Pool House by Kristina Crestin

Designer Kristina Crestin takes an unexpected approach to a Marblehead pool patio.

Photo by James R. Salomon

For interior designer Kristina Crestin, this Marblehead pool house was an opportunity to create coastal living style without traditional nautical markers “like chunky woven furniture and boat motifs,” Crestin explains. “We wanted to create a more interesting, layered, sophisticated space that nods to the nearby ocean without being overtly coastal.”

The project’s original focus was an interior living room, but, as Crestin explains, the attention soon shifted to the patio and pool house that had been designed a few years prior by local architectural firm Siemasko + Verbridge, and constructed by Marblehead’s Essex Building Company. “We began to discuss the interior project in early 2015, but as summer approached, the homeowners were interested in redirecting our resources toward updating the pool house,” Crestin notes. However, the influence of the interior continued to be present throughout the design process: “The clients were very open to a variety of creative choices. For the color palette of the pool house, we decided to bring some of the colors found in the interior to the outside—light periwinkle, navy, chocolate, and white.”

Gold and antique brass accents throughout the space add an unexpected “West Coast feel,” says Crestin. The Restoration Hardware chandelier, a bold statement piece, was one of Crestin’s early design decisions. “Deciding on such a strong piece before the rest of the design was in place was a bit of a risk,” she notes, “but the graphic feel is really striking, and it fills the volume of the space. We decided, ‘go big or go home!’” The fixture’s blackish-bronze hue echoes the existing exterior light fixtures, and flows well with the antique brass Restoration Hardware chair, another early find. “I stumbled upon the chair and fell in love,” Crestin adds. “From there, the coppery-brass coffee table from Casa Designs fit perfectly, along with the gold geode table and accessories. The brighter tone really pops with the more muted color palette of the sofa and armchairs.” Crestin also worked with Perennials Fabrics to create custom rods for outdoor drapes in a quiet periwinkle shade. “Originally we planned for the drapes to be in the pool house only, but they looked so pretty after we installed them that we ordered for the grill area,” she adds.

The full extent of the project included a redesign of the home’s patio and dining area as well. “The footprint of the pool and patio already existed, but the space wasn’t really being used to its fullest extent,” Crestin explains. “The client wanted a space where they could sit, relax, enjoy a meal, and entertain.” The design incorporates a custom lightweight concrete table, a unique alternative to a more customary outdoor piece. “We ruled out teak pretty quickly,” Crestin explains. “The concrete is perfect because it’s durable, can seat 10 to 12 people, and relates to the stone patio really nicely.” Brass dining chairs add a bright pop to the minimalist stone, but the space’s real star is the graphic, striking sun shade, a custom-made sail created by Sperry Fabric Architecture, a division of Sperry Sails. “Sperry was an incredible company to work with,” says Crestin. “Matt Sperry, head of the division, personally visited the property and designed a sail that would provide the maximum amount of shade from the sun and would minimize water runoff.” The piece fills the space, both fashionable and functional with an understated coastal elegance. “The shade is extremely low maintenance for the client as well,” Crestin adds. “The company visits the property at the beginning and end of each season to put up and take down the shade.”

Crestin also created a grill area and island that would provide a more casual dining experience. “The grill area was a bit narrow, so a full-sized table wasn’t right. In the end, we went with another lightweight concrete piece that was half the size of the dining table—it serves as a sort of island with stools for the family to gather by the grill.

The end result is a beautiful, serene space that is first and foremost functional. “Toward the end of the project, I visited the property to check out a few finishing touches,” Crestin recalls. “When I arrived, I found the kids in the family in the pool house. They’d drawn all the drapes and pushed the furniture together, and they were having a Jaws movie night with some friends. It was such a cool moment for me, to see them really using the space, and a great reminder that real life happens when the design is done.”