Well, my new backyard casita and pool caused quite the stir last week, so as promised, it’s time for a look inside!
As I mentioned in last week’s post about my Casita and Pool Addition . . . this space was planned as a multi-functional space for my family. It would be a rec space for the kids, an office space for the adults, a storage room for our small house, and a guest space for visitors. One size fits all depending on the hour, day or season. And then, when we decided to add a pool to our backyard, it gained the important role of pool house.
Given all these needs, and just under 350 square feet to work with, I had some serious desires when designing the space.
An Open, Flexible Floor Plan
I wanted the casita to be an open space for the kids to romp. They might build a fort or a huge Lego city – or tumble around with the dog. My husband and I might work out or do yoga in the space. So for now, ⅔ of the space is furnished primarily with a drop leaf table that can be centered if in full use (like holding a buffet when we entertain in the backyard), or pushed up near the wall when not in use (or when it’s just being used as a desk by my husband or me). The space is large enough that we could someday add a foosball table or the like should the kids want it enough to give up the flexibility, but for now we are enjoying the wide open space!
A TV and Lounge Area
My husband has visions of spending a quiet Saturday out here napping and watching college football. (We’ll see!) Someday, when we loosen the reins on video games, I can imagine my children and their friends getting serious out here with a game system. (Because Lord knows I don’t want to hear all that racket in the house!) And of course, when Grandma comes to stay, she can now watch “her shows” whenever she wants.
I’ve always been one to shoo playdates outside as much as possible, so this was a priority from the start. Muddy kids don’t need to come inside to pee! Once we decided to add the pool, the extra bathroom became even more important! Wet kids don’t have to come inside to pee! Of course, adding the shower, means that the space is now fully functional as a guest house as well. Mostly, this is for when family comes to visit, but we have also preserved the option that we could rent it out for weekends in our bustling city of Austin, Texas, should we someday decide to.
Some Kitchen Functionality
Our home’s kitchen is NOT located near the backyard, which can make outdoor entertaining cumbersome. Although we didn’t have the budget for a full outdoor kitchen or the space for a full kitchenette in the casita, we did make some design choices to improve the situation. One obvious solution was to add a fridge. Muddy, wet kids don’t need to come inside for snacks or drinks. (See a pattern here ;). Plus, it’ll be nice to have extra fridge space for holidays and party prep! Secondly, we placed the the sink just outside the bathroom. This way, I was able to make the vanity / counter a respectable size, and have it serve multiple purposes.
Durable Outdoor & Kid Friendly Furniture
The furnishings here were carefully chosen for durability and ability to withstand moisture. The sofa, end table, side chair, and dining chairs are all indoor/outdoor furniture! The purpose is two-fold: wet, muddy kids can sit on them without fuss … and we can pull them outside if need be for rocking pool parties! The table and storage pieces are indoor furniture, but nothing is too precious. The rug nearest the doors is also indoor/outdoor, and the rug in the more protected lounge area is a durable wool.
Our main house is seriously lacking in storage, so we needed to add some to the casita. For maximum flexibility we installed an Elfa system along one wall. Pretty baskets line the top shelf with things in long-term storage (like holiday decor and childhood memorabilia) and the curtains hide things (like luggage, winter coats and sleeping bags) that can’t be stuffed into cute baskets! Additionally, a couple of bookcases house a few books, games, and toys along with extra swimwear and towels. Finally, an heirloom credenza serves as our kitchen cabinet, storing outdoor dinnerware and cups.
Now, observant readers might notice something is missing in this “guest space”. Initially, I imagined a sleeper sofa in this space and agonized over the choices, but just wasn’t finding something to meet ALL my needs (which were many!). So, in the end, we decided we’d rather have a durable, good-looking outdoor sofa and bring in the bed only as needed. My creative solution was to buy a collapsible metal bed frame, which is easy to store, and then top it with a proper mattress from the house when company comes, which for us is generally about twice a year. Since we already have 4 twin mattresses between my 2 kids’ trundle beds and almost all our guests are singletons, this works great for us. When my mother comes to town (our primary guest), we just set up her bed on the open side of the casita, and she still has her “living room” on the other side – no bed conversion needed! (I promise to share pics of that set-up the next time she comes to town.)
So there it is: our playroom / office / guestroom / storage room / pool house! The space has been a dream so far and we look forward to using it hard and well!
Come back later this week to Shop the Casita, when I’ll share some of my product sources with you. And remember, if you are struggling to make your real home work hard to meet the various needs of your family, Kate and I can help! Check out our services page to request a local design consultation in Austin, TX, or click the red Request a Project button to get started on your E-design package from anywhere in the nation! We’d love to help bring more bliss to your real home!