The challenge: Transform an unused one-car garage into a game room for the family’s two teenagers, a boy and a girl. The parents wanted a hangout where the teens could spend time by themselves and with their friends. In other words, a place they could watch movies, play music and games—and make the usual teenage noise.
The youths were more specific. Their wish list: Room for a disco ball, a foosball table, a drum set, a large TV set with surround sound, hangout space with an Archie comic book theme.
All of this was pretty easy to accommodate with the exception of the television. The garage came with a cement floor, concrete half-wall, no heat, and minimal lighting, but did have a storage loft.
THE ‘AHA’ MOMENT!
The storage loft becomes the hangout space with the TV up high enough to keep away from any flying foosballs, drumsticks or other teenage folderol. The problem, though: How to get to the loft, and still see the TV across the room?
I created a pass-through in the floor of the loft and called in my friend Kevin Hall, owner of Metalbox Industrial Designs to build me a custom ladder up the wall and into the loft.
Next, what kind of loft railing is safe for teenagers but see-through so they can view the TV that was to be mounted across the room above the French doors? A glass railing would work perfectly: three-eighths-inch safety glass, one large panel in the center and two smaller side panels would be perfect. Pre-fab deck railings didn’t have the look I was going for, so Hall built me the perfect stanchions to support the heavy glass.
The loft was outfitted with red and white carpet tiles from Flor. This way if there was a spill that couldn’t be cleaned, the homeowners could just replace a square. Also, because the ceiling was low, we got four oversized fur bean bags in lieu of a sofa or chairs.
Another challenge that arose was a window at floor height in the loft. We needed a safety net. Back to Hall I went. I gave him a drawing and he fabricated metal bars that opened (for an emer-gency) in a fun Jughead design! Loft complete.
In the main area, I stained the concrete floor in dark brown with a little black thrown in to give it some interest and shine, covered the concrete half-wall with corrugated metal, and finished it off with a dark rustic stained wood bar top that could be used for holding drinks, food, and more. The foosball table takes center stage in the main floor area with the drum set tucked away nicely under the loft.
I painted the walls a bright royal blue reminiscent of the “Archie” era, and the ceiling dark gray. When I hung the disco ball and light in the corner, the wall color became the perfect backdrop to the swirling lights. At some point the previous owners had replaced the garage door with French doors. Not much needed there except to have them etched to add some privacy. Lastly, vintage Archie comic art was added to the walls.
All that was left was the heating issue. I called in Jeff Caldwell with Heating Green to install radiant heaters up high and out of the way. The garage didn’t need cooling, just heat in the winter, and this was the perfect solution. It is low-cost to run and easy to install into almost any space and works especially well with high ceilings.
I tried to keep the kids out as much as possible so they could have a “wow” moment when they first saw it. It worked!
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