SGR - Pool House Perfection Construction - BeforeSGR - Pool House Perfection Construction - After

Summer days in Indiana evoke images of outdoor gatherings: grilling, eating al fresco, splashing in the pool, and laughing together well into the evening hours as the kids chase fireflies in the yard. That was the dream we helped our clients realize with their new pool house.

The Challenge: Beautiful Pool Lacked a Shady Retreat

Anyone who has lived in the Midwest knows summers can be…brutal. The heat and humidity in Indiana often drive people indoors, hindering outdoor fun or limiting it to only those days where the weather is bearable. Our clients had a beautiful pool, but when they wanted to take a moment to dry off — or do a little grilling — the lack of a shady retreat meant running in and out of the house with wet suits and barbecue utensils. Instead, they wanted a self-contained outdoor living space that would put everything they needed for casual gatherings by the pool: kitchen, dining, bathroom, laundry, storage, and entertaining.

They had one critical requirement: The new construction couldn’t damage their existing pool. This would be both a design and an engineering challenge. We couldn’t wait to get started. Our talented conceptual design partner, Gary Nance, drew up the plans, and our team got to work. 

This fabulous “Splash Pad” was featured in Indianapolis Monthly Home 2022, (See page 29) as a successful way to enjoy the sun and shade living in the Midwest. Hats off to the incredible partners we had to make this effort a reality.

Our remodeling goals:

  • Create a beautiful, family-friendly outdoor entertaining space that fit the design of the main house
  • Work the new pool house into the allotted space without damaging the existing pool
  • Make the building self-contained, with everything our clients needed right at their fingertips

The Solution: Build the Perfect Pool House for Outdoor Gatherings

Designing an Outdoor Space with Functional Flow

Using materials to match the main home and carriage house, we constructed the pool house as a freestanding building to keep indoor and outdoor spaces separate and distinct. As a transitional element from house to pool area, we added a pergola-covered dining area to provide a quiet space to gather for meals.

The pool house itself is designed in zones, moving from entertaining to personal to maintenance spaces. The outer zone, used for entertaining, consists of a bar, grill, and TV lounge, complete with an outdoor fireplace with its own TV and nearby sectional sofa. On the massive central serving island, a two-level marble bar-top offers a place for serving beer from built-in taps while also lowering the sink and food prep below guests’ visibility.

Facing the bar is the cooking wall, a medley of stone and wood with powder-coated stainless steel cabinets to keep utensils, dinnerware, and barware neatly contained. Above the Wolf grill, Green Egg, and handy Sub-Zero refrigerator drawers hangs a sleek wood housing that not only ensconces a recessed television, but also disguises a commercial ventilation unit.

To the left of the bar is a short hallway leading to a changing room and on to pool house’s toilet room. Just outside the entrance to the hallway, we built an additional kitchen area — which we call the “dirty kitchen — with a full-sized refrigerator, more cooking options, and more cabinets can be left open for efficient access or hidden from view with custom-built pocket doors.

Directly behind the cooking wall, we tucked still more storage, as well as a laundry facility for taking care of wet swimsuits and towels. Everything our clients need for hosting a welcoming outdoor experience is easily within reach.

Small Details with Big Impact

Interior designer Tonya Ballew worked with our clients to select materials, furnishings, and many of the small design details that add personality and charm to the finished project. For instance, the oversized gas lanterns on each of the stone columns are installed with automatic light sensors to offer a soft, dusk-to-dawn ambience.

Recessed lights in the pool house ceiling accentuates the contrasting wood tones of the beams and paneling, while the roof’s glassed-in gable allows natural light into the pool house, preventing the shady space from tipping over into gloomy.

We also incorporated several functional elements to give our clients and their guests an easeful experience. One of our favorite details is a set of custom pull-out steps, disguised as drawers, that allow smaller children to comfortably reach the sink in the bathroom’s floating vanity.

Poolside Challenge: Installing More of a Good Thing

Our clients were so delighted by the look of the pool house’s beautiful stone flooring they asked us to extend it all the way around the pool. Protecting the pool during the pool house construction required great care – now our team would need to up their engineering and problem-solving game with even greater precision and meticulousness.

In order to create a continuous surface from the pool house that would also be flush with the sides of the 20’ x 40’ Gunite pool, we delicately removed the existing concrete deck from around the pool and its fixtures and excavated to an additional depth of 3 ½ inches to level the stone and accommodate its thickness.

Once we poured the new concrete for the deck, the stonemasons at DMA Masonry did their magic, integrating the pool house floor with a stone pool surround with breathtaking results. As a finishing touch, Gary Nance designed a cedar gate as an elegant entryway into the expertly landscaped scene. Sheer perfection!

The clients were so happy with our team’s professionalism and expertise that they asked us to handle semi-annual pool maintenance, closing the pool each fall and reopening it in the spring.