?

    I’m sane!!

    • AlwaysOnTwo says

      And BTW, ya might want to check the price of an average Tokyo flat, and the fact that most (90 percent, Google it) of Tokyo buyers pay for their purchase in cash. No mortgage. And the average price is about $20 grand/sq/ft!! DAMN!! Bought the whole 40 acres and horse trough for less than the asking price of a Tokyo living room!!

      So to augment the original stoooorrrry, if you can afford a Tokyo flat @ $20 grand per sq/ft and pay 90 percent cash up front…..I’m guessing you could afford an Otaku apprentice to keep things tidy for the photo shoot.

      And if you live in an environment that such extremes are the norm??? Well, hell, my garage is worth $10 million yen and counting….and I don’t bump my elbows when reaching for a wrench,,as long as the sun is shining!!

      Luv my mess!!

        • todd says

          San Francisco is anywhere from a low of $200-300 per square foot to a high of $6000 (or more). Of course, that’s not as bad as bits of New York that go for $15,000/sq-ft.

          Good thing, bikes are everywhere you look.


      • Ryukyustriker says

        I call bull. Where are you getting this false info. I was born in Japan and raised there up until last April. They do not pay in cash,They have mortgages and the average price of land is not $20 grand/sq/ft. The website mentioned below is the price for what they have for sale. It doesn’t mean everything cost that much. Tokyo is not all metropolis. It extends way beyond. You don’t want to live in the city either. It really never sleeps. It is true the pictures of the garages above are from people with alot of money. But alot of people rent out failed businesses and make a man cave out of it. There are alot of places where guys store their bikes in these places and meet up there to hang out and plan group rides.

  14. Hooligan says

    And if you also have a Marshall stack, (RIP Jim) in your garage you can make err Garage music.

  15. R6Power says

    That Maserati looks really amazing. Does anybody know the model?? It must have be a tough job to restore one of those and make it reliable.

  16. Carolynne says

    I don’t know what that green car is on page 12, but I love that. I could see myself behind that wheel.

    • says

      Maserati Ghibli, arguably the most beautiful GT design of all time.
      From the late 1960s.
      Designed by Giugiaro.

      Looking at it from any other angle is just as stunning, if not more so.
      There isn’t any bad view of that car.
      Definitely an all-time great one.

  17. says

    The beauty of having a garage is being able to set it up any way you want. You only have to please one person. And if the “Other” person wants to start storing junk out there, a deal must be made, or feet must be put down. The garage is the last stronghold for manhood in our society.

  18. Don says

    Sorry to be late to the party – the American equivelent to Garage Life may well be Garage Style Magazine ( They’re a quarterly publication, in fact they just got their latest issue out on the stands, but the next one will be in February.