Splash pad: Inside a colorful south Charlotte pool house

Home + Garden

May 28, 2024

Pool house exterior

Designer Natalie Papier converts her garage into a marvelous midcentury-inspired pool house with Palm Springs vibes.

by Cathy Martin  |  photographs by Megan Easterday

Walking into Natalie Papier’s pool house, a former garage in her south Charlotte home, hits with a big dose of nostalgia. The mood-lifting space, completed in late 2023, evokes an era when sunscreen was optional, kids played outside till dusk, and popsicles were plentiful. But there’s a sophistication here, too, making the vivid, airy space equally inviting for adults and kids alike. 

The Home Ec. founder and co-star of Artfully Designed, the home-design show filmed in the Queen City and streaming on Max, created the indoor-outdoor space with entertaining in mind but also as a place for her family to “hang, eat and chill” without worrying about wet swimsuits in the house. In the cooler months, it’s where the family of four gathers to watch football or movies and get together with friends.  

Always eager to promote other creatives, Papier commissioned Buddy Norton and Shelby Lowe — the California husband-and-wife duo behind Canned Pineapple — to create the punchy, graphic murals. Their bold artwork brings retro energy, while pops of color via orange and teal accents complement the midcentury silhouettes and otherwise earthy color scheme.  

In the kitchenette, custom walnut shelves were designed by Ferney Mercado, a Charlotte firefighter-turned-wood artisan who does business as Char’d Urban Woodworks. Propped on one shelf is a painting by local artist Bailey Schmidt. Light streams in through a large round window on the adjacent wall, added to soften the angles of the otherwise boxy space.

Several years ago, Papier purchased the wooden bathroom cabinet at Randolph Street Market in Chicago, a steal at $250. “I fell for the design detail of the backsplash with the touches of copper and vintage beauty of the piece,” Papier says. “It had been collecting dust until I knew exactly what its purpose should be.”

The space was built for maximum functionality, too. The kitchenette with a wide pass-through window provides ample storage for snacks, drinks and other provisions and is a convenient prep space for entertaining. Checkerboard painted concrete floors have grit added for a non-slip texture. And the indoor-outdoor seating by Loll Designs is both comfortable and water-resistant.  SP

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