The Sunken Sofa in This 8-in-1 Pool House Rightfully Earned the Name “Cuddle Puddle”

Close the 360-degree curtains and it becomes a movie room.

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pool with indoor/outdoor space.

When designer Kevin Klein first approached his longtime client about transforming his garage into something more useful, he was met with more than a little disinterest. “He couldn’t even be convinced to park his car in there, let alone dedicate time and money to making it over,” Klein recalls, laughing. “It was just full of boxes.” Luckily, the two had a friendly relationship after working together on the Californian’s main house a few years earlier. The design pro was eventually able to make a case for the potential-packed, pool-adjacent space, promising the client, a newlywed, a multifunctional zone that seamlessly flexed between entertainment area, outdoor oasis, and—perhaps most important—showplace for his prized Bösendorfer concert grand piano. 

Fast-forward about a year and the garage is a shadow of its former industrial self, having morphed into an airy ’70s-inspired hideaway that now hosts its fair share of pool parties, movie screenings, intimate concerts (in partnership with the Maestro Foundation), birthday celebrations, and even book club meetings. The eight-in-one space Klein and his client dreamed up is a master class in taking advantage of every square inch and doing so with a playful, up-for-anything attitude. Here are three genius ideas we’re taking away from the retro-inspired space.

Get Low

living space with sunken couch.

If the client’s piano is the crown jewel of the space, then the “cuddle puddle” is the (very chic) supporting act. “I said, ‘Listen, if you want to really do this, right, we should go subterranean,’” says Klein. “We excavated about 5 feet below the concrete slab to really give it this unique, sunken living room feel. I say this in all seriousness—it’s the most comfortable thing I’ve ever sat on.” That comfort can at least partially be attributed to Klein’s choice of upholstery: down-filled cushions covered in sustainably sourced Mongolian-sheep fur, which boasts natural oils that keep the material clean and help prevent any stains from settling in deep. (“Just steer clear of red wine,” he notes.)

Focus on Flexibility

Designed to be a choose-your-own-adventure spot, the pool house offers up a buffet of entertainment options, ranging from a splash in the cool water nearby to watching a classic flick. “The biggest challenge with space was trying to figure out how to make it appropriate in any situation,” says Klein. To give his client the ability to stream and snuggle in between concertos, Klein installed a retractable projection screen that drops down in front of the piano, turning the space into an at-home theater (with pro-level acoustics to match). A perimeter of pinch-pleat curtains ups the softness and intimacy and does the necessary work of blocking out excess light for an immersive visual experience. 

Plan Some Surprises

terrazzo counter tops with gold hardware.
stained glass sky light.

To really harness the party-ready attitude of the room, Klein focused on incorporating materials that packed even the über-functional areas with personality. The wet bar’s large-scale terrazzo countertops from Marmoreal of Europe are flecked with slices of amber and blue-green Italian marble, while custom stained-glass skylights—designed as a last-minute addition in just a few weeks alongside local company Judson Studios—reflect “hippie-dippie” color onto the white conversation pit below. 

“Once we had vaulted the ceiling and added in all the other visual details, it felt like we needed one more element to truly bring home the retro vibe and add a bit more airiness to the space,” explains Klein. “It’s like a piece of living art.”