Garage Renovation: Art and Science at Grandma’s House

Janelle Garchie was cooking her two granddaughters a snack while they played with paint at the kitchen table, when one of the kids decided to see what would happen if she flung green paint into the air. Apart from a lesson in gravity and splatter physics, Garchie and the kids, whom Garchie watches while their parents work, learned that green paint does not come off so easily from expensive new blinds. “That’s when I knew it was time to move the art activities somewhere else,” she says.

So she turned her three-car garage into a bright and colourful art and science room, where the girls could make a mess with glitter, clay, glue and erupting volcanoes. Garchie, a retired lawyer, now teaches lessons in everything from nutrition to mathematics. “I knew I just couldn’t sit here and let them come over and turn on the TV,” she says. “If I’m going to retire for this, I had to be true to these kids, and I wanted to try and make this a fun place that’s worth my time and theirs.”

After setting up a music room, classroom and playroom inside the house, Garchie set up the new art and science room. In a world that’s beginning to focus heavily on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, Garchie wanted her grandkids to have a positive experience with the subject matter. “I wanted the memory of all the fun they were having with glitter or glue or whatever to be connected to science,” Garchie says.

The space has a skeleton for anatomy lessons, every kind of science experiment kit you can imagine, easels for art, drawers stuffed with paint and art supplies, tablets for maths lessons – and the painted white floor is sealed with an epoxy so Garchie can hose off clay, paint, glitter and more at the end of the day. The green paint still remains on those kitchen blinds, which is OK with and it reminds her of her grandkids. “The green paint splatter makes me smile now,” she says.






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