before and after

Before & After: A Jaw-Dropping Pool To Studio Transformation

by Maxwell Tielman

In can sometimes take a lot of imagination to know the true potential of a home you’re about to buy. A home with excellent bones, no matter how beautiful the original architecture, might scare off potential buyers because of anything from a bad former renovation or a strange wall somewhere. Oftentimes, it takes a good amount of vision (and a big amount of willpower) to take that stumper of a space and turn it into something hospitable. I, for one, don’t know what could have been going through artist Megan Auman’s head when she came across this indoor pool room in what was soon-to-be her farmhouse home. In horrible need of repair, this quite literal hole in the floor might have been a giant roadblock to many a homeowner. Not Megan Auman, though! Megan and her husband set to work on this space before any of the others in the house—to transform this skylight-filled pool room into a stunning and inspiring studio space. By creating a wooden structure inside of the pool to act as a subfloor (photos below), Megan and her husband were able to “fill in” the rusty old swimming pool and cover the area with a sparkling new floor. Throw in some storage and a few great big tables and you’ve got the perfect space for creating art! Check out more photos of this crazy transformation after the jump! —Max

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  • would love to know what the floors are! Are they are laminate or a hardwood? beautiful.

  • the after looks great but i probably would have kept the pool. i love swimming and outdoor pools are pretty useless here in oregon so an indoor pool is quite the luxury. if i felt fixing and refilling was too much of a hassle, i might have cleaned up the pool and put my work space in the recessed area, just for novelty’s sake.

  • Pretty cool, but having a big empty space below grade that can’t be accessed would be worrisome for me. All sorts of nasties could crawl into it from cracks and drain pipes and live there. :(

  • Didn’t really make use of the pool at all! could have been a sunken chill out zone, a meeting room…

  • I like the studio look and everything, but I think I would have put the studio around the pool. I would totally kill for an indoor pool all to myself. :(

  • This is so incredible! I can’t wait to stop renting and have projects like this to tackle. Amazing!

    (p.s. Anybody know whence those excellent drippy paintings come? Or are awesome paintings what Megan does in her free time?)

  • Indoor pool vs. studio = indoor pool.

    Build a loft over it for a studio if you needed one that badly. But imagine the next owner’s surprise!

  • Would have made a ‘hatch’ of some kind with steps or ladder to store plastic bins of seasonal items. I’ve been in homes with this type of concrete storage area under the house.

  • Aaaah! A sunken chill out zone would have been amazing! They could have been swimming in pillows! I have to agree with the other commenters… covering a pool with a floor doesn’t seem to be the most creative use of such a unique space. I’m assuming the pool could not hold water, of course. Otherwise, it should have been a pool! Or an amazing aquatic lagoon garden, lit from below with a bridge or platform across (imagine working above the water)! Give me that space and I’ll show you how it’s done!

  • Amazing transformation! Although I am a sucker for pools, It would have been a bitch to repair and maintain I bet! Great job!

  • I’m glad I’m not the only one who is sad that a wonderful pool was discarded. Richard Nixon filled in the White House pool too.

  • For folks who say “shoulda kept the pool…”, I totally appreciate your indoor pool awe! But as an artist myself, making art is like breathing: I gotta do it. And would I ever love a glorious, spacious, light-filled painting studio in my own living space. There is something special (if not necessary) about having a dedicated space for sustaining one’s artistic practice. And I know for me, painting is such a physical thing, no way I can really get going tucked in a tiny little corner! So I guess that’s the great thing about redos and renos — you make your place suit YOUR needs, whether that’s laps or color mixing!

  • I would love to have a studio like this…I would also love to have an indoor pool sanctuary. I can’t say what I would do in this situation, for certain. It’s easy to say that one would restore the pool, but doing it is something else.
    I am enchanted by the studio.

  • That’s incredible, although I was sort of hoping they’d keep the pool in the middle of the room going. Well you can’t have everything, I suppose. Still, great job from the guys but, in future, keep the pool! Water is good.

  • But don’t you know, that’s what we do here in the States ( generally ).
    We take cool, architecturally interesting things and either cover them up, or fill them in, or knock ’em down.
    Had this space been in Europe, there would have been lots of elbow grease do get it spic and span and then the studio would have quite possibly gotten a lick of paint and VOILA the artist would have gotten to work on their own stuff and the pool would have been the main attraction, the thing that gave the whole space character. The pool was awesom- now there’s just a creepy patched over void. What a shame.

  • love what you did and yet, me too, i would have integrated the pool’s space in my studio place… I saw once (and we nearly bought it – but it was too expensive) an unused indoor pool – empty, dilapidated and useless – and I was drawing plans how to convert it into a ‘sunken garden’ with our dining set-up….
    but of course, the owner uses each space to suit him-/herself, so we have to admit that the job done is quite beautiful and light-filled and practical.

