A rundown pool house gets a transformative facelift to make room for deep reflection and relaxation.
Easy tranquility and ethereal minimalism aren’t exactly what come to mind when we think of bustling Parisian streets and flea markets, yet that’s exactly where Rozalynn Woods says she and co-designer Michaela Scherrer found the inspiration for this zen-heavy, poolside Pasadena cabana. “We noticed there was a confluence of things happening in Europe with gray concrete floors, whimsical window coverings, and white plaster walls,” Woods says. “Earthy elements were coming into play, whether we were window-shopping or discovering the marvelous old architecture or walking in the famous Parisian gardens with all their wonderful foliage.”
The idea was to convert the dilapidated, 1,300-square-foot space into a serene hideaway for quiet reflection by the water. Think grasscloth rugs, bamboo accents, and plenty of live elements such as an indoor-outdoor weeping willow tree and vibrant water lilies. Providing a bit of respite without detracting from the view of vegetation, translucent panels filter sunlight. The designers, yoga and meditation practitioners, also called on their practices to help inform the design. Meditation cushions rather than traditional seating adorn the patio, and a coffee table acts as a vessel for soothing white sand: Play with it or sink your drink into it—whatever helps calm the nerves.
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“Light is a big part of feeling good in your space,” says Woods, and to achieve the bright, breezy vibe in the cabana, she and Scherrer focused on the use of materials, textures, and negative space—creating the illusion of the interior merging with the outdoors. Paler surfaces allow for more light reflection, Scherrer says, while translucent textiles soften sunlight without blocking it.
Places should provoke a reaction, “whether it’s love, peace, or freshness,” says Scherrer. This happens when you stock your space with objects you feel connected to. She and Woods used custom, wheeled, mobile coffee tables to imply flexibility—or freedom—and fabric panels to evoke a feeling of sensuality. But be selective, Woods warns: “If you overload the room with too many pieces, you won’t see anything.”
Bring nature into your space—visually or physically, Woods says. “If you are lucky enough that your room overlooks a beautiful yard or patio, then orient your furniture in that direction so the exterior can be part of your indoor experience,” she says. If that’s not an option, fret not: There are beautiful houseplants for every color thumb, and caring for them is good for the soul, Woods says.