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Alfresco lifestyle by CG&S Design-Build

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Pool pavilion designed by Gregory Thomas

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Take one steep, undeveloped back yard, terrace it with a series of decks and a pool, and you have a recipe for an idyllic outdoor entertainment area for all the family.

This is precisely what CG&S Design-Build architect Gregory Thomas has done for this property, to maximize a previously undeveloped rear yard with a steep gradient.

"There was an existing ramp leading down from the house to the yard, but the two parts of the property felt very disconnected," says Thomas. "The owners wanted to improve the link between the top and bottom. The terraced decks achieve this. They end with the pool house at the bottom, which is on a slightly lower level than the pool – we were always chasing the gradient."

Thomas says the owners also wanted to leave as many of the mature live oak trees on the site as possible.

"Working with an arborist, we tiptoed around the roots of the trees preparing the footings, and were able to leave most of the trees undisturbed so they can partially shade the decks and pool."


In keeping with the owners' desire for a rustic, cabin-style pool pavilion, there are tapered columns clad in 12in California Blend slate tiles. Smaller 6in Lueders limestone tiles clad planter boxes, a fire pit and spa pool.

"The slate and the tapered columns repeat a design element at the front entry, so there is visual continuity," says Thomas. "Handmade copper sconces match the copper hood above the fire pit, and also reference copper fixtures on the front porch."

The pavilion caters to all the owners' entertainment needs, and includes a full kitchen, dining area, bar and casual seating area around the fire pit – there is even a foosball table, an outdoor shower and a separate toilet room.

To create the look of a rustic cabin in the woods, the interior is lined with weathered ipe wood siding, with cypress boards on the ceiling. Storage is provided by open shelving and drawers.

Kitchen facilities include a beer refrigerator, icemaker, grill, burners and two Big Green Egg kamado cooking pots for smoking meat and fish. Both the pots and the grill have overhead hoods to clear steam and odors.

Thomas says a large ceiling fan and the position of the building openings help to keep the dining area cool and maximize ventilation. Provision has also been made for adding insect screens at a future date, if desired. Similarly, an area at one side could one day become a small gym for the owners.

In the meantime, the pool house is creating the perfect year-round escape for family and friends.

First published date: 19 December 2013

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Credit List

Architect Gregory Thomas AIA, CG&S Design-Build (Austin, TX)
Builder CG&S Design-Build
Cabinet company Honea Custom Cabinetry
Cabinets Cypress wood and shelving
Countertops Vyara granite from Architectural Tile & Stone
Tile flooring Buff from Stone Creek Pavers
Pool coping, surrounds to fire pit, spa and planters Lueders Limestone
Doors and windows Pella Windows
Lighting and brazier hood Copper vent hood and light fixtures from Two Hills Studio
Blinds Pella Designer Series in Tomato
Grills, side burners, drawers and ventilation hoods DCS
Power cooker burner Alfresco VersaPower cooker
Kamado pots Big Green Egg
Sink Kohler Undertone
Faucet Grohe Ladylux3
Refrigeration DCS; U-Line Echelon