Randy Fowler says he has always been a habitual tinkerer, though his handiness with tools and machinery came from necessity in his childhood.
“I grew up on a farm in southern Iowa, and we went to town once a week,” he says. “If you couldn’t fix something yourself, it wasn’t going to get fixed at all.”
Fowler has worked on many substantial projects out of his garage during the years, including new side doors for his garage, creating a play area and tree house for his children and replacing the wooden sills of his garage door with treated wood beneath the concrete. He even spent an entire summer six years ago building a large red wooden shed in his backyard. Fowler modestly refers to the shed as just “a big box,” but the structure is nearly as large as the garage he partially built it in. While the shed was a time-consuming outdoor project, Fowler has also tackled many smaller home improvement tasks that have upgraded the efficiency and safety of his family’s house.
Because he lives in a ranch home, Fowler says his dryer’s air vent had trouble dispelling the air and heat. His solution: Rig up a pipe across the ceiling of his garage with a powerful booster fan to help pull the dryer air up and out of his home. He even attached a sensor to the vent to self-activate whenever clothes are being dried.
Fowler is currently working on replacing the metal plating in his home’s air ducts with planking and aluminum lining, which he says will help prevent dirt and air from being sucked through the floor into the air system. He’s also working on building a back patio for his house over a water-absorbing gravel pit, though he says that he might take his time with that task.
“I like to do projects that don’t need to be done right away,” he says. “I’m a pretty slow worker.”
In addition to home projects, Fowler likes to take care of basic maintenance and repairs to his family’s cars, changing the oil, improving the brakes and fixing the shocks. He says that he doesn’t much care what he’s doing as long as it keeps him occupied and productive.
“I just like ‘stay busy’ projects,” he says. “Of course, that means there’s usually too much junk and no room for the cars in the garage.”