The Car Barn's original owner sold this unique place to a caterer as a venue in 2010. She hired me to paint recognizable scenes from Chattanooga onto the inside of the 4 garage doors on the front of the 80'w building. This is the Coolidge Park mural, featuring a simplified carousel, some of the water features from the park, and the ticket booth, complete with images of the new owner's son and dad.
A familiar Chattanooga landmark and storefronts from Chattanooga's Northshore are depicted in this Walnut Street Bridge mural, painted onto the back of the other 2 garage doors on the front of the 80'w structure known as The Car Barn of Chattanooga since 2010.
Looking at the left side of the building, this is half of one of the 60' side walls. Each wall is approx 13' h. Even the floor was custom-designed by KMMGD for this space and won an award for The Most Unusual Application of a stamped concrete floor. It was designed to make sense of the painted scenes and built facades. Every business depicted in The Car Barn has something to do with the original owner's personal history, from 1950s Chattanooga. Even the flag only has 48 stars on it, authentic of the period. There is a scene of painted steps behind the gray door, which cleverly covers the electrical box. Real working lights, doors, and windows adorn the place, as well as custom-made stained glass, by a Chattanooga artist. The door to the left is an actual exterior door, incorporated into the design of the town. The side street allowed for visual interest and many more storefronts. Facades were designed 3"-12" from the exterior walls.
Depicted here is the right side of the same 60' wall as in the previous picture. This one is almost entirely the motorcycle cafe mural. Seen here are the Harleys owned by friends of the original owner, with his motorcycles painted onto the side street (see next image). The HD cafe on the Las Vegas strip was the inspiration for this motorcycle mural part of The Car Barn.
This motorcycle mural part of the HD cafe scene is often a favorite of visitors to The Car Barn. They can't believe they are not real!
The side street scene in The Car Barn is easier to see without the lights on! Check out the detail on the smaller motorcycle mural! It never gets as much attention as the larger motorcycles in the foreground, but they are equally detailed. Other details add to the scene, like the working neon and streetlight, as well as the authentic HD cafe table (complete with manikin!) and collectibles.
This is a copy of the original rough sketch of how I was going to deal with 80' of storefronts on the back wall of The Car Barn mural. One of the challenges was to include 2 commercial AC units, one in each corner. I also had to figure out what to do with the 12' garage door in the center of the back wall. All of the storefronts needed to work together, with textures, color, depth, and rooflines that varied to provide interest, using no more than 12" of depth. I also had to incorporate the real back door in the far right corner.
The back wall in progress on the left, as the storefronts are being constructed. I provided detailed drawings of what I wanted the carpenter to build. Experience in remodeling several houses came in handy! Later, the barber shop mural was added behind the door and window in that facade, and behind the door of the restaurant to its left. Real tin was used on the Antiques store roof. Working neon signs adorn the restaurant, and that's an authentic barber shop pole in use in front of Reuben's. Antique glass was used for the windows of the antique store, designed to house Civil War relics. The Krystal building, barely seen here, has another neon sign, along with metal signage done with the original lettering style.
Closeup of the barbershop mural. The black and white color palette lends itself to the 50s era in our minds. The two men in the scene were painted to look like friends of the owner. the older gentleman in the back got to attend the first ever Superbowl part at The Car Barn and see his image immortalized there, before he passed away shortly thereafter. He was 92.
This picture is a composite of images taken in 2004 and in 2010. One of the favorite things I designed into The Car Barn mural is the movie theater. Designed with a 12' marquis and huge Vegas-like lights and neon signage, movie posters with flashing lights, and a mirrored storefront, this part of The Car Barn is customizable to anyone renting out what is now a one-of-a-kind venue. Details on the firetruck in the center on the next image.
The original owner of The Car Barn owned a real 1952 REO Speedwagon firetruck, which he used in delighting children every Christmas with Santa aboard throwing out candy, shown, left. I had to make it more narrow to create this fire truck mural and the urban looking fire station entrance mural to its right. The steps, doorway and brick were painted entirely from memory. Visitors to The Car Barn are often shocked when the rear garage door is opened to reveal that the fire truck is not real!
Only part of the 60'w x 13'h right side is showing here in this composite image of The Lookout Mountain mural. The old Engel Stadium is also painted to the very right. You can easily see the iconic Incline Railway building, Mocassin Bend, and Signal Mountain to the right. Later, a working streetlight matching the lighting at the real Incline Railway, was added to this scene and the HD Cafe scene.
The birch tree, visible in this closeup of The Incline Railway mural, was a favorite of the original owner. Pictured here is Kat, pretending to "sit" on the steps. There were many conduits and receptacles to paint around in this area, as well as a commercial-sized heater in the upper left (seen in the previous image).