Style Watch

Turning space above the garage into a fun place to entertain

A once underused space becomes a favorite room for a family of five in Andover.

Free Bird Photography

What to do when you live in an older house with small rooms but love to entertain? Gina Baran’s clients, a young family of five in Andover, looked to underused space: a cluttered rec room above the garage. “They wanted a multifunctional space where they could entertain adults, but also watch movies and play games with the kids,” says the Newbury-based designer. Baran laid new oak floorboards and lined the ceiling with natural wood planks. The starting point for this side of the room — there’s also a pool table and a seating area with a drop-down projection screen — was the new tiled bar. “The wife wanted a bold tile, and loves geometrics,” Baran says. Operation Party Central is already a success. “They threw a huge bash for her 40th birthday up there,” Baran says. “We got it done just in time.”

1 Baran repainted the existing oak sink cabinetry in Benjamin Moore Hale Navy. The dark color helps the area to recede, letting the bar be the star of the show.


2 The two-orb sconce sheds light in the back corner and directs the eye up the low sloped ceiling. The matte black finish ties to the gooseneck faucet by Moen. White ceramic subway tile provides a bright, practical backdrop, plus some texture and shine.

3 Oversize glass pendants with a textural metallic finish draw attention up to the cathedral ceiling, which Baran lined with wood. “If the tile was the only eye-catcher, the area would feel too short,” she says.

4 Custom oak shelves incorporate a natural element while the hardware brings matte black metal to the foreground, at the same height as the sconce.

5 The Pick-Up Sticks wallpaper by York Wallcoverings is a nod to the client’s love of herringbone. “We considered herringbone floors, but it would have been too busy,” Baran says. “The paper doesn’t compete with the blue tile, and the warm wood pops against it.”


6 The bar, which is faced with handmade encaustic cement hexagon tiles, is the focal point on this side of the room. The quartz countertops are a soft white with tonal veining.

7 Iron bar stools by Safavieh have navy hairpin legs and gold-leaf seats. “The first ones the client picked were all silver or gold, which felt like too much,” Baran says. “These honor her request and stand out just enough.”

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