Date: September 6, 2018 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Lauren Cerrato |
Thanks to an amenity-filled backyard there’s no need for this family of five to head out of town for a getaway
Sometimes the greatest escape is one nearby. Case in point: Angie and Hunter McMillen’s Little Rock backyard. “We had a boat, and we enjoyed going to the lake, but we didn’t have a lake house,” Hunter says. “I thought, ‘One day I will have a house there, and I’ll enjoy boating all day and not having to drive back home, but until then let’s sell the boat and build a pool and get our priorities right. Now, we use this more than we ever used our boat.”
Hunter, who is a contractor by trade and owns McMillen Group Construction, Inc., did the lion’s share of the work himself, bringing to life a vision he and his wife shared for their family of five. He built the entire pavilion structure—including the attached interior quarters, which house his wood-working shop—constructing the trusses from Douglas Firs he had shipped in from Dallas. “I hand-carved them all and then did mortise-and-tenon joints. There’s not one single fastener except for these 1 ¼-inch dowels that are holding all that together,” he says.
The front pavilion features a wood-burning Rumford-style fireplace, allowing the space to be a popular hangout long after the warmth of summer nights has passed. Tiled floors and teak furnishings add to its interior-worthy comforts. “Teak starts to go bad after a while,” Hunter notes, “and I loved the luster of this furniture, so I covered these with seven coats of spar varnish for a marine finish. I wanted them to be yacht-ready.”
Hunter’s friend David Chappell of David Chappell Landscape & Design installed the key components of the pool’s interior, and Hunter finished it out with glass tiles that line the interior perimeter. “They are laid in white mortar because they are completely transparent,” he says of the tiles. “I didn’t want a real aggressive color. The Marbelite plaster in the pool has three or four different colors of glass beads in it—from light aqua to green to darker blue—coupled with the azure of the sky, it sort of makes it a perfect aqua color for the water.” A fountain topped with a spherical feature adds to the sensory experience.
While lounging by the pool is the preference on most days, Hunter also reimagined the home’s existing deck by creating a covered dining space that matches the pool in both style and material. Angie scored the table and chairs (which are Hans Wegner replicas) at a garage sale, and the couple ordered the swing chair from Serena & Lily to complete the personalized family retreat. This area offers the perfect place to host friends and family or relax with a glass of wine at the end of the day.
Contractor and design Hunter McMillen, McMillen Group Construction, Inc. Fireplace (installation) Orange Brady Fireplace (materials) Antique Brick & Block Pool (installation) David Chappell Landscape & Design and McMillen Group Construction, Inc. Railings Aluminum Arts Tile (pavilion) Acme Brick, Tile & Stone