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

Railroad Spike Coat Rack

Our entry isn’t huge, roughly eight by four and a half feet, but it is very nice to have a separate designated space.  With the door slightly off-center, there’s a sliver of wall with a box shelf to keep keys, sunglasses, and other necessities close by with a stool tucked below.  Across, there’s a half wall, where the living room floor starts.  It’s an awkward little wall, with the stairs going up that turns into a strange polygon.


Though we have an entry closet at the top of the stairs, and our newly added mud nook right inside the garage door at the base of the stairs, those are areas mainly used by our family.

Build in a mini mudroom:

I wanted a quick and easy drop spot for our guests to hang coats, purses, and backpacks close to the front door.  After a day visiting Ben’s dad at the ranch, I found some great items to turn into a unique coat rack.  I also came home with an old horseshoe and another turtle shell to hang above the art in the dining room.  Such a treasure trove of goodies!


Anyway, back to the coat rack.  To start, I snagged a board of live edge wood along with a bunch of railroad spikes.


After discussing my idea with Ben, he helped me make my idea a reality.  While I thoroughly looked at the board, I settled on the most character filled three feet and cut it to size.  At three feet wide, I wanted to space 5 spikes six inches apart, leaving six inches on either end.  Following the shape of the wood, I marked five dots while Ben used a steel cutting chop saw to cut the spikes to three inches.


I didn’t want any visible attachment, so Ben drilled 3/4 inch holes, then used a rubber mallet to pound the spikes in.


Who says you can’t jam a square peg in a round hole?


The result is seamless, simple, and rustic-just the way I like it.


Hanging was as easy as two screws through the wood, into the floor joist.


Turning that little sliver into usable space should come in very handy this winter season, especially.


Style wise, the simplicity blends seamlessly with the adjacent living room.


The best part is that it took about 30 minutes, start to finish to make and hang.  I’m wondering if it’d be too much to make another to use as a towel rack.

A Simple Headboard

Sometimes it feels like we’re treading water on big projects-you know, doing a lot of work but easily goes unnoticed.  Wow, what an encouraging, uplifting way to start, huh?  You know what is uplifting?  Small, quick, straight forward projects to break up the longer, meatier ones we have going on.  With most of the basement wrapping up, we’re getting to the fun, really obvious changes stage of the game.  One of those changes was getting the Sleep Number mattress up and off the floor with a custom bed frame.


Basic dimensional lumber, stain, and poly can come together to create a sleek, modern frame.  To create the base, we followed almost the exact same steps as our bed frame.


It has held up well, costs about $100 in materials, and can be assembled in less than a day.  One noticeable difference is the headboard.  I love the splash of green in our bedroom, but wanted something warmer to contrast against the blue-gray in the basement.



After debating a variety of wood designs, I went with the KISS method and kept it simple, stupid.


Ben used 2 by 4 boards for a completely solid design.  I’m usually 100 percent opposed to the rounded edges of dimensional lumber, so we ran each board through the table saw before assembling.


With boards prepped, we cut to length, lined each up on the garage floor, and screwed boards to the back, connecting the pieces together.  For a finished edge, we used more 2 by 4 material to create a frame to wrap the edges.


These boards hide the edges as well as the vertical connecting pieces, leaving a 3/4 inch reveal.


We now have a neutral base to layer anything and everything on and around.


Pinstripe sheets, small plus sign pillow cases and a kilim throw pillow add a boost of pattern and playfulness to the room.


Next step, new night stands to replace the single petite dresser that is standing in.

A Deck Makeover & Cozy Outdoor Lounge Area

Four years ago, when we bought this house, it came with a large front deck and a paver patio.  Without adjectives, both spaces sound lovely.  I’m sure the paver patio was beautiful, but the lack of maintenance, weeds, and tree roots took a toll.


Replacing windows and siding was a priority, but before that could happen, we had to excavate a foot of dirt back here, build a low deck, and only then could we hang siding.  In home remodeling, each project seems to hinge on another aspect being ready.  Though we didn’t want to tackle landscaping first, it did give us a baseline to seamlessly transition siding.


