Creating a Relaxing Retreat in Your Own Backyard
By Jane Claspy Nesmith
A private built-in pool can offer homeowners a beautiful place to exercise and relax. Add a stylish pool house, and a pool can be a great place to entertain, too—a private resort right next door.
One Cedar Rapids family has made this fantasy a reality by building a pool and pool house adjacent to their home. With the help of Project Manager Mark Russell and Design and Selections Coordinator Laurie Schubert of Jim Sattler Custom Homes, they created a vacation destination, just steps from their home.
The pool’s setting is very private; you can’t spot it from the street. The builder, architect, and Pool Tech staff worked to integrate it into the natural landscape. Because of the slope leading down to the pool, this was a challenge, but the outcome is stunning. Backed up by a handsome stone retaining wall along one side, the pool looks out over a wooded valley, part of the homeowners’ property.
Natural colors were used in the pool area so that it blends in with its surroundings: the stamped concrete area around the pool is a rich brown, and the interior of the pool is also dark. The interior finish of the pool was first used in Canada. It incorporates a quartz aggregate, creating a rich underwater look. The pool is also unusual in that it is trimmed with an iridescent glass tile which in the sunlight creates a sparkling effect against the water. Also incorporated into the pool is a custom water feature developed by the architect and Pool Tech. Situated about two feet above the pool, this water feature creates a waterfall/rain stream that kids and adults enjoy. A unique shelf at the opposite end of the pool provides an area where the water is just ankle-deep, perfect for wading or for sitting in a lounge chair on a sunny day.
In the summer, five potted Mediterranean and windmill palm trees grace the site; in the winter they are moved for wintering-over in a climate controlled space until late spring or early summer. Hardy dwarf fountain grasses and whispering dwarf pines stay year round, adding to the natural look of the area. At the back of the pool area is a full-sized, 60-foot bocce ball court, gas fire-pit, and an additional landscaped water feature. Those additional features make the pool area a great spot for entertaining even if it’s too cool to swim. All along the edge of the pool area is a custom iron fence.
Having a gorgeous pool like this means family will enjoy staying home and friends will love to visit. And the pool house on this property offers a luxurious and comfortable place to gather with friends and family, whatever the occasion. The exterior of the pool house was constructed to work in harmony with the existing home, both in color and stone. At one side of the pool house, there’s a built-in gas grill for outdoor cooking. All along the pool side of the pool house are La Cantina doors, glass doors that offer great views. On warm days, all the doors can be folded back, opening up the pool house and making barrier-free entertaining possible.
Homeowner and builder worked together to create an interior for the pool house that brings together contemporary elements with a relaxed beachy feel. Painted wood ceilings with beams run through the central entertaining area, surrounded by knotty cherry trim. The floor is tiled throughout in an oversized lineal tile that evokes the feeling of swirling tide pools. Sun streams in through many windows and warm days bring in breezes, too.
A spacious two-level bar features Silestone quartz and India Black Pearl granite tops. There’s room for seating all along the front and sides of the bar, and all those seats have a great view of the large-screen TV mounted on the wall. Pendant lights hang over the bar—they’re custom-made in Vermont of hand-forged wrought iron. A full refrigerator, icemaker, and two sinks make it easy to serve up snacks and drinks.
Next to the bar area, the great room offers a space to sit and chat—there’s a stacked stone gas fireplace plenty of seating space, and more windows letting in light and views from the wooded property. A cabana-style shower room, separate bath, lockers, and washer/dryer complete the space. It’s meant to be used year-round—the heating, central air, sound system, and lighting are all centrally controlled and programmable.
Whether it’s for entertaining or just a relaxing swim after work, a pool and pool house add a special touch to a home. For this family, the custom installation and design added entertainment value and luxury that are built to last.
Jim Sattler Custom Homes
3801 River Ridge Dr NE, Cedar Rapids
Iowa Stone Supply
1530 Stamy Rd, Hiawatha
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Landscape by Design, Inc.
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Pool Tech Midwest
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K & K Ornamental
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