before and afterDIY

Before & After: A Boring Garage Becomes A Brilliant Dining Room

by Maxwell Tielman



There’s something exciting about garages—those tiny limbo-like appendages that store cars, bikes, tools, and piles of retired crap—something that seems to imply possibility. Indeed, these spaces offer more than just storage options—they are (with a little sprucing up, of course) a refuge, a second living room, a creative launchpad, a band-practice studio. For Stacia and Phil Samartan, the garage at their Long Beach, California home would serve as a formal dining room. With the help of interior designer Susie Ho, the couple’s garage—a space that could have easily been drab and uninspired—was transformed into a stunning showpiece; a space that stands out while fitting in to the space’s architecture and the locale’s aesthetic. Check out all of the photos, plus Susie’s design notes after the jump! —Max


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This dining room used to be a part of the garage that [the Samartans] had converted to add more livable square footage to their home and I was brought onto the project to bring life into the space. First thing was first, deciding on what this room would be. We tinkered with the idea of a sitting room, but since they already had a living room in the home, Stacia and Phil wanted a space that would be more useful, so we decided that a formal dining room would be the best decision.

I was inspired by the architecture of the home as well as the amazing weather in Southern California. Cliff May homes are known for their relationship to the outdoors, so I wanted to showcase the connection between the interior and exterior, hence the sunny chartreuse walls and landscape green sofa. The original flooring was concrete and my clients wanted something new that was unique but durable (they have a dog, two cats and a baby on the way). We ended up with a porcelain tile that looks like wood flooring, super durable and wallet friendly. We wallpapered two walls with a colorful, graphic pattern that is very impactful upon entry. It was the perfect backdrop for a custom designed sectional sofa to serve as banquette seating for the organic, modern dining table. The vintage side chairs and light fixture belonged to the client and fit in perfectly with the new furnishings. This space showcases the couples’s casual but stylish lifestyle and I just love how this space came
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Source List
  • Sectional Sofa – Custom
  • Dining Table – Organic Modernism
  • Chairs – Vintage
  • Wallpaper – Cole & Son
  • Bar/Cabinet – Jonathan Adler
  • Pillows – Crate & Barrel, West Elm, Anthropologie
  • Art – David Weidman, Vintage
  • Lighting – George Nelson
  • Flooring – Dal Tile


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