This Can-Do Pool House Cleverly Goes From Private to Party Mode

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By Michele Koh Morollo
Built to weather a harsh, mountain climate, this sleek pool house in Park City, Utah, transitions easily from private guesthouse to party central.

Salt Lake City–based designers Jamie Bellessa and David Clyde have recently completed the interiors of a relaxed, yet stylish, pool house for a well-travelled Australian family living in Park City, Utah

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The modern pool house emphasizes indoor/outdoor living. Landscaping was done by Eschenfelder Landscape Design.

The modern pool house emphasizes indoor/outdoor living. Landscaping was done by Eschenfelder Landscape Design.

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The owners wanted a pool house that would complement their casual, worry-free approach to life, and requested a low-maintenance, poolside retreat where they could spend quality time as a family, and with their friends. They wanted a space that was simple and functional, and that integrated seamlessly with its mountain landscape. 

The 600-square-foot property is located at the base of a ski resort in Park City that sees extreme weather throughout the year, so it was designed to withstand the heavy snows of winter while taking advantage of the perfect mountain summers.  

The roof has a large tongue-and-groove wood overhang that shades the pool deck and outdoor dining area.

The roof has a large tongue-and-groove wood overhang that shades the pool deck and outdoor dining area.

In winter, the simple, sloped roofline directs snow and ice away from the pool, while the large glass walls in front of the building allow for maximum sunlight penetration during cool mornings in the summer.  A 15-inch, bi-fold glass wall on the northeast corner opens half of the house up to the outdoors.

The bi-fold glass wall opens up to, and celebrates, the pool house's natural setting.

The bi-fold glass wall opens up to, and celebrates, the pool house's natural setting.

Bellessa and Clyde designed the space to be as low-maintenance and adaptable as possible by choosing flexible, durable furniture pieces, such as a sectional that can be used both indoors and outdoors.  

"Everything is intended to blur the distinction between indoor and outdoor living," says Bellessa. 

"Everything is intended to blur the distinction between indoor and outdoor living," says Bellessa. 

Says Bellessa, "Our challenge was to design a space flexible enough to house visiting guests for a few nights, and also host large pool parties. The space can be reconfigured to adapt to these two purposes within a matter of minutes."

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The small, two-room floor plan includes a bathroom, and an open plan area that integrates a simple kitchen, a dining table for six, a hidden queen bed, and a large sectional and sitting area that comfortably seats up to eight people. 

Working with a limited color palette, the designers employed visual and tactile textures to add interest to the space. "From the white-gloss, slab-front cabinets in the kitchen, to the tone-on-tone material selections in the bathroom, the aesthetics of the space are clean and modern," says Clyde. "By keeping the paint color simple, the wood tones in the chairs and sectional have a greater importance in the space, reinforcing the visual connection between the outside and inside environments." 

Clean, simple colors allow wood tones to glow, tying back to the outdoor environment.

Clean, simple colors allow wood tones to glow, tying back to the outdoor environment.

The duo used simple fit-outs that would require little upkeep, such as honed concrete floors.

"The idea was to create a more refined extension of the concrete pool deck," says Bellessa. "The interior concrete allows wet feet to come in from outside without having to worry of slipping or making a mess of the floors."

To keep the space flexible and functional, Bellessa and Clyde designed a built-in Murphy bed that can be pulled down to accommodate a guest. When stowed away, the bed’s painted panel disappears into the wall—and frees up floor space for parties.   

To keep the space flexible and functional, Bellessa and Clyde designed a built-in Murphy bed that can be pulled down to accommodate a guest. When stowed away, the bed’s painted panel disappears into the wall—and frees up floor space for parties.   

Tongue-and-groove wood ceilings run front-to-back in the space, extending beyond the glass walls to the exterior soffit of the structure. Close to half of all the exterior walls are glass and metal. The uninterrupted lines of can lights extend from the outside to the inside, further strengthening the visual connection between interior and exterior.   

Brass accents brighten up the multifunctional space.

Brass accents brighten up the multifunctional space.

Brass used for the cabinet hardware, two large hanging chandeliers at either end of the space, and metal picture frames imbue the interiors with a warm, cozy glow at night.

Resting on casters, a white oak island nestles under the quartz island in kitchen.

Resting on casters, a white oak island nestles under the quartz island in kitchen.

To meet their client’s need to host large groups within the limited floor space, the designers came up with the idea of a double island to provide additional seating, or areas for serving food.   

On a regular day, the large waterfall quartz island serves as a kitchen table that accommodates up to eight people. A slightly smaller, white oak island nestles naturally underneath this quartz island, sitting on casters and fully independent of the quartz island. This white oak island doubles the surface area of useable tabletop to provide additional serving or seating space for up to eight more people. When needed, this wood island can be pulled out onto the pool deck to function as an outdoor serving or prep area for food and drinks as well. 

A wooden chair and fiddle leaf fern are calming accents in the sleeping area.

A wooden chair and fiddle leaf fern are calming accents in the sleeping area.

Custom woodwork continues to the bathroom, where a teak shelf runs above the vanity, extending through the glass shower wall into the shower itself to serve as storage space for both wet and dry areas of the bathroom. 

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A skylight that extends from above the vanity through to the living area past an interior wall was incorporated into the bathroom to draw in more natural light.

Custom woodwork adds helpful shelving in the bathroom, while a long skylight draws in natural light.

Custom woodwork adds helpful shelving in the bathroom, while a long skylight draws in natural light.

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"In a high mountain environment, weather was our biggest challenge," says Clyde. "With a short building season, it was important to get key components built while the weather allowed for it. Despite some construction delays, we were able to get the project installed quickly once the building was turned over to us. Our clients trusted our design vision and were extremely easy to work, allowing the project to flow easily from initial concept to their first large pool party of the year."

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Project Credits: 

Architecture: Republic of Rational Design 

Builder: Eschen Felder Landscaping and Jerem 

Landscape design: Eschen Felder Landscaping and Jeremy Pendelton 

Interior, lighting and cabinetry design: Jamie Bellessa and David Clyde of Jamie Bellessa 

Cabintery installation: Woodcraft Mill 

Furniture: Millbrook Furniture 

Kitchen counter: Bedrock Quartz