Choosing a Pool Design to Match Your House

Tired of this winter weather? Today I’m bringing you a little summer sunshine!

Charles and I have definitely kicked around the idea of adding a pool to our backyard someday, but really wouldn’t know where to begin with choosing a style. Enter Carol Atkins! Carol writes for and is here to tell you how to choose the pool that’s right for your house.


When we bought our current house, we wanted to install a swimming pool in our wonderful new back yard. I did a lot of research about pool design, and got a much better idea of what would work for us. I wanted a design that would complement our house, and came up with some great ideas.

First look at the space. I first had to evaluate how much space we had, and how that would dictate our pool choice. We were fortunate enough to have bought a house with a large back yard, and so I could have almost any pool design I wanted. One of our neighbors wasn’t so lucky, and she said they had to tailor the shape of the pool to fit their fairly small yard. The yard also had an odd shape, so they chose a pool that looked like a lima bean – but it curved to fit their yard nicely. So the first thing to look at is the space you’re working with.


Next look at the house. Our new house is a two story red brick, a colonial style. I couldn’t see putting some jazzy curvy pool in the back yard, with black tile all around. So I was looking at what style of pool would fit for us. Our house is all about long straight lines and right angles. A curved pool didn’t seem appropriate. So I decided to stick with a standard rectangular design. I laid it out in my mind parallel to the house, so it wouldn’t look odd having a pool at an angle where everything else goes along straight lines.


Take a look at colors. Once I had decided on a rectangular pool, I looked at color options – both for the surfaces of the pool, and the decking surrounding the pool. Once again, with a stately colonial, I wasn’t about to get an exotic color for the bottom of the pool – it just wouldn’t blend with the house at all. I stayed with basic white concrete. The trim on the house is basic white, so I thought that would work well. It doesn’t draw attention to itself because it’s so common a color for pools.

A lot can be done with accents. What is the dominant feature of our house? It is the red bricks which make up the exterior. I got with a pool designer, and found out that they could lay decking using a red brick pool paving – that would blend very nicely with the bricks on the house. We laid a deck of those bricks about 4 feet out from the pool – about the same distance you would for a plain concrete decking. It was beautiful! When you stand behind the pool and look past it at the house, there’s a sort of seamless effect that is very subtle, but outstanding.


What about the plants. In the back yard, we already have a lot of plants next to the house, and along the fence. I like to design things, and I’m big on white space – I don’t want to have an area so busy and cluttered that you notice it. I found some low green plants to set next to the pool, which would complement the plants along the back wall of our house. I added a couple Hawaiian hibiscus that gave the area just a touch of the exotic, without dominating the space.

The main thing I wanted to accomplish when I designed our back yard pool was to have it blend well with our house, and be pleasing to the eye, specifically my eye. Now I have a pool that makes me smile every time I walk out into the back yard – and that’s really the point.


About Carol: Carol Atkins has 3 kids with her wonderful husband – two boys and a girl – and two lovely black Labradors. When she’s not working out with aqua aerobics in the family pool, she spends hours watching the kids and dogs play and have fun. She also helps out doing volunteer work at her church. She currently writes for

If you would like to be a guest blogger, please comment below or contact me at 702parkavenue {at} gmail {dot} com.


Living in the Gutter

Today’s guest post comes from none other than my other half…the one who keeps me sane through this project…the calm one.  Yep, my husband Charles is here to talk to you kids about something really exciting: gutters!!  And just to get you in the mood, here’s a shot of our metal roof from about 2 months ago. (The boom has been broken so we haven’t been able to get any shots lately. Hopefully soon though!)


roof 2

Hello All!  My name is Charles and I am the other piece of this beautiful 702 Park Project. Lately we have been doing a lot of sorting through old pictures and seeing what has happened so far. It can be a lot of fun to see how the house has transformed. However, sometimes when we are looking at pictures, we look at the same thing, and we talk about the same thing, but we confuse ourselves anyway. It’s time for a little vocabulary lesson.

