“IT WAS IN pretty horrible shape when I got here,” says interior designer Barbara Hyde Evans.
Apparently the old pool house at the end of the drive to this Medina waterfront home was not a thing like this pool house: this Norman fantasy of elegance, comfort and practicality.
Not bad for a project that began with thoughts of a bigger garage.
“The original thing I was thinking was that I needed more parking,” says Mike, the homeowner. “The kids (three boys) were getting to the age where they would be driving. I needed a garage.”
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He reports that the old pool house was fairly dilapidated, didn’t heat very well and had rot issues.
The new structure, designed by Gelotte Hommas Architecture and built by Bob Talbott Construction, gives Mike not only a three-bay garage but a new upstairs guest suite and the entire family a welcoming place to play and entertain.
It was Hyde Evans’ job to make it so, focusing desires and translating those into fabric and stone, furnishings and window treatments, lighting and tile.
“Whenever a client isn’t sure what they want we do a book; put together pictures of everything and anything they like,” Hyde Evans says.
“Eventually that was leading us to a Norman style; English and French but cleaned up: 11th and 12th century in Normandy, the beginning of the Gothic period, very much Romanesque, but both countries were doing their own thing. After the Norman conquest, they blended, and it was easy because they were so similar.”
Clearly, Hyde Evans, who also holds a degree in fine art and studied art history, has given the project a lot of thought.
She had to. While there is a good-sized pool and hot tub outside the French doors, the homeowners wanted more from this space.
“It is also the guesthouse, entertainment space; it’s a little bit of everything,” Hyde Evans says. “But it’s still a pool house. We had to make sure that if somebody sat down in bathing suits it would be OK.” (Fabrics are indoor-outdoor.)
The clients’ homework revealed a preference for neutrals with spots of bright color. “This blue (teal) is her favorite color,” Hyde Evans says, patting the velvet blue pillows on the living-room sofa. She is seated upon ottomans outfitted with casters; seating easily moved. They were designed to sit around a substantial marble coffee table; for casual dining? a place to play board games? The dining table, with four leaves, seats 10. All are set before a large Rumford fireplace flanked by tall, arched bookcases. Walls and ceilings are soft white; large, stained fir beams and lantern lights offer the conviviality of an old tavern.
Upstairs is a dream in many shades of green, starting with the emerald velvet cushions of the chairs by the fireplace here. The guest bedroom is fit for, if not a king, darned close to it. Cathy Conner of Studio C painted the box valance over the bed to seamlessly match the fabric there. The effect of it draws the eye straight up, to the beams of the arched ceiling; feudal and contemporary.
Every space holds something old, something new. Subtle contemporary touches (white kitchen subway tile, wall-to-wall Chilewich Plynyl on the exercise-room floor), highlighting older pieces. “I just love an antique in every room because it makes a room look authentic,” Hyde Evans says.
This will be the new pool house’s first summer. Its family can’t wait to, ah-hem, dive in.
“When you look at something on paper it’s hard to envision it,” Mike says. “But everything came out better than we thought it could be.”
Rebecca Teagarden writes about architecture and design for Pacific NW magazine. Benjamin Benschneider is a magazine staff photographer.