Diving In


Cynthia Spence makes a splash in a pool house kitchen for a family of six

MOST PEOPLE WHO own a home for over 15 years would rather find something new than renovate. However, designer Cynthia Spence’s clients knew the Saratoga home they lived in with their four daughters for the majority of their lives would forever be their family’s hub.

“The house was old with a lot of deferred maintenance,” says Spence about the project. “The main issue was a beautiful oak tree that sat in the middle of the property that you can’t take down in a city like Saratoga.” A numberof local architects suggested demoing the entire property and constructing a two-story Craftsman. However, Spence’s suggestion of creating a U-shaped home that would wrap around the tree was the winning concept. The clients’ and their four daughters, who all moved back home after college, truly use their house. Because the couple often entertain their big, extended family, creating spaces that catered to their gatherings took precedence.

In an effort to curate multiple opportunities for family celebrations, Spence began by putting lots of love into the kitchen inside a 900-square-foot pool house. “The location and topography begged for farmhouse style,” says Spence of the rustic yet modern design. Doors by Fleetwood open to reveal walls covered in Strong White by Farrow and Ball that draw focus to the vibrant backsplash adorned in Fired Opal Zellige tiles by Clé.”I love the tile so much,”notes the designer.”The watery saturation of teal gives a reflection of the pool.”

Spence designed custom cabinets that merge with custom shiplap details of the Saarinen table and Platner and counter stone from Da Vinci Marble. Lighting from Schoolhouse and Atelier de Troupe enhances the modern farmhouse style that reigns throughout the space.