This 700-Square-Foot Over-the-Garage Apartment Feels Like a Mini Vacation | Architectural Digest

For five years, Robin Anderson worked her way through her clients’ historic Victorian home, room by room. The rebuilt carriage house—the original was destroyed by ice dams—was the project’s very last component. In the new design, the bottom portion housed a three-car garage and the top, a one-bedroom apartment. “They have all the rooms they need, so this is a bonus space, say for girls’ nights. [It’s also] where her parents stay when they visit,” the designer says.

BEFORE: The homeowners had not touched the original carriage house, not even to paint over the pink exterior. “A painter friend used it as a studio for a bit, then it was destroyed by ice dams,” Robin says. This view is where the cooktop is now located.

Since it’s separate from the main house, Robin reasoned, this didn’t need to be a clone. Instead, it feels like a mini vacation destination. Her style of choice? An updated take on French country. “The clients are more modern, but they’re into whatever I’ve got going on at the moment,” Robin says. “I experimented with a French vibe using classic and modern elements that feel European.”

A greige-and-ivory checkerboard tile floor greets visitors in the vestibule, then works its way up the stairs to the kitchenette in the airy great room. “The tile adds a lot visually and divides the kitchen from the living area,” Robin explains. “It helps it feel like its own room.”

AFTER: Robin chose concrete-like quartz for the countertops. “There was no way I was putting white quartz in this kitchen,” the designer says. “This has a lot of warmth, movement, and color.”

AFTER: The glow from the amber sconces from Schoolhouse enhance the wooden shelves. Nearby, the woven lampshade provides natural texture. “I hate white lampshades,” Robin says. “This one is rattan; the lamp in the bedroom came with a jute shade.”

AFTER: “We stashed extra chairs around that can be squeezed in around the table,” Robin says of the dining chairs from Lulu & Georgia. The oversized knob that punctuates the bar ties to the tabletop.

The green cabinetry that hugs the corner doesn’t hurt, either. “I’ve been dying to do a green kitchen,” Robin says. An apron-front farm sink and café curtains infuse French country charm into the space, and oak shelves, a drywalled hood, amber sconces from Schoolhouse, and concrete-like countertops keep the interior feeling modern and rustic. Robin’s signature kitchen accessory—a table lamp on the counter—serves as a finishing touch.

Structural beams stretch across the space, with a cathedral ceiling rising above. “I love beams,” Robin says. “They make a room cozy.” A minimalist, blackened-brass light fixture with caramel leather by Kathy Skelton swoops down over the dining table. Teak dining chairs are gathered around that piece, warming the vignette. “There are lots of hard edges in here, so I used rounded silhouettes to soften them,” Robin says. A channel-tufted velvet bar with brass trim brings green to the room while injecting a healthy dose of glam boutique hotel flavor.

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