The Pool House Kitchen Progress

If you’re sick of pictures and posts about the pool house, I’m sorry to disappoint you today.  With the bathroom being the smallest room, it was quick to finish up.  The kitchen area, while not finished, it coming along nicely.  Starting off, the pool had a three step raised, um, wet bar?  Outside the sliding door, there was a small raised rock platform.  So three steps up to go three steps down.


It also featured a winow behind the cabinets, making it look off when seen from outside.  We initially thought the platform perhaps hid plumbing, but a look below showed it was completely open.  With that knowledge, we made the decision to eliminate the raised platform for a free-flowing layout.


Once the platform (inside and out) were removed, we lowered the door and window to keep it even with the floor.


As with the rest of the room, the floors are slate and the walls got the tedious board and batten treatment.


After paint, it looked relatively finished, excluding the cabinets.



With such neutral floors and walls, I wanted to add a bit of color.  Painted cabinets are beautiful, and this small section is the perfect place to experiment.


Green was always my front-runner, and I picked out a mid to dark tone slightly olive green.  Right away, I painted the cabinet boxes to get a feel for it.


I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it.  It was a touch more sage toned than I had in mind, and it was a similar value to the stainless steel counters.


Before changing anything, I lived with it for a few days and turned my attention to the other side of the room.


For this side, we slightly changed plans by building wooden storage benches.  Not only will they store necessary pool related stuff, they’re functional seating for the dining table.  Pool-House-Bench-Area

This one might look familiar, because it was in our breakfast nook.


The size, metal base, and dark green marble top are a perfect match for this bench.  A pair of Union Square sconces from Progress define this area from the rest of the large room.


Floating the legs several inches away allows easy sliding in and out of the bench.



Seeing the dark green swirls in the top made the sage toned green look even more off, so I had the quart retinted.  Of course, because I’m super impatient when it comes to things like this, I started painting the sink box to get a look at it.


On overcast or rainy days, it reads much darker, almost black.  But on sunny days, it’s perfect.


Toe kicks and cabinet doors are still in the works, but good things take time.



Skylights are always amazing, but these giant ones drench the area in the most gorgeous light.


Even with the room unfinished, I love going out there just to appreciate how different it feels.  And we’ve used the oven a few times, too.  Pizza and pool parties to come as soon as we get the liner and water.

Before & After: The Pool House Bathroom

Exciting things have been happening in the pool house recently.  We primed and painted the walls white, which makes much of the room look finished.  Certainly a far cry from our starting point of dark stained (in color and in a literal uneven way) walls, fiberglass sheeting on the ceiling, and outdoor grade carpet covering the floor.


In the photo above, there’s a half bathroom squished in behind a swinging door.  It was so small and dark, I never got photos of the room before, but you can see the vanity peeking out in a progress pic.


Starting with the digital design…


Onto cladding the walls in plywood sheeting, starting on the walnut vanity…


To marble counters and tall back splash…


Getting primer and paint on the walls…


This space, at long last, is looking cute.  A locking frosted glass pocket door separates the bath from the main pool area, but still allows natural light to flood in.


Unlike the bathroom before, the pocket door allows the room to feel open, not cramped.  Walking in is easy, and doesn’t require snugging against the vanity to close the door.


When planning this space, I wanted to keep storage to a minimum.  I know, the exact opposite of the usual desire for as much storage as possible.  Unlike a full bathroom, we don’t need to store extra products, just the basics.  A basket of toilet paper and a cute metal bin stocked with first aid supplies sit on the slatted shelf.


Simple, free to download bird prints add color to the otherwise bare toilet side.


Other than the change of art, the only deviation from the original plan is the frameless mirror.  This one was in the original bathroom, and I had planned to build a wooden frame around it, painting it black for a metal look.


After resting it on the top of the marble back splash, I liked the streamlined look more than a framed mirror.   With the decision to forgo a frame, Ben hung the mirror using four sleek metal mirror clips that are barely noticeable.


Without a frame, the interesting Beaker sconces from Progress command more attention.


Measuring 17 inches tall, they’re on the large side for a small bathroom (as is the over sized  marble slab back splash), but both height, making the room feel bigger.


The mirrored glass shades provide a beautiful, soft glow that creates the slightest pattern on the walls.  The faux pulley and cute cloth cord offer a lot of style, while the glass shade keeps visually light.


A wall mount faucet has been on my wish list for years, and I was finally able to get Ben on board with it in here.  Mostly due to the marble backing, preventing unnecessary wall splashing.  However, it didn’t come without challenges and an excessive amount of measuring.  And re-measuring, followed by second guessing.  Followed up with several four letter words when cutting the holes in the marble to accommodate it.


I worried it’d be too ‘splashy’, so we placed the bottom of the spout 2 inches from the top of the vessel sink.  It forces people to keep their hands in the bowl, but doesn’t feel crammed in our wide sink.


At 44 inches wide, with a large part taken up by the sink, there’s enough counter space for a small tray of cotton swabs (useful when the pool is functional) and a cute soap pump.  Basically, all of the little elements I’ve been compiling over the months and finally get to use.


It’s been a long road to get to this point, but I’m basking in the bright, open, fresh space we have now.


If you spy something you might want to get for yourself, here’s the list of everything shown.

