P hil Shires wanted his cars and motorcycles close to home but knew his neighborhood home owners association and city zoning council would never allow him to build a 14-car garage on the lot next door. That's when his wife told him to build a house instead.

From the outside, Phil's dream garage looks like every other luxury home on the street. The inside does as well, but instead of furniture, your seating options range from classic vehicles of the 50s and 60s, to modern Mercedes-Benzes, Harleys and a BMW.

VEHICLES INSIDE:
'52 Allard J2X, '54 MG-TF, '56 Austin Healey, '57 AC Bristol, '57 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, '62 Corvette, and more Mercedes-Benzes, Harleys and a BMW.

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W hen Phil Shires sold his company he lost the warehouse where his car collection was stored. “I could have simply rented or bought another space,” Shires says, “but I wanted the cars close to my home so that I could enjoy them.”

It just so happened there was a vacant lot adjacent to his house, the only one left in his upscale Boulder, Colorado neighborhood. However, simply building a large garage was out of the question. “We have home owners association rules,” he says, “zoning restrictions, all sorts of things.”

Shires credits his wife with the solution to his problem. “It was Renée’s idea,” he says, laughing. “She said, ‘You don’t like the dirt from the lot blowing over to our house and you need a place to keep your cars. You should buy it and build a garage.’ When I told her that the city wouldn’t allow me to build a garage, she said, ‘Then, build a house.’”

In Boulder, to qualify as a house, a building has to have a kitchen and bathroom on the first floor. Shires spent some time looking at other garages and then hired Carl Whitten, the architect who designed his home, to draw up a set of plans. Shires next step was to canvass his neighbors to make sure they had no problems with his house/garage.

“One guy is an airline pilot,” Shires says, “He rides motorcycles and deals in small aircraft.

No problem there. Another owns a large Chevrolet dealership. Also, no problem. My other neighbor is in the high tech business and likes it much better than living next to a family with a bunch of kids. My son lives across the street and he likes cars as much as I do.”

He continues, “The home owners association sent out four separate letters looking for complaints, but everybody said, ‘it’s fine with us.’ I think they all trusted that I would landscape it like I did my house.”

Since the first floor and basement would have to support the weight of seven or eight cars, Whitten hired a civil engineer to design the structural steel. Forty-two cassions were sunk into the ground and the first floor is supported by eighteen inch steel beams and a metal pan. “There is extra rebar in the concrete in the basement,” Shries says, “The floors will support any cars I will ever own.”

Shires grew up in California. He attended Claremont Men’s College (now Claremont McKenna) and graduated with a degree in economics in 1963.

His first job was working for Sears Roebuck, “but," he says, “I couldn’t stand the psychic benefits of being a clerk.” He then spent two years helping with his father’s heating and air conditioning business.

When his father retired, Shire went to work for Wayne Manufacturing, a company that builds heavy equipment.

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The Garage Disguised as a House

The Garage Disguised as a House

How do you build a 14-car garage on an upscale street without upsetting your neighbors? Ask Phil Shires.

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