Nashville Pool House Remodel

Chuck and Holly Paetz have a beautiful home in South Nashville. I have worked with Chuck in the Real Estate industry for years even partnering on many deals to play to our strengths. He approached me about helping them to remodel an existing garage and workshop into an in law suite for Holly’s parents. The unit was to one side of their pool and also had a restroom, storage, and a shed. I love anything to do with water themed design, so of course I was elated to be their Architect.

Check out our Southern Athena Pinterest Idea Board for all of these amazing photos and more inspiration!

We designed the in law suite around Pool House style (for easy conversion into a POOL HOUSE at a later date, and to match their existing style). Major design considerations included:

  • Price & Time
  • Accessibility
  • Storage
  • Plumbing Connections

I like to start many of my design projects off with Floor Plans and Idea Boards. After taking measurements and plotting out the actual site plan. <– Start big, then narrow in so you don’t miss anything! The most efficient use of space was to keep the open span of the garage for the living and kitchen areas, and to put the bedroom and bathroom in the back where the restroom and workshop used to be.

After we received the rezoning approval needed to permit adding onto the garage it was go time! Check out our article on How to Add an In Law Suite to your Nashville Home for all of the details.

Managing Price & Time Priorities

One of the reasons I ask clients to fill out Questionnaires is to find out their priorities, which may be very different than my own. For instance, I had a hard time letting go of my desire to base the entire design off of exquisite views to the pool and exterior courtyard, but Chuck and Holly reiterated that they valued their privacy and autonomy from her parents over enhancing the visual connection.

One of the ways we were able to manage costs was through our Southern Athena Creator Package. Chuck was going to be completing much of the work himself and then sub contracting portions out to those he trusted, so he needed plans and a very easy approach to constructing it.

The more you can reuse in a space design the better. (Unless the whole thing is junk, and then why are you Remodeling again?) Once you maximize value from the existing, you then make key strategic changes elsewhere to maximize your ROI on the new. When you begin demo, you run the risk of finding more problems, so it is more cost effective to focus your energy keeping the knowns greater than the unknowns.

I intentionally started the design with the existing plumbing, openings, and structural elements held constant and worked quickly toward finalizing the Floor plans with walking the space so everyone was ready and in agreement for go time as soon as the permits were pulled.

Accessible Home Design for the Elderly

As parents get older, many will need to have safer homes to live in that conform to accessible and safe design best practices. This was one of my largest priorities as I have personal experience with family and mobility issues. Key design factors can make a HUGE difference for someone who has a hard time getting around, or who has dementia or other living needs based on their age. And I am not just talking about grab bars or other medical and health related solutions.

  • Even, Single Level, Non-slip Floors – Falls are the leading cause of death from injury among people 65 and older.
  • 5′ Turn Around space for Wheelchairs even if they don’t need one now.
  • 3′ Aisles between counters and doors for walking with a walker, animal, or cane.
  • Higher Seating Options (Getting up from a low spot gets harder with age!) This includes Bed frame, Toilet Seat, Couch and Chairs, Dining and casual Seating.
  • Open view perspectives – Being able to see with a wide angle of vision within your space allows for increased awareness and cuts down on disorientation problems associated with mental
  • Stabilized and built in storage options. Not only to help with downsizing, but to also provide stabilization opportunities that prevent falls, and to prevent falls of furniture on someone.
  • Lots of natural light – to improve mood and mental health.

Maximizing Storage without Compromising an Open Floorplan

The best way to maximize storage in a small space is to line it along the longer walls for easy access and keep open storage as much as possible above eye level so you don’t cut off your view. This means using open shelving above counter height where possible and enclosed storage below the waist.

Larger closets, storage furniture, and isle based design for access all maximize storage without taking away the visual space that makes the open plan so nice.

Maximize Adding and Moving Plumbing Strategically

We needed to use as much of the existing plumbing as possible, and align any additional plumbing with the path of least resistance to the sewer. This made it easy to know where the kitchen and laundry had to go. The sink and dishwasher had to go on one wall and the laundry needed to be in the existing utility area. A lot of the design decisions were appropriately directed by the water features on the site such as the plumbing and pool.

The kitchen had to be designed around the plumbing lines. I have done a lot of research on kitchen. And I had just recently completed a kitchen and bath remodel myself. Hello Preferred Vendors! I had all of the connections. Lily Ann Cabinets for value is one of my favorites. These are the rendering they prepared from my plans of the kitchen.

The finalized Floor Plans show a built in Island with seating on one side as seen above. My renderings show a 2nd Option with a 4 person dining table to be used for multiple functions and as a less expensive option. The 3rd Option we discussed was a moveable cart with expanding seats, but we decided against it for practical reasons.

Contact Us for Your Next Project!

I have loved working with Chuck and Holly on this project. It is special to be invited into someones life and decisions on how best to prepare to care for their loved ones. They are incredibly generous individuals and I love seeing the world through their space. You feel good when you are in their home.


“Elizabeth is just so easy to work with. She is a pleasure and much nicer than people we have used in the past. I have recommended her to partner on projects with my company so I can hopefully work more with her in the future.” – Holly Paetz, Owner

Check out all of my design inspiration and more details in our Southern Athena Pinterest Board – Pool House Remodel.

