Pool Remodel #2

By Kate Riley March 23, 2016

As I mentioned a few weeks ago we bought another house to remodel in Las Vegas and we’re here working on it this week. I’ll be documenting the process from time to time on the blog, this month the focus is on the outdoors. Yesterday we met with a landscaper to improve the front yard and upgrade the landscaping, last week the contractor we hired finished up the pool remodel in the rear yard.

Soon we will turn our attention indoors, there are popcorn ceilings to be scraped and cabinets and flooring to be removed. This renovation is for resale so we plan to remodel, stage, and sell it. We’re hoping to be done by fall but since it’s an out of state project which requires traveling back and forth once a month to check on progress, we’re staying flexible on finishing in within a certain amount of time.

One necessary improvement was replacing all the peeling plaster inside the pool and giving it a facelift, the job is now complete!

 pool tile

Thankfully the tile was in really good condition, it has some film on it in some places but that’s a lot easier to treat than replacing the tile, something we dealt with last year with pool remodel #1 in the first Vegas house. (That pool remodel was more costly it required removing a broken glass block wall, a new structural wall, and also brand new tile and plaster.)

We hired the same company as we did last time and again they did a fantastic job. New plaster (called “marcite”) requires that the pool is emptied and the old plaster is removed all the way down to the gunite base. Here’s a look at the spa once the plaster was removed and then after it was replaced.

 gunnite base

 new spa plaster

Below is the pool after the old marcite was drilled and removed and before the new plaster was added. We kept the blue tile in place since it was attractive and in good condition.

 old plaster removed

In process:

 finishing new plaster


 smooth plaster

 new plaster


New pool plaster must cure for a few weeks but as soon the pool is filled up again, it is ready for swimming!

  remodeled pool spa

A pool remodel is an expense, it cost several thousand dollars just to give it this facelift and replace the plaster but it adds so much value when it comes time to sell (and it won’t slow up the sale for those that don’t want to take on such a project). There are a few nice palms and bushes in the rear yard but we will add a few more before we sell.

 palms pool

This house has a great floor plan with transitional indoor/outdoor living because of the wide covered loggia that stretches the length of the house. This is so valuable for those who live in the desert, it allows you to sit in the shade outdoors even with higher temperatures. There is room for a sofa, chairs, chaise lounges and a dining table to make outdoor living and entertaining enjoyable spring through fall.

 outdoor covering

We plan to replace all the windows and slider to also add value.

 remodeled pool

 remodeled spa pool

I’ll update you all on the progress on this house in the months to come including the multiple bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room renovations!

Meanwhile I’m taking the next two days to enjoy Spring Break with friends and family. I’ll be back on Friday to share some weekend links and then I’m headed back to California.


Courtyard Container Planting

By Kate Riley March 21, 2016

With spring in the air I wanted to share a special little spot in my backyard where I enjoy morning coffee or evening wine, it’s our courtyard just off the kitchen. I was invited by the Sunset Western Garden Collection to spruce up a section of my yard and this space was the perfect place.

courtyard containers

 outdoor fireplace plantings

Just like with the fall planting bed project, I selected a medley of plants on the Sunset Western Garden Collection website, they arrived on my porch and I took them out of their boxes and gave them a drink.

  sunset plants boxes

 jubilation gardenia box

Rather than buying expensive new planters I turned to a cheaper method. One of the easiest ways to make plastic containers look classier is good ol’ spray paint. Make sure you get one that works on plastic, some do some don’t.

 spray paint for plastic

To make inexpensive brown plastic planters and blue buckets work with my fern green and black palette I spray painted them with Rustoleum paint + primer.

 contrast plants

Often overlooked are dark leafed plants but I’m loving the ‘Purple Pixie’ Lorolpetalum as a contrast to the abundance of green leaves in the ‘Mountain Snow’ Pieris that is about to bloom in the black pot.

 sunset plants painted containers


On the fireplace ledge sits ‘Soft Caress’ Mahonia in the black containers and ‘Lemon Lime’ Nandina in the painted green buckets, the medley is lush to look at during the day. (On the rare occasion we light the fire at night I move them to the ground.)

 spray painted planters

Around the corner are containers of budding ‘Jubilation’ Gardenia and fragrant ‘Chef’s Choice’ Rosemary.

 rosemary gardenia

I made a few easy envelope pillow covers with outdoor fabrics found at Joanns, they are HGTV Hazy Days Citron and Tropix Vroome Fresco Night. The rug is the Alise Garden Stripe from Overstock.


  chair courtyard 

 pillows chairs bench

The loveseat and sofa I’ve had for eight or so years, they used to sit in the cabana on the upper patio but I moved the set the courtyard next to the fireplace, and the dining table to the upper patio next to the BBQ which makes more sense for entertaining.

 courtyard sitting 

 chairs pillows

I like to use a bench as a coffee table in this sitting area so I can set down a drink or prop my feet up. The slatted wood bench is from West Elm but it’s five years old and was looking weathered and shabby so I lightly sanded it and gave it two coats of Minwax stain in Ebony to refresh it for the season.

 ebony minwax stain

 black stained bench

 loveseat planters black bench


This spot is my absolute favorite place to enjoy a glass of local wine at the end of the day!

 glass of chardonnay 

 courtyard planters bench

Many thanks to the Sunset Western Garden Collection for supplying the plants and sponsoring this post! All opinions are my own.