Here’s a shot of our gutters before we got to work on them:

park 3
park 2

Not looking too good, huh?  For the sake of “the lesson,” here is a picture of hidden gutters that are very similar to ours:


See how the roof shingles stop, then there is a vertical metal face, then a gutter, then the metal continues out to the edge of the roof and drops down? Here is a cross section that will make it easier to picture:


Our house does not have the masonry wall, but the rest is the same. For the sake of clarity look at this:


Our house is the same. We have rafters, ceiling joists, soffits, soffit vents, lookout boards, fascia boards, roof sheathing, etc. The only real difference is that where this picture stops at the fascia board, we have a gutter that makes that “fascia board” into the vertical inner edge of the gutter.  This means the lookout boards are elongated and dropped down slightly. If you look back at the second picture, you can quickly see how the fascia board in the third picture is the inner face of the gutter in the second.  Are y’all still with me?

The gutter, when properly maintained, is actually quite foolproof. Note in the second picture that the exterior face of the gutter is shorter than the interior face. Lets just say, hypothetically, that someone in unable to convince their contractor/husband/brother-in-law/dad/son/brother/sister to climb a 35 foot extension ladder to sweep the leaves out of the gutters. The clog would keep the water from being able to reach a downspout and force the water to pool in the gutter. The front face is shorter so the water can run off at any point and not back up into the eves! Now, we wouldn’t be doing all this work if the system had worked perfectly. It does require maintenance.  Unfortunately, we know our gutters were not maintained for about 10 years, but there is not a single water-mark inside the house. The gutters failed, but failed in such a way that they protected the house. In my opinion, the system worked.

Now I know that anyone who has ever had to go clean out their cutters are looking at this and saying, “Where does the water go, and what happens when leaves clog the whole thing up?”


That hole is one of our new downspouts from the top view. The downspout connects to a downtube just like any other gutter downspout.  Also, look for a post coming up soon on how to repair/maintain these things so we don’t put the house right back like how we found it.

So lastly, next time someone says “Those gutters are going to cause you a lifetime of headaches, you should just tear the whole system off” I’m going to send them this:


If you are interested in being a guest blogger, please comment below or email me at 702parkavenue {at} gmail {dot} com!

Lauren’s Favorite Homes

Today’s guest post comes from Lauren of siddathornton.  Lauren and I “met” a few months ago through her weekly link party, The Sunday Currently.  Be sure to check out her blog.  I know you’ll enjoy her writing as much as I do!
When I was around 12 years old, my family was looking to move house, & so our search for the perfect abode began. After school & on weekends, my parents, sister, & I would drive slowly through our favorite neighborhoods in search of the one. Through this journey, I discovered my love for certain styles of houses, which I’d like to share with y’all today.
photo source: family archives
First up, we have the Foursquare. Remember that journey to find the perfect home I talked about earlier? Well, this was the result of that quest. It is a Foursquare home that was built in 1916, & it is the place I came home to during the end of middle school, all through high school & college, & still come home to today. As you can tell from the photo, the original bones of the house have been expanded upon, adding a sunroom & office off to the right side. The porch was also added in later years.
I think the thing I love most about Foursquares is that they are often very old, very historic homes. An interesting tidbit about my parents’ house is that, one block over, an identical house was built. And even better, the house belonged to my middle school friend, so we were able to see the inside & compare the different remodeling aspects the two houses had undergone throughout the years.
To learn more about the Foursquare, go here.
photo source: Antique Home Style
Secondly, I fell in love with the Bungalow Style, which is prevalent in my parents’ neighborhood as well. I love this style so much, that I hope Justin & I will be able to find a cozy bungalow to call our own one day. I don’t have a photo, but there is an orange home of this style on my parents’ street, & it is my all-time favorite.
To read more about Bungalows & see examples, go here.
photo source: Antique Home Style
The last style I want to share with y’all today is the Craftsman Style. Similar to the Bungalow, Justin & I are smitten with this selection, especially the intricate woodwork on the peak of the house, as is best seen in Montgomery Ward’s Newcastle, which is pictured above.
To further check out the Craftsman style, go here.
Through my research for this post, I stumbled upon the website I’ve linked for home examples – Antique Home Style, on which there are a wealth of vintage home plans & information about the different home styles. So cool!

Sarah, thank you so much for having me as a guest on your blog today! I greatly enjoyed compiling this post of my favorite home styles.

