This Epic, 17-Car Garage in Austin Tips its Hat to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

This Epic, 17-Car Garage in Austin Tips its Hat to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”

By Kathryn M.
Minimalist with an ’80s attitude, this two-story garage and lounge is the ultimate showcase for the owner’s vintage car collection.

A sprawling, steel-and-glass garage in Austin, Texas, is the result of a two-year collaboration involving a trio of local firms—Shiflet Group Architects, Mark Ashby Design, and Dalgleish Construction. The multi-level structure, sited within a grove of trees, merges engineering smarts with ’80s design. Case in point: the neon-studded basement, where a rare, candy-red 1980 BMW M1 appears to effortlessly hang along the wall.

Perhaps the structure’s most impressive feature is a wall-mounted BMW M1 hanging in the basement—a carefully completed job that securely bolted the engineless sports car to the wall. A custom lift carries vehicles between the structure's three levels.

The subterranean level also speaks to the spirit of the design aesthetic, with handsome wood tones and industrial finishes to complement the homeowner's showcase collection of vintage cars. Here, a small study sits alongside a neon-lit Porsche roadster.

The homeowner's own affinity for ’80s design played a large role in defining the interior aesthetic. "The goal here was to tip our hats to the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and luxuriate in that theme," says Michele Lorenz, creative director at Mark Ashby Design. "For example, we used an Andy Warhol–printed wallpaper in the bathroom and covered the iconic Le Corbusier sofa and lounge chairs in a Porsche red leather."

A Le Corbusier sofa and lounge chairs complete a seating area on the upper level. Floor-to-ceiling glass wraps around the space, providing views out over the treetops.

Another lounge area is located in the sound-proof basement, providing a spot to enjoy the custom stereo system. "The rug truly captures the ’80s love of geometric shapes," says Lorenz.

Structurally, the 8,300-square-foot garage presented a daunting challenge, considering the need to carve out a basement within the solid limestone bedrock. David Dalgleish, founder of Dalgleish Construction Company, recalled digging 18 feet into the ground while preserving the existing trees on the lot.

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A 65-foot sliding glass door spans the front facade, opening the main level to the outdoors. Hanging along the back wall, a custom neon sign created by Ion Art displays one of the homeowner's favorite quotes: "Live for the journey, not the destination."

The exclusive use of wood, concrete, and steel provides material continuity throughout each level. Wood panelling adds an elegant canvas for memorabilia and contrasts with concrete block walls. 

Stairs lead up to the second floor. The project's minimalist materials highlight the collaboration between architect, designer and builder—achieving a look that also represents the client’s keen sense of modern minimalism.

Another look at the lounge area upstairs. Sheer curtains capture a delicate, stencil-like shadow from the many trees surrounding the structure.

A balcony wraps around the upper level, providing a look down onto the main parking area below. The two floors were designed to hold up to 17 cars total.

In keeping with the ’80s theme, Lorenz selected an Andy Warhol wallpaper for the bathroom. Glossy black cabinetry and counters complement an edge design in the wood-clad walls.

Sited on a four-acre property atop a beautiful, secluded cove in Austin, this dream garage is show-worthy inside and out.

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