Raili Clasen Breaks all the Rules of the “Unseen, Utilitarian” Garage

Motivated by the success of his recurring Palm Springs showhouse, the Christopher Kennedy Compound, the eponymous designer was lured to Turlock, California by a homeowner looking to create an exciting interiors experience in a classic American town. “I don’t think style is just reserved for the big cities and coasts,” says Christopher Kennedy, who collaborated with 15 other designers on a 3,200-square- foot midcentury residence that—following its October 2019 show dates—would become a family’s home. “The designers did the best of themselves and they also made it perfect for the homeowner. Our showhouses tend to be very livable, while still being very inspiring.”

The Garage/Boy’s Hangout is described as the “room o’ fun,” and is breaking all the rules of the unseen, utilitarian garages of the past. The space is light, bright, and inviting for teenage boys and their friends to watch sports, battle each other in ping pong, or work out. Orange and yellow run throughout the room, and the doors open up fully, connecting the indoor space to the pool area beyond.

In our recently released aspire design and home Showhouse Issue, we sat down with Raili Clasen to learn more about their creative process in designing the garage for this project.

aspire design and home: What was your biggest challenge? Did you have a Eureka moment during the process?
Raili Clasen: Given that I had the garage, I had zero design restraints so we were able to make this room colorful, playful and FUN.

aspire: What did you and your team accomplish that you thought would not happen in time?
Raili: It was down to the wire. They were hanging lights and the BIG TV minutes before the opening party.

aspire: What was your inspiration for this room?
Raili: I wanted it to feel like a cool playroom found in a boutique hotel.

aspire: Did you step out of your comfort zone for this project, and if so, why?
Raili: I definitely used bits and pieces of things I love in design… super graphics, bright colors, and a custom ping pong table.

aspire: Despite the fact that there were so many designers involved, there is an inherent cohesiveness to the home. Did you all converse/collaborate? Or was this a completely individual process?
Raili: Since I had my own space away from the house, we didn’t have to adhere to the home.

aspire: Is your preference for a showhouse a small space or a large space? Does one or the other provide a better opportunity to stretch your creativity?
Raili: I loved the garage. It is the space where the family can host friends, kids can have fun and it had so much personality.

aspire: Describe the town of Turlock in one sentence.
Raili: This was the greatest surprise. I LOVED the town of Turlock. The way the neighbors all interacted was like a 1950’s movie. We drove around and saw dads playing catch on the front lawn, kids in the streets having races.. it was so awesome and truly what a neighborhood should be.

This or That?

aspire: Paint or wallpaper?
Raili: BOTH
aspire: Hardwood or rug?
Raili: Hardwood
Beach or Mountains?
Raili: Beach 100%
aspire: Saturated Color or Black and White?
Raili: Both… together
aspire: Brunch or Dinner?
Raili: Brunch
Midcentury or 18th Century?
Raili: Midcentury
Draperies, shades, or nothing?
Raili: Nada
aspire: 2001: A Space Odyssey or The English Patient?
Raili: Ooh good one.. The English Patient
Week at the spa or Week of Broadway shows?

Photography by Matt Sartain.

Click Here to view more interviews with the Christopher Kennedy Showhouse designers.

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