Vancouver designer Dexter Dolores wants us to rethink the urban garage; it’s not just a place to park the car and hammer a few 2×4’s together anymore. Dolores unveiled his work / play concept at the BC Home and Garden Show in Vancouver last month.

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“At first I was thinking how do you make it feel different and not like a garage and then I thought you have to embrace it and make the most of it but also show that you can have all the things you’re used to seeing there but with a new twist.”

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Commissioned by the event producers to show what a redesigned garage would look like, Dolores was tasked with filling 680 square feet with guy things that were masculine yet refined. Out with the girlie pix and in with art pieces and ceramics.

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Dolores specializes in residential interior design. He calls his style contemporary edge with classical sophistication. He borrows from different eras and plays with their juxtaposition.

“I like having that contrast,” he says of his penchant for taking a contemporary space and filling it with furniture that’s a little more ornate or even primitive. Take his garage for instance.

“There’s one chair in the corner that’s the tufted, traditional linen chair and on the opposite side I’ve got this modern, almost industrial lounge chair and in the middle you’ve got your modern, contemporary stuff,” he says.

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As for his colour palette, “I like to do neutral for all the larger pieces. I like to play up texture rather than pattern.” A faded Asian rug warms up the floor while well-worn, hand-woven Indian rugs, cut up and sewn into pillows punch up the chairs.  “It’s rough and reclaimed and rustic.”

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Rough hewn ceramics and animal horn round out the details.

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The display looks great but let’s face it, not many of us have 680 square foot garages to play with. “If you can do, go ahead and do it and if you can’t, maximize what you can,” says the Vancouver designer. He admits his design is aspirational. It’s a jumping off point for folks thinking about retrofitting an existing work space. Or contemplating a new build for that matter.

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“I wanted to encourage people to think of the garage as an extension of their living space. Think about what you need it for, think about the functions you’re going to do in that space. The aesthetic is what I wanted to show. You don’t need a man cave that feels like a man cave with all those manly, macho things. A man cave doesn’t have to ne all leather and wood. It can be more subdued. You can do this in this kind of way with colour and detail.”

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Dexter Dolores

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