Garage Attic Conversion into Teen Hangouts

An unused garage attic was the perfect opportunity for these Pelham, New York, homeowners to create a space where their three teenage sons could hang out with friends, practice music, do homework and store their sports gear. Designer Kelly Mittleman was brought in to transform the attic into a bright space with shiplap-covered walls and fun art selected by the boys, and to add a sleek, industrial bathroom that they can use when coming back from practices and games.
Photos by Tim Lenz
Garage Hangout at a Glance
Who uses it: Three teenage brothers
Location: Pelham, New York
Size: 880 square feet (82 square meters)
Designer: Kelly Mittleman of Kelly and Co. Design

The first floor of the garage can be entered through a front door that leads directly to a staircase, or through a sliding barn door that separates the entry from the parking area. Mittleman covered the floor in this area with durable slate tiles. “The weather can get pretty rainy and snowy in the winter, so it’s nice to have a floor that can hold up to the elements,” she says.

The walls and one side of the staircase are covered in white shiplap that adds a bright, modern touch. The painting of the dog on the wall and all of the artwork upstairs were selected with the input of the three brothers.

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Mittleman chose a dark iron railing for the staircase to continue the fresh, modern look. “The main house is more on the traditional side, but since this space is used by three teenage boys, it made sense to make it more youthful and contemporary,” she says.

The white shiplap is continued from the downstairs entry, but the designer decided against covering every wall with it. “I left the sloping walls uncovered, because I didn’t want the space to feel too oppressive and heavy,” Mittleman says. The bottom of the wall behind the large blue velvet sectional includes custom storage that the boys use to conceal their sports equipment.

The designer created a built-in window seat to the left of the TV; it’s a bright perch for practicing the guitar — an instrument that all three brothers play. The window seat bench can be lifted up to reveal storage that the boys use for board games and blankets.
The dining area at the back of the space is used for doing homework, playing board games and having drinks and snacks from a nearby mini refrigerator.

An air conditioning unit above the window allows the boys to use the space all year long, even during the hottest days of the summer. “This space is perfect for summer breaks when the boys are off school,” Mittleman says. “It gets them out of the house but keeps them nearby.”

In the window bay to the right of the TV, Mittleman added a prep sink next to the mini refrigerator. The countertop is a durable honed black granite. An industrial black wall sconce above the window completes the scene.
The industrial-style bathroom is the ideal spot for the boys to shower off after practices and games. The walls are covered in black subway tiles. The schoolhouse sink features brass fixtures that coordinate with the brass-frame mirror and brass wall sconces.

The white painted bricks are part of the flue for a large boiler that used to be in the garage. “I didn’t want to cover over the bricks with tile, because it adds a nice industrial touch to the room,” Mittleman says.

The exterior of the garage used to have a pair of garage doors and no front door. Mittleman had the two garage doors swapped out for a single larger door, leaving enough space to add a front door that opens up to the entry and the staircase leading to the upstairs hangout.

The exterior of the garage and the new doors were painted to match the colors of the house.

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