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 December 3, 1999

Broker’s garage no doghouse, guests say

Bill West may not yet be the Martha Stewart of the American Garage.

But The Eye picks him to be.

While West, a broker at The Group Inc. Real Estate, has not turned his new book, “The Garagenous Zone,” into a runaway best-seller, it is attracting global attention.

It is a celebration of the garage — the birthplace of Apple Computer and Hewlett-Packard, and of Buddy Holly, and of the Ford Motor Co., the place West calls “the incubator of American industry.”

Two nationally syndicated radio programs — as well as one in Johannesburg, South Africa — have asked West to share his secrets of “plastic surgery” for the garage. Australian television wants him next. And Better Homes and Gardens plans a feature story in the spring.

West’s quest to make the best of the least-appreciated room in anyone’s home started as one might expect — with a mission to clean the garage in August 1998. That done, he fashioned a work bench. Then he got, well, carried away.

“I told my wife that the garage was going to be a place where we could serve Sunday brunch,” West said. “‘Yeah, right,’ she told me.

But the overflow crowd at the Wests’ New Years Eve party last year found the revamped garage their home’s No. 1 attraction.

Want a tour? West just recently invested $4,000 in putting together a Web site that offers a click-and-drag virtual trip through his garage, and a great look at the reconstructive surgery that made it over.

“Think of it as ‘lift-and-tuck,'” West said. “You want to lift things off the floor and tuck them away.”

West is quick with other sound bites that describe his garage philosophy.

His motivation in writing the book was “to offer an alternative to the ‘landfill mentality’ of the American garage,” West said. “When we have something in the house that we don’t want or don’t know what to do with, it gets tossed into the garage.”

The first step in getting your garage on the way to respectability is covered by a West motto: “When in doubt, throw it out.”

West’s venture is, for the moment, entirely self-supported. While he has not yet attracted a publisher for his book, that didn’t stop him from ordering another printing of 1,000 copies after the first run sold out.

“The Garagenous Zone” is available at a couple of The Eye’s favorite bookstores, the Stone Lion in Fort Collins and The Tattered Cover in Denver, and online at West’s Web site, garagenouszone.com.

Bill West may not yet be the Martha Stewart of the American Garage.

But The Eye picks him to be.

While West, a broker at The Group Inc. Real Estate, has not turned his new book, “The Garagenous Zone,” into a runaway best-seller, it is attracting global attention.

It is a celebration of the garage — the birthplace of Apple Computer and Hewlett-Packard, and of Buddy Holly, and of the Ford Motor Co., the place West calls “the incubator of American industry.”

Two nationally syndicated radio programs — as well as one in Johannesburg, South Africa — have asked West to share his secrets…

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