A California Garage Transforms and Opens Up to a Stunning Pool

In the California wine country, a new living space bridges the gap between a pool and a courtyard

Betsy and John Kane-Hartnett’s existing two-garage wasn’t in an ideal spot. The structure sat between a pool and bocce ball area on one side and a courtyard and vineyard on the other, breaking up the outdoor spaces in such a way that the couple found themselves hardly using either.

To remedy this, the couple decided to build a new, separate three-car garage to store their cars and wine stock (they own 2880 Wines in Calistoga, California), and they set about turning the old garage into a new living room with large openings on each side to better connect with their cherished outdoor lifestyle.


Calistoga 1: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz


Living Room at a Glance

Location: Calistoga, California

Who lives here: Betsy and John Kane-Hartnett, owners of 2880 Wines

Size: 400 square feet (37 square meters)


BEFORE: Even for garage standards, the existing space was underwhelming. “The challenge was how to make the space not look like a former garage,” says architect Jarrod Denton of Signum Architecture.


Calistoga 2Maquette Interior Design, original photo on Houzz


AFTER: Denton raised the foundation to make the structure level with the main home and vaulted the ceiling to create more of a grand space. “After that, it started to take on something more permanent looking,” he says.

He then opened the structure to the poolside with large sliding glass doors, and the other side to the courtyard with French doors to create a more connected living space.

Related: Stylish and Clean Table Lamps to Brighten Up Any Space


Calistoga 3Maquette Interior Design, original photo on Houzz


During a meeting, Betsy told interior designers Donna McDonald and Anita Ettinger of Maquette Interior Design that she wanted lots of gray, purple and red in the space. McDonald noticed these were the exact colors Betsy was wearing. “She had on purple glasses and a gray outfit with red accents,” McDonald says. “It happens more often than not.”

A large purple rug became the eyewear for the living room, the sectional the outfit and the large feature wall the red accent.

“Betsy immediately went for this red wallpaper, and that’s a pretty daring choice,” McDonald says.

A large chandelier of copper and blown glass with hints of purple in it became the jewelry to finish the space out.

Reclaimed white oak wood box beams conceal electrical wires. Distressed California oak floors match what’s found throughout the rest of the home.

Sofa: A. Rudin in Plushy gray indoor-outdoor fabric by Perennials; wallpaper: Maya Romanoff, stitched horizontal hand-painted paper in lacquered rust, installed by Marc Vallat Decorating; side table: Roy table, Made Goods; chandelier: Gear chandelier, McEwen Lighting; rug: handmade Nepalese woolen carpet, Decorative Tibetan Rugs


Calistoga 4: Before Photo, original photo on Houzz


BEFORE: This image shows how the existing garage blocked easy access to the pool from the main home, which is located on the other side of the garage.


Calistoga 5Maquette Interior Design, original photo on Houzz


AFTER: The sliding glass doors now connect the new living space to a charred wood deck and fire feature.

Fire feature: Concreteworks (Oakland, California); deck: Thermory


Calistoga 6Maquette Interior Design, original photo on Houzz


McDonald incorporated indoor-outdoor fabric so the homeowners and their guests wouldn’t think twice about putting their feet up or drinking the Kane-Hartnetts’ red wine blend on the sofa. “They wanted it to be all about comfort,” McDonald says.

Drapery: Vervain from Fabricut, made by Dawson Custom Workroom; ottoman: custom by Doyle Buddington, covered in Holly Hunt Narcissus Borgogna leather; throw: Zinc Textile faux fur and Osborne & Little Appia velvet, made by Dawson Custom Workroom; swivel chair: A. Rudin in Swanky indoor-outdoor fabric by Perennials, with lumbar pillow in Raoul Textiles Lamak fabric


Calistoga 7Maquette Interior Design, original photo on Houzz


The tree is a 65-year-old Monterey pine that gets switched out every two months from Decorative Plant Service in San Francisco.

A long and lean custom TV cabinet helps balance the height of the ceilings. McDonald had originally specified a zinc-clad cabinet, but after seeing the price tag she found a wood finish that’s comparable to the look of zinc.

Planter: Luna, Sutherland; media cabinet: custom by Sellars Furniture, finished in faux zinc-clad gunmetal-gray by Ciarlo Brothers


Calistoga 8Maquette Interior Design, original photo on Houzz


A seating area behind the sofa serves as a prime board games spot when the family and guests need a break from the sunshine.

Related: Game Tables for the Whole Family


Not bad for a room that once housed a car and some trash cans. “It was just an ugly garage,” McDonald says.

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