None of that is new, and has been featured several times before.  But, there’s another deck that hasn’t been shared since move in, until today.  Before getting into the afters, here’s a look at the condition the front deck was in when we took ownership:




In a word, woof.  The railing that was so far from code/safety requirements, benches along the edge were uncomfortable and took up useful space, rotting/spongy joists, and splintered deck boards didn’t exactly make this space enjoyable.  It certainly had potential, but thanks to other more important projects, we just got around to rebuilding it last summer.  Due to the technical aspects, this isn’t a deck building tutorial.  Rather, it’s the kind of television makeover before and after without the work, sweat, and wait-surprise!!


Clearly, a lot has changed.  Everything, in fact.


We completely demoed the structure, rebuilding to meet or exceed code standards to ensure longevity.

Update: A reader emailed me, wanting to similarly cover an outdoor space, asking if/how much light the solid roof blocks?  Since others might have the same concerns, here’s my answer and our rationale why covering the deck was worth it.  This entire deck fronts the pool house, not our normal living space.  Since it is a pool house, it has 8 skylights, normal windows, and four sliding glass doors that flood the space with light, so the deck roof hasn’t changed the lighting too much.  Yes, it’s a touch darker, but totally worth the added usable outdoor living area and not becoming the human version of a roasting marshmallow.  That said, I don’t think this is the perfect solution for all outdoor spaces.  Before adding a cover, consider the size and orientation of the windows/doors and the room(s) it will potentially darken.


Redwood deck boards are smooth and splinter free, the railing is not only safe, but offers more privacy, not only to the deck, but the (currently nonfunctional) pool inside.  At 36 inches tall, the railing still doesn’t block the city/mountain views.  Instead, it hides just the street and houses across, even when seated because our house is on a steep hillside.  Thanks to the southern, full sun exposure, we decided to add a full roof, keeping the area as cool as possible.  When we swapped the dining door placement, we created a four-foot wide walkway off the front.


Over the long weekend, thanks to awesome sales, we picked up two World Market sofas (only $204 each!!) to create a comfortable lounge/seating area.  Until this point, this 900 square foot deck housed two grills, the bench in the background and that’s about it.


Last year, while we were rebuilding the deck, I started my search for outdoor furniture and came across a pair of linear wood frame chairs:Wood-Frame-Outdoor-Chairs

That screenshot has been on my phone for nearly a year, and for the life of me, I cannot remember the source.  But, I do know that I was instantly smitten, and wanted the same look.  Imagine my surprise when I was wandering around World Market and stumbled upon the Praiano set.  At $400 per sofa, it wasn’t a bad price, but I wasn’t ready to pull the trigger.  Fortunately for me, my patience pair off and I struck when the price dropped to $239.99 plus a 15% off coupon.


After patiently waiting a few months, I became impatient and bought, assembled, and lounged within 24 hours of getting the coupon in my inbox.


Those sleek lines have my heart.


And closely resemble the railing.  Haha, I guess I have flock to a distinct style.


The cushions are firm, but not uncomfortable.  However, the arms need some cush, so I pulled some indoor pillows from the linen closet to soften the hard wood frame.


For additional greenery, I added two potted Arborvitae trees in the corner of the center bump out.  The green seems so much more vibrant against the dark gray siding.


I’m still trying to track down chairs to round out the grouping, since these are standing in from our old, seen-better-days patio set.


Then there’s this sad, mostly empty corner.  Again, these pieces are standing in until we have time to build a dining table.


Ben and I have differing visions/layouts for the deck.  Mostly because he’d love to build an 18 foot long Last Supper style table to take place of the current lounge area.

Napa Style Residence

While I think that’d be really cool, I think we’re better off putting this corner to use as an extension of the adjacent indoor dining space.  Adding an overhead fixture to this area would also be pretty easy with the attic overhang and access.  Time will tell, but I’m thrilled to have a cozy place to escape the house to enjoy a book.

Oh, and the deck desperately needs a good wash to get rid of the dust and pollen.  In the above photo, the darker area between the furniture is the real color.

Eventually, we want to ‘build in’ the gas and charcoal grills to hide the stands for a polished look.