Date: February 10, 2021 | Story: Stephanie Maxwell Newton | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
Designer Katie Rees helps a Carlisle couple make the most of their outdoor living space while connecting its style to their recent renovation
Before this home’s outdoor living areas were remodeled, its owners had a problem: The spaces were only usable for a few months of the year. Now, thanks to a renovation that included enclosing an open cabana to create a pool house and furnishing the front porch, one of the happy homeowners describes a more welcome dilemma: “It’s hard to pick a place to sit!” she laughs. “We have so many favorite spots now. It’s all so relaxing and inviting.”
For this transformation, she and her husband have designer Katie Rees to thank. They started working with Katie on their interiors (featured in the May 2020 issue of At Home), then gradually worked their way outside. “After working together to lighten all the home’s dark, rustic cedar interiors, we quickly moved on to update the exterior, as well,” Katie says. One of the biggest challenges was turning the pavilion into a true indoor/outdoor space. “It had gone through two or three different phases, but until Katie got her hands on it, we were never quite satisfied,” one of the homeowners says. “It was originally open on both ends, but that limited it to really about two months out of the year. Then we tried to close it in with curtains; we just knew it had more potential.” When enclosing the space, the team added not only walls and windows, but insulation and
air conditioning units as well to make it comfortable,
no matter the season.
Once enclosed, Katie set to work updating finishes and furnishings to coordinate with the main house’s style while maintaining poolside durability. For example, flagstone flooring was replaced with tile to give the pool house a more interior feel, and both the tile and outdoor furnishings ensure the space is family, dog, and swimmer friendly. Original cedar beams complement the pool house’s new white paint color, while industrial elements—including the star of the show, a glass-front garage door—tie the space’s modern farmhouse feel to the main home. “We came up with the idea of the garage door because it’s aesthetically appealing, but you can still see the beautiful view outside,” Katie says.
The updates extend to the front porch as well as various seating and dining areas around the pool, all of which flow seamlessly with the overall design of the home. “It’s become our family gathering room now, especially during these times,” one of the homeowners says. “It’s made it possible to have get-togethers with our extended family while keeping our distance.”
Stylish loungers offer a view of the pool as well as a lake beyond, where the homeowners and their family take boat rides and fully enjoy the natural setting of their property.
Seating around a fireplace in the pool house offers a cozy hangout in the cooler months of the year, while the mantel provides a connection to the home’s history. “The story goes that this was an old homestead before we built out here,” an owner says. “Neighbors tell us that across the pond in front of the house was the county road, and travelers would pass by here in covered wagons and stop by the pond.” When the owners lost one of their huge black walnut trees near the pond to lightning, they saved some of the wood and were able to make this mantel as well as several others for friends.
The comfort and ease of use is what really makes this fit our style.” —homeowner
Room with a View
A dining area allows for spillover seating from the pool house as well as the screened-in porch off the back of the house. “The screened porch is a favorite for me. You’re higher up so you can see the pool and the lake, and it’s a wonderful morning coffee spot,” one of the homeowners says. Stafford Fine Gardening landscaped the beds around the house using native grasses and seasonal color that connect the house to the natural beauty of the property.
One of the most-loved areas of the pool house is an expansive kitchen with all the bells and whistles for entertaining a crowd. A pizza oven and smoker were original to the outdoor pavilion kitchen, while the commercial range was replaced during the renovation, this time with a charbroiler perfect for cookouts. “The homeowner is such a good cook—he does these amazing gourmet pizzas,” Katie says. “He has said he uses this kitchen even more than the one in his house.” Over the range, industrial-inspired sconces complement the Currey & Co. chandelier that is a focal point for the structure.
There were so many special spots around their land with opportunities for different hangout zones. It’s such a fun and happy farmhouse that fits their surroundings so well.” —Katie Rees, designer
Across the house’s wide front porch, Katie created two seating areas, including one with a custom swing bed. “We love sitting out there in the evenings and having a glass of wine on the porch looking out over the pond,” the homeowner says. “You can also walk through this house, from outside to inside to out again, and never feel like you’ve left the house. Katie made it all flow so well.”
Interior design Katie Rees, Katie Grace Designs Landscape design Stacey Stafford, Stafford Fine Gardening Accessories Katie Grace Designs and Tanarah Luxe Floral Doors Arkansas Custom Iron Doors Flagstone Stevens Stone Supply Flagstone (installation) Roberts Masonry Flooring (pool house and porch) First Quality Tile Furniture Antique Brick Outdoor and Katie Grace Designs Garage door Royal Overhead Door Pool Grindley Pool Co.