Have a question about using our Southern Athena Creator Package to design your space? We want to help. Contact Us Today!



How To Add an In Law Suite to Your Home in Nashville

We get asked all of the time about In Law Suites. Nashville has been growing so fast, that many home owners and investors are considering the opportunities associated with Accessory Dwellings and potential Rentals for extra income and to fill a pent up market demand in our growing city . The funny thing is that there are so many names of these apartment style units! Just check out The Many and Confusing Synonyms for ADUs. (Accessory Dwelling Units) Mother-in-law Suites, Granny flats, Cottages, and Above the Garage Apartments, are all in our vocabulary. Below is a recent case study on how to incorporate an in law suite to your home and benefit from the added space and opportunity.

Continue Reading →

And the Biggest Dummy Award Goes To…

When I first got into Real Estate I was literally walking the streets. At the time, it definitely wasn’t very safe for my young blonde 20 something year old self to be going door to door in high heels down the major roads in Nashville. But I was told it was the only way I would get business, so I did. And honestly, I wasn’t getting anywhere fast. I even started having to base the success of my day on how many cat calls I had received just to keep things light hearted and my morale high. So naturally, one day as I was walking down 8th, I ran into a criminal masquerading as a Seller. One that has forever shaped my opinions of ovations and awards.

Continue Reading →

FOR SALE: Single Family Beazer Built Home in Abbington Park Nashville

FOR SALE: 4104 Longfellow Drive, Nashville, TN 37214

Welcome to an immaculate, well kept home under $250K FOR SALE in Nashville, Tennessee. Full of upgrades throughout, this property is an amazing find. Built by Beezer Homes in 2005, the Sellers opted for customized upgrades and personal touches to make the home stand out in it’s quiet Neighborhood in Abbington Park. Located between East Nashville, Madison, Donelson, Two Rivers, and Opry Mills, you can easily get to nearby amenities without the cut-through traffic associated with larger community plans. Timmons Properties Management takes care of the HOA with low monthly dues of just $20.
Continue Reading →

Why Your Property Hasn’t Sold and What to Do

So your property hasn’t SOLD and you are getting super frustrated with your Realtor, your partner and spouse, and everyone that stands between you and walking away with money in hand. Doubt has been creeping around in your head every time you lay down to rest, and anxiety and irritation are building. Why is it taking so long? Don’t people know you want to sell but are not just going to give it away? The reason your property hasn’t SOLD may not be what you think.

Continue Reading →

Southern Athena’s Guide to Real Estate Investing: How to Invest

Are you curious about real estate investing? It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Over the next 6 weeks I will be giving a beginner’s guide to all things real estate investing. This guide will explain what real estate investing is, different types of investing, and how to evaluate an investment property. By the end of this guide, you will have a basic understand of the real estate investing world and maybe even a little inspiration to take that jump! Continue Reading →

Should You Sell Your Home Furnished?

Times are crazy so Buyers might throw out crazy propositions! They want your home, just as it is, furniture and all. This happens and it is happening more and more often as Buyers are seeking to get a deal. And we understand, it is hard to figure out what to do. Add personal belongings into an already personal sale, and now you have a hard decision ahead of you. So in Southern Athena style, we are going to unpack the whole Strategy for so you can make the best call. Plus, this type of sale condition is becoming more common and has been offered to us many times so we have the personal scoop to share.
Continue Reading →

Eater Nashville – New Cocktail Speakeasy Coming to North Nashville’s Buchanan Arts District

"A new speakeasy-style cocktail bar is coming to the ever-changing Buchanan Arts District in North Nashville.

"Called Minerva Speakeasy, the new venture, the first from newly formed Nashville-based Make a Play Hospitality Group (MAP), will be housed in a small brick building at 1000 Buchanan St. at the corner of Buchanan and 10th Ave. North. It joins a growing number of new businesses such as Slim & Husky’s and The Rollout that are changing the landscape of the North Nashville neighborhood.

"Few details are currently known about the project, but a representative states via a brief email that it will be an intimate spot offering cocktails with fresh juices and a small kitchen menu.

"As for the space, renderings dated this past December found on local real estate and development firm Southern Athena’s social media and website show that the existing structure will remain intact, with the addition of a garden patio and bar area attached to the building. The planned exterior will have a lighter palette, with metallic and darker wood elements used as accents. Design boards also show a wide variety of inspiration and possibilities for the interior. See a few of those exterior drawings below, or head here for a full slideshow."

By Matt Rogers at Eater Nashville

FOR LEASE: East Nashville Restaurant – 1313 Woodland


Located in the heart of East Nashville’s Lockeland Springs Neighborhood and within walking distance to Five Points, 1313 Woodland St is an incredible Restaurant space and property. After being completely remodeled for the show, “Bar Rescue” with Jon Taffer and music legend, Sheryl Crow, the property was SOLD to a new investment group looking for the right tenant to take over the property and bring East Nashville more dining and drinking options.

Property Features:

  • Two Story Building: 4,088 SF
  • Existing Kitchen and Bar Infrastructure
  • 5-7 Year Lease Term
  • Parking and Large Outdoor Patio
  • Corner Lot with multiple signage opportunities
  • Historical Neighborhood Local HOT Spot
  • Sprinkler System & New Roof

Download Our One Page Listing Flyer with Here

Continue Reading →