Montauk Black Slate Tile     .     Frosted Pocket Door     .     Pocket Door Hardware     .     Progress Beaker Sconces     .     Delta Trinsic Faucet     .     Vessel Sink     .    Delta Trinsic Black Towel Ring     .     Towel (similar)     .     Mirror Clips     .     Blue Rimmed Cup     .     Izola Soap     .     Black Gingham Tray     .     Round Wire Basket     .     First Aid Box     .     Kohler Highline Toilet     .     Paper Holder (similar)     .     Picture Frames     .     Audubon Art

How To Hang a Straight Row of Hooks (or Anything)

When planning the pool house, I didn’t picture art on the walls.  Instead, I wanted the accessories to serve as art.  Which means every item has to be extra special to serve the functional purpose and add a design element.  Obviously with a pool, towels are necessary.  I found beautiful 100% cotton striped Turkish towels from The Longest Thread and I bought ten.


Our pool will have only one ladder, in the shallow end, close to the window in the photo above.  For convenience, I wanted to hang seven of the towels on hooks below the window, placing the remaining three near the future hot tub area.  To hang the seven hooks in a straight row, I held the towel on the hook up to determine my height, marking it with a piece of blue tape.  Next, I eyeballed down the line, placing tape on each batten strip.  With the tape up, I held a level, marking the line on each strip.


Next, I held up a hook, making sure the level line ran through each screw hole and marked each.



With the tape still in place, start driving the hook and screw in.  Before tightening too far, pull the tape off and continue attaching.


Voila, easy, perfectly straight row without a bunch of measuring.  If you have to measure the spacing between each hook, stretch a full piece of tape or paper across.  It’s easier to mark it up and change than the wall.


Over by the future hot tub, three more hooks and towels are hung higher below that window.


I love the pattern and softness the towels add, just like functional art.


I realize I’m jumping the gun adding towels before we even have the pool liner, but I’m excited to unpack the accessory hoard I’ve had for over half a year.  Speaking of my accessory stash, I pulled out all of the bathroom goodies and got it all in place.  Stay tuned for that next week!

Seeing White

Our previously decrepit indoor pool house has been our single biggest, longest, and most expensive room makeover to date.  Though we had demolished the raised wet bar in 2012, replaced windows and doors in 2015, we really got to work in November 2016, working from the ceiling down.

While the ceiling was a lot of work, mostly due to the awkward working space, the walls win the most tedious award.


Although I only have myself to blame for that, because I was set on a floor to ceiling board and batten wall treatment.  First, hanging sheets of plywood backing, followed with hundreds of batten strips.


The single most time-consuming, finger killing part was the miles of caulking.  I trudged through because I knew the result would be 100 percent worth it all.  This weekend, we made it one giant leap closer to the final, completed room.  Before we could get to the satisfying part, spraying primer, we had to mask off everything we didn’t want to get paint on.


Floors, ceiling, cabinets, shelves, benches, doors, and windows.  Probably most fun, the two huge support beams that span the entire room.


When masking, I prefer to start with a good quality painter’s tape, closely following the edges.  Then I come back with my sheet of plastic to quickly mask the remaining open areas.  When in doubt, tape every single seam.  It’ll prevent over spray coming through as well as the plastic flapping up from the sprayer air.


With the plastic applied, we laid drop cloths on the floor to completely cover it.


With the prep work out of the way, we cracked open the oil based primer and got to spraying.  Ben started in the kitchen, working around the walnut shelves and vent hood.  My heart was beating so fast, a mixture of excitement of how great it looked already and worry that I hadn’t masked well enough.  I felt the same way about the ceiling beams and those turned out perfectly, so I have my fingers crossed.


This step is the single most satisfying part of a job.  In a matter of seconds, the walls went from unfinished plywood to crisp white.


Ben rocked the priming, knocking out the entire room in about 2 hours.  Despite being unfinished, the primer gives us an idea of the finished look and feel.


Even with the windows covered, it’s so bright and fresh (looking, because the smell was terrible).



It’s taking everything in me not to peel back the tape on the benches to see how it looks, but we still have to paint.


One minor annoyance is that the rough edges of each batten strip absorbed most of the paint.


We hoped to paint on Sunday, but instead took the day to brush each edge with a second coat of primer.


Not ideal, but necessary for the best possible paint finish.  We’ll spray the walls white, Snowbound from Sherwin Williams, this weekend and that’ll be the last whole room project.  After that, it’s all minor tasks to complete.  We’ll install sconces, finish the kitchen cabinets, and add the pool liner.  Then, it’s party time.

Stainless Steel Counter Tops

Between the teacher lounge makeover and building a pergola for a client, we haven’t spent much time in the pool house.  That doesn’t mean we’re not excited to make progress, but we did check one more piece off the list.


We built basic cabinet boxes a few weeks ago, which allowed us to place our stainless steel counter top order.  Ben measured everything and I transferred the measurements to a digital format to hand off to the fabricator.  For easy cleaning, we had them build a sink and 4 inch tall back splash into the counters.

Sink Measurements

Counter Measurements

With the details nailed down, they told us three weeks before they’d be ready.  A week and two days later, they called saying the counters are finished and ready for pick up.  What a pleasant surprise.  Ben picked them up and paid the $1200 and installed the two pieces.


Though we initially considered a small, bar sized sink, we decided to go for a full size.  Easier for washing, or we can fill it with ice as a cooler when we have people over.


Obviously, the faucet and drain aren’t fully hooked up, but it’s enough for us to install the remaining batten strips.


A horizontal strip will butt up to the steel back splash top, with the vertical battens terminating into that piece for a seamless look.


We’ve been so happy with the stainless counters in our master bath and the laundry room that these were an easy decision.


The one inch thick back splash top is a nice, custom detail that adds a finishing touch.


The contrast of the shiny stainless and the warm walnut is perfect in my book, which can only get better once the walls are painted white.


Now that the counters are in, we can face the cabinets, including a support piece across the sink front, and build doors.


We’re getting so close to functional and can’t wait to have our first pool party!