Owner and Lead Designer of Bay Area-based interior design studio iSPY Home Design, Catherine Hooper, had her work cut out for her. Her client had approached her with grand ideas for their 562-square-foot unfinished basement garage to be turned into an accessory dwelling unit (ADU).
At the time, the basement garage was only being used for storage, but the client wanted it transformed into a beautiful, bright, and colorful unit that would be fun for her children and grandchildren but chic’ enough for guests to enjoy when they came to stay.
Their vision was simple: vibrant and whimsical. But could Catherine pull it off? Going by the incredible transformation, you can view in the following photos, she certainly did.
However, this conversion was not without its challenges. According to Catherine, framing the garage and getting all the necessary permits took a long time due to all the ‘funky’ retaining walls and oddly shaped rooms.
While Catherine’s contractor was hard at work creating the canvas for them, Catherine started sourcing all the necessary materials and furnishings. Fortunately, this process proved easier than expected since her client had furniture tucked away in storage, including light fixtures, rugs, kitchen supplies, and artwork.
It was finally finished after two long years, with help from contractors and Pro Carpentry Solutions, who created the closet spaces and open shelving.
The living space in this garage conversation certainly fulfills the client’s brief of colorful and vibrant while being chic at the same time. The client already owned the light blue chaise sofa and footstool from Room and Board.
The side table adds that much-needed burst of color while complementing the calming blue hues. The light wood flooring also lets the furniture do all the talking by not being too overpowering in its depth or texture.
It’s hard to believe the finished garage was once nothing more than an unfinished basement garage for storage. The iSPY Home Design team had to dig deep to pull this off.
Many of the furniture pieces in the main living area come from the client’s storage unit. They had previously been in their husband’s former home. These include the light fixtures, kitchen supplies, and rugs. These pieces look bold and vibrant against the stark white walls. The natural-looking support beams also tie the look together beautifully.
The handmade Carbon Chaine Homme tile from Fireclay Tile is undoubtedly the standout feature in the living space. It encompasses the cast iron Jotul stove and looks like a piece of art while being a functional safety measure. The client already owned the metal birds, and they tie in with the dark tile coloring beautifully.
Not needing to buy furniture for this garage conversion meant that the iSPY Home Design team could splurge on some special pieces. One such special piece was the stunning handmade ’Daffodil’ tile from Fireclay Tile. It adds so much freshness to the kitchen and works well with the gorgeous pre-fab cabinets from BOXI by Semihandmade. Catherine was onto a winner when she paired those cabinets with the black quartz slab from ABBA Stone. The color palette is dramatic but harmonious.
Storage space is limited in this garage conversion, but Catherine made the most of it by installing a rail across the window. With no view to worry about, it’s the perfect place to store pots and pans. The window sill is the ideal width for a lid organizer.
Custom Closet Systems and Built-in Shelves
With the garage being one big open space, iSPY Home Design had to get creative with how they would create separation. They enlisted the help of Pro Carpentry Solutions, who created the custom closet systems and built-in shelves. The white color scheme adds freshness to the space, while their location between the bedroom nook, bathroom, and living area cleverly separates all three areas.
With red features in both the kitchen and living area, it made sense to include more in the bedroom to tie all three areas together. The red bedspread makes the area ’pop’ and also works well with the throw pillow and artwork. Both the bench and bed are from Room & Board, while the bedding comes courtesy of Schoolhouse.
Green and blue are Catherine’s client’s favorite colors. So, it made sense to include these in the bathroom. Catherine chose gorgeous handmade ‘Spruce’ tiles from Fireclay Tile for the shower and paired them with Astor wallpaper from Milton & King. These green features worked well with the navy Pottery Barn vanity and blue-tones in the Carrera marble floor tiles from Bedrosians Tile & Stone. The entire look is tied together with stunning blue sconces from Schoolhouse.
A furnace and water heater are staples in any garage basement. Still, they aren’t exactly the easiest elements to include in a freshly renovated unit! Fortunately, Catherine and her chosen carpenter had great success. The carpenter built a cupboard, and Catherine came up with the idea of wallpapering it. Now, it just looks like part of the wall.