You Can Turn Your Neglected Garage into a Party Pavilion. Here’s How to Do It
When a Pasadena couple wanted to transform an old garage into stylish place to host friends—and watch baseball games—designer Liza Reyes stepped up to the plate.
Liza Reyes loves to design a meticulously measured cabinet as much as she loves to watch a Dodgers game. So when a Pasadena family approached her with a most unusual challenge—asking for the Los Angeles-based interior designer’s help in turning a neglected garage into the ultimate baseball-watching-dinner-party-ready-hang-out-space—she was more than game.
“I’m a native Angeleno, and a huge Dodgers fan, so I understood,” says Reyes with a laugh. “The couple had different ideas about what they wanted. He wanted to have friends over to watch the game. She’s French and wanted it to be a little more chic. I was very keen on making it work.”
Just to add another layer of difficulty to the mix: They wanted it done fast.
“We didn’t have time to special order anything,” Reyes says. “So we ordered the Bertazonni induction range first, because they wanted the small space to be safe for their child, and we knew we didn’t want to use gas. We kept everything on a tight timeline.”
The new design opens on three sides, with bi-fold doors that lead to a fire pit and conversation area, and access to the pool and patio. Custom millwork cabinetry along one wall houses everything they need to cook and host dinner for a crowd, and a door to conceal a massive television for game day, and toys for their young son. A low, custom-made sofa (with pillows made from Christopher Farr fabric for Commune) mimics that Italian style, offering versatile seating from several angles.
“From one side, you can look out onto the pool. Sit on the other side to watch a game. It’s such a flexible concept and perfect for a room like this,” she says.
Limestone floor tiles, Wimbourne White by Farrow & Ball paint on the walls, and Clé subway tiles, are all creamy and soothing. But it’s the custom-blended pink paint on the built-in storage that makes the room glow. A custom metal light fixture by Angeleno Ramsey Conder is large enough to illuminate the room and made it possible to skip recessed lighting—which Reyes avoids whenever possible.
Reyes designed the wood handles for the built-in fridge and a table for eight, and found most of the furniture—including vintage dining chairs with a woven seat, two metal chaise lounges, and an accent chair—at vintage shops. The metal upholstered chairs by the firepit are Nickey Kehoe with Perennials ticking stripe fabric. And the umbrella is Serena & Lily. Reyes collaborated with landscape designer Kathleen Ferguson to re-build the pool deck and add planting areas.
“They had hired an architect who drew up full plans to make it a guest house, but they decided they didn’t need it,” Reyes says. “They just wanted a spot to have a bunch of people over for dinner on a summer night and watch the game. What I love about this space is that they really, really use it. They can cook and be together as a family. And have friends over. It’s the happiest of all moments when that happens.”