Designing Barrington Lifestyles

An auto enthusiast’s vision for a custom-designed garage to store his sports cars and to gather friends comes to life.


Interior design by Jennifer McGinnis | Photography by Jim Prisching
Story by Lisa Stamos

Interior Designer Jennifer McGinnis of Redux Interior Design.

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A Custom Home for His Sports Cars

Auto enthusiast Brian, who has lived in the Barrington area since 2003, grew up around race cars throughout his youth in Ohio. His father, a factory worker at the Timken Company in Columbus, pursued drag racing as a hobby, and he still owns the 1957 Chevy from those days. “I loved it,” he says of growing up around cool cars and auto racing. As he grew beyond his childhood years, Brian’s interest shifted to NASCAR races. Since 1994, the entire family has rallied together around auto racing and has met every year at a family timeshare for the DAYTONA 500. Brian has also enjoyed go-karting for the past 10 years.

Brian now has a small sports car collection of his own, including a 2007 Corvette and a 2017 Camaro—and that collection outgrew his home garage. “I needed a place to store and showcase my cars,” he said. Brian had researched several luxury-style “automotive country clubs” located out East and in Ohio that offer services, amenities, clubhouses, and secure, premium places for members to store their cars. However, there wasn’t such a venue in the Chicago area—so he created his own unique storage space that like the auto clubs, offers inviting room for his friends and family to gather, as well as a safe place to store his cars.

“My issue was whether to get a bigger house to have a bigger garage, or to find a commercial space to build out a garage large enough for my needs,” he said. Brian found an industrial condo space that he purchased and as its owner, has no restrictions—once he convinced his village’s permit staff that he was not going to run an autobody business in the space. Getting his permit to build out the space was the longest part of the entire design/build project.

The spotless storage area for Brian’s sports cars also offers a mechanic’s space where he can work on them.

Brian had found Jennifer McGinnis of Redux Interior Design online when his home needed renovation. “She did a great job remodeling my house, and when I bought the new garage space, I asked her if she was interested in working with me.” Brian’s vision for the garage was for it to be a nice, fun place to store his cars and have parties. “I wanted a place where my friends and I could tinker with the cars and just hang out.”

As Jennifer’s client, Brian admits he wasn’t the easiest person to schedule time with to discuss the project. “She is very professional and is open, listening to my vision and ideas for the space,” he said. “She brought me design ideas that I would not have thought of, as my taste is contemporary. For the garage, she showed ideas that leaned towards antiques and a rustic look, which I thought would work.”

A recent wedding for Brian’s oldest daughter was held in the area, and since many family and friends were in town, they spent much of the weekend visiting at his garage. There is seating, a wet bar, bathrooms, and plenty of room to park outside and gather inside.

Brian is proud of his car collection and his custom-designed space to store them in. He is quick to credit Redux Interior Design with bringing his vision to life. “Jennifer is flexible, creative, and was conscious of my goals and budget. She is easy to work with and offered me a variety of options with unexpected, but ideal material choices. I’m ecstatic as to how it all worked out,” Brian said.

What was once a commercial business space was the perfect size, ceiling height, and accessibility for Brian’s sports car garage. All design plans had to follow commercial space code even though the space is for personal use. Once his vision for how to use the space was shared by her client, Jennifer McGinnis drew up the plans and helped bring materials ideas that would achieve the top goal—to make the cars look good! The design theme is modern with vintage industrial elements, which called for black walls, a black ceiling, and everything on the walls to be black except for decorative items. The metal-clad storage cabinets are black. The floor was finished in a white polyaspartic garage floor coating containing mica, which results in a beautiful, sparkling, durable, and easy-to- clean surface. All surfaces are lit with no-glare LED lighting, having all the same color temperature, which showcases the true color of the cars. The four factory pendants lights in the work zone were sourced from an architectural salvage dealer and were re-wired to today’s standards offering a true vintage industrial feel. A vintage industrial metal chair and antique enameled 6’ diameter gas station sign add interest. Brian houses his go-kart racing trophies in a visible cabinet case which sits atop a countertop made of reclaimed barn wood.

Brian wanted a masculine-style place to “hang out” with family and friends that would be comfortable and have a functioning kitchenette. A touchless faucet with a diamond-cut nozzle pattern is the perfect choice for greasy hands after tinkering with cars. A quartz countertop resembles concrete and is non-porous, and won’t chip, stain, or scratch. Amenities include a beverage refrigerator, ice maker, dishwasher drawer for barware, and a wine storage cabinet. The kitchenette cabinets showcase a brushed bronze finish. Black metal-clad cabinets sit below a second sink and coun- tertop around the corner. Leather club style chairs on casters move easily around a custom-designed and welded table created by Jennifer with automotive rivets detail- ing. The reclaimed barn wood with various colors was laid out on the floor to see the wood color patterns before being affixed to the walls. An Art Deco vintage gas pump adds interest to the ultimate garage.

Jennifer McGinnis is the owner of Redux Interior Design, serving Chicago and the Northern and Northwest Suburbs for 20 years. Many of her clients are in the greater Barrington area and Kildeer. She is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and her firm is professionally licensed in Illinois. McGinnis’ design philosophy is reflected in her firm’s name—Redux—which means a re-do, or redefining a past, to bring the best out of her client’s vision for some- thing personal, and new. She lets her clients lead the way, keeping her role as that of an interpreter who then designs their vision to a cohesive and complete result. Most of her work is residential, though she has designed commercial spaces. Redux Interior Designs works with a fully-vetted team of experts who have passion for their work, including artisans, dealers, showrooms, manufacturers and their reps, tradesmen, and fabricators. Together, they have access to the best of what’s new and trending in the market. For more information, email, or call 847-727-1653.