fb-pixelWhat to do with unused space above the garage? They splurged on a Vegas-style lounge - The Boston Globe Skip to main content
Before & After

What to do with unused space above the garage? They splurged on a Vegas-style lounge

The room had sat unfinished for five years, until the Concord homeowners went all in on their love of entertaining.

Since the homeowners love to entertain, a grown-up space seemed like a fun splurge for above the garage. Robins even carved out a powder room at the base of the stairs so guests needn’t traipse through the house. A glitzy bar area beckons guests to help themselves and get comfortable.Joyelle West

The space over the garage of this Concord home sat unfinished for five years as interior designer Vivian Robins and her clients tossed around ideas for how it would best suit the family of four. Inspired by the conventions he attends in Las Vegas for work, the husband suggested turning it into a glam lounge where they could entertain friends. Although the entertaining has been put on hold during the pandemic, “this space has become an escape,” Robins says. The wife, who works with COVID patients as an intensive care nurse, unwinds there by taking virtual yoga classes.

Part of setting the right mood was getting the right color palette. Decorative painter Pauline Curtiss developed a dark, moody paint treatment that makes the large, multi-angled space feel intimate and cohesive while delivering a wow as guests ascend the stairs. Curtiss also applied a bronze metallic Venetian plaster to the ceiling that she compares to “a glowing, molten pool.”


The layout posed a challenge due to the stairwell in the center of the room. Robins reconciled the setup by assigning a distinct function to each of the three spaces. At the top of the stairwell, she set the tone with a plush, blue velvet chesterfield sofa nestled under the eaves. It’s perfect for tête-à-têtes or curling up solo.

On one side of the room, Robins created a cozy hangout with a gas fireplace faced with slabs of book-matched marble. “The family thought they wanted a pool table, but people don’t really wind up using them,” Robins says.

The other side is a bar area complete with a high-top table and four leather club chairs gathered around a faux-shagreen cocktail table. A crystal chandelier matches the sparkle of the bar’s glass tile backsplash, which brings together the silvery blue and metallic tones in the room.


“The space envelopes you and offers a sense of wonder,” Robins says. Before the pandemic, the family hosted a holiday party that went on until 3 a.m. “Nobody wanted to leave!”


Interior designer: Vivian Robins Design, vivianrobinsdesign.com

Decorative painter: Patina Designs, patina-designs.com

Builder: Bertola Custom Homes & Remodeling, bertolacustom.com


The empty space above the garage before the renovation project.From Vivian Robins Design
Pauline Curtiss of Patina Designs created a multilayered, patterned paint treatment for the slanted ceilings and walls that she says is “like sound dancing around the walls.” Robins upholstered the Schumacher sofa in performance velvet so even red wine spills aren’t a problem.Joyelle West
By the gas fireplace, clad in book-matched marble, a shaggy Surya rug is low-maintenance but still looks luxe.Joyelle West

Marni Elyse Katz is a contributing editor to the Globe Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @StyleCarrot. Send comments to magazine@globe.com.