Before & After: Garage - Teen retreat
This Old House Magazine|Fall 2021
Big kids want to be on their own—and parents like to know where they are. For one family, bonus garage space just steps from the house offers the perfect hangout solution
NINA MALKIN

Teenagers want to be with their friends, and parents want to keep them close —while giving them some independence, too. That was the case for the mom and dad who created this getaway space for their sons, 16 and 13, and, in turn, their 10-year-old daughter . Interior designer Kelly Mittleman had already helped them renovate their house, a 1919 Craftsman outside New York City. “But the kids were monopolizing the basement entertainment room playing video games,” says the father. “When their friends were over, it got loud.” The freestanding garage had a lot of unused space, however, so back came Mittleman to see what could be done with it.

“It was a land of misfit toys and old furnishings—basically a second attic,” says the designer. Her challenge: Turn it into a teen magnet for hanging out, watching TV, gaming, sleepovers, and homework. Taking away a 6-foot-wide slice of the parking bay allowed for a new walled-off entry with sports gear storage and a full bath downstairs. The upstairs space got opened up and given a clean, modern look with a sectional sofa and TV, a beverage fridge, a table and chairs, and hidden storage throughout. “Our kids love the space, and we like not worrying about where they are,” says the dad, admitting, “The house is a lot quieter now—we like that, too.”

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