The Forgotten Holiday

Today’s guest post comes from my Aunt Ruth! She and I are both overjoyed that our entire family will be together on Thursday, and then again the day after Christmas. It almost never works out that we get everyone there for both, so we are very excited!!  Here are a few thoughts on what seems to be a forgotten holiday.


It’s the week of Thanksgiving and everywhere you look are sights and sounds of the season. . . but it’s not Thanksgiving, it’s Christmas!  It’s a surreal season between Halloween and Thanksgiving, where turkeys mingle happily with reindeer (who knows if they even like each other?) and the Halloween candy is not even on clearance before Christmas trees are lining the aisles at Target!

Lost somewhere between all the lights and the jingle bells, and the shopping and the stress, is a lovely little holiday–one of my favorites–where we take time not to acquire, or to admire what we have acquired, but to offer thanks for all the goodness in our lives.  Even though the world has already moved on to Christmas, I urge you to hold fast to Thanksgiving!!

Be thankful

Thanksgiving in our family is always a time for tradition.  Even though we have taken another path for our Christmas get togethers (think Christmas around the world. . . on crack!), when we gather for Thanksgiving, there are Powers traditions that we remember and uphold.  And certain things that have to be on the table: the turkey of course, in any variation of fried, roasted, baked or brined, the sweet potato casserole (which we always had to call pecan surprise because of Jason’s aversion to all things sweet potato), mashed potatoes and rolls for Sarah, and pumpkin pie for Matthew.  And of course, the holiday is not complete without “the cake”– a chocolate cake with caramel icing that my grandmother used to make.  Around our Thanksgiving table there will be stories told and retold, and afterwards there will be time to spend with those we don’t see as often as we’d like, and thankfulness for stretchy pants!

I am a retired teacher, and one of the books I always read with my 5th graders is Out of the Dust, a fictionalized journal of a 12 year old girl set in the dust bowl of Oklahoma during the 1930’s.  Billie Jo, the principal character of the story, endures unimaginable hardships including devastating dust storms, drought, and a fire that kills her mother and unborn brother. She burns her hands in the fire and loses, for a time, the one thing that brings her joy: playing the piano.  While a sad tale, the thing that makes the book a keeper for me is Billie Jo’s journal entry on Thanksgiving Day in 1934, where she is able, in the midst of tragedy and despair, to list two pages of things that she is thankful for.  We should all be so able to see with the eyes of thankfulness!


So, when we gather on Thursday, there will be much laughter, there will be turkey, there will be football, there will be stretchy pants, and there will be an extra helping of thankfulness!  And while more than one of us will be decorating a tree next weekend, and more than one of us will be coerced into very late-night or very early morning Christmas shopping with Sarah, Thanksgiving will be a day of remembering the blessings of all that has passed and all that is coming…and being thankful.  We wish the same for you and your family!

387863_328648583820864_1812278122_n{Aunt Ruth and me at “Christmas Around the World” a few years ago…Can you guess which country it was?}

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

Allyssa’s Favorite Couches

Today’s guest post comes from Allyssa over at The Barn blog.  If you haven’t checked her out, do it!!  The blog always has lots of helpful tech tips, and Allyssa actually does some design work herself.  Enjoy!


I kind of have a thing for comfy couches. You know, the ones that look like you’d sink right in the moment you sit on them. The cushier, the better. This is probably because my couches are anything but comfy. The cushions slide around and the armrests are just plain hard. I’m planning on upgrading in the near future and I’m 100% certain my next couches will be big and soft. Perfect for snuggling up with a good book.

img58c pb

My dream couch is probably the ever classic Pottery Barn Comfort Sofa.  Definitely not in my budget though. Luckily, Ikea makes a similar one at a fraction of the price. Plus, there are a ton of color options. Now the only problem is choosing a color…

ektorp-sofa__22361_PE107241_S4 ektorp-sofa__0096948_PE237110_S4 ektorp-sofa__0155486_PE313627_S4 ektorp-sofa__0188834_PE341651_S4

What’s your favorite style of couch?  Which colors do you like best?

If you would like to be a guest blogger, please comment below or email me!

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