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Divine Design Candice Olson



Before: Left, making over the pool house is perfect if you’re trying to give your grown children a little space of their own. After: Right, A detached pool house is converted into a cool pad for a grown daughter living at home.  SHNS photo courtesy Fine Living Network

Personal Space
Detached pool house becomes a haven for grown daughter living at home

Recent statistics show that grown children are living in their parents’ homes for a much longer time than they used to — often well into their 20s. Personally, I’d like to see what the parents think of that.

Regardless, it creates a design dilemma in the home: How do you manage to give grown children a space of their own while still keeping them part of the family?

One of my clients had a detached pool house about 10 yards from the main house. It wasn’t being used for much other than storage of typical garage junk, and it provided a washroom for swimmers so they could avoid trudging all the way through the house. It truly was a diamond in the rough.

The client’s 18-year-old daughter couldn’t afford to move out on her own and was planning to live with her parents throughout her next four years of college. Therein lay the problem: She wanted a space where she could entertain friends, have some privacy and, most importantly (so she said), a quiet place to retreat and study.

So we decided to take advantage of this unused space and convert it into a cool pad.

The space was fairly raw to begin with, so we prepped the walls and painted the inside of the room a hip silver-gray. The inside of the roll-up garage door was treated with a wide, three-stripe paint job in back, gray and white. There were already tiles on the floor, so I brought in a warm faux sheepskin rug to add warmth underfoot.

Now it was time to bring in the rest. I built in a simple kitchenette counter with a stainless-steel bar fridge and microwave. A bar counter was extended and groovy mushroom stools were brought in. This kitchenette is small but highly functional for what will be needed.

In the living area, I wanted to continue that retro feel, and I started with a red-leather sofa bed. This provides a great spot for overnight guests and gives a huge splash of color to the room. An amazing chrome floor lamp with huge tentaclelike arms brings the perfect amount of urban chic. A lot of chrome and glass accessories add sparkle and style. And of course, candles — the perfect mood-setter for small gatherings of friends.

This pool house has been transformed into an awesome teen getaway, and luckily both parents and child were thrilled. The best part, according to the daughter, is that when she gets lonely she can always head inside to Mom and Dad’s for a home-cooked meal and to use their washing machine. What else could a girl want?

Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of HGTV’s “Divine Design.” For more ideas, information and show times, visit or

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