  • Please tell me what the floor is made of. It’s absolutely beautiful, and such a lovely, bright room.

  • To everyone saying that they would have kept the pool, one look at that pool and I can tell you it looks beyond repair. I am guessing at the very least, it would have had to be completely relined. Plus, some people are just not pool people. And those talking about storage space are missing that it was totally filled in with framework to support the sub floor. As an artist who makes her living with her art, I can appreciate the need for a good studio. And this studio is fantastic! The light floors work so well with the medium wood tones in the room and really brighten the space up. What an inspiring space to create in. Well done!

  • There’s something about the rusty old pool that I find really unsettling. I’m glad they covered it up, I would be tempted to fill it with concrete so I wouldn’t have to think of the creepy pool lurking down there. The only thing more terrifying than the empty pool, would be a full one, with small children or pets in the home. Also the upkeep of a pool is a part-time job and the whole house would smell like chlorine. So, Brava Megan!

  • I don’t think some of the pro pool commenters realize how damp that space would be with a pool – not sure how that would work with expensive art supplies. I think they converted it nicely and it turned out to be a great space – indoor pools are just over achieving hot tubs – breeding grounds for mold and other unpleasant things.

  • First of all, beautiful studio!
    At first I thought that possibly it would have been really cool to use the upper level as a studio, since the light seemed good pretty much all over, and the pool area could have been an awesome showroom/display/storage area, but there isn’t enough space around the perimeter to do that. And you’d need a bridge to avoid running all around if you need to get to the other side, LOL! I think the spaciousness of the studio makes it seem that something more could have been
    done with the space, but I do believe you nailed it! Very, very nice!

  • e a full one, with small children or pets in the home. Also the upkeep of a pool is a part-

  • i would love to have an indoor pool…just saying…but the space turned out really nice

  • Love it! Can I ask where did you get the nice, simple tables in the middle of the room?

  • We have an outdoor pool, and you can’t imagine how much expense and trouble it causes. I assume that a lot of this would carry over to an indoor pool. Right now, our pool leaks, so we constantly need to fill it to keep the water level up so that the pool filter will work. You can’t have a pool with water just sitting there; it would become a swamp for mosquitoes, etc., so pool filter and motor must be kept on at all times, plus chemicals added, etc. I saw a great idea in the LA Times for converting an outdoor pool into an underground ravine with gravel on top, so rain filters through, but then you have to pump it out to use it in the landscape. I say Brava, Megan, also!

  • Julie, I got two wood tables that look just like those from Ikea, “Ingo”, $69 each. simple and sturdy. they carry other kinds of very similar tables as well.

  • I love the conversion to art room. What a wonderful space to work in. The shelving and that sitting area is brilliant.

  • I’m surprised there’s only one other commenter with what popped into my head as well (as the member of an architecture and construction family) – pools are not meant as architectural supports. Plus, all that rust and rot are not going away, they’ll get worse in time. For those reasons, the wood supports are eventually going to fail, likely catastrophically since there’s no way to tell what’s going on until the catastrophe happens.

    I’m just hoping I’m overthinking and that you guys consulted a professional architect or someone with strong professional (not DIY) experience in construction for structural advice?

  • Ditto what Anna said. If the pool was truly trashed, I’d remove it, fill the hole and put some foundation supports in. If the pool was surrounded by concrete walls, I’d still be skeptical as the water from the non-maintained pool could degrade any reinforcing.

    I’m OK with repurposing the room – the finished product is WAY gorgeous. That floor is a truly great pick!

  • wow, I wish I had an indoor pool. This is a pretty room, but I would never cover up a chance at making that pool shine again, even if it took a year or more to get there.

  • It’s so hot here in Gatineau, Quebec. Feels like 40˚ C (104˚F). The AC is cranked and it’s still saying 30˚C (86˚F) on my thermostat. Seeing this pool getting covered felt scandalous at first. All I could say out loud was Why? WHY!?? Then I remembered all the phone conversations I had with my mother who has an in ground pool. To all the ones who comment with pool envy (including myself) you obviously don’t own one. The work, maintenance, time invested and $$$ dominates your summer plus a great deal of time before and after (so imagine indoor) it’s too often noisy and the dampness would not make this a great working space. I’m not saying that having a pool is annoying but what is involved to keep it pleasant is. You need an enthusiastic person for the maintenance (or a good budget to hire a pro on a regular bases). A lot of pool time is spent not swimming.

    I suffer from not having my own place to paint and to create without worrying about the mess it makes in my home. Worrying about the mess interrupts the creative flow so I totally get this. Awesome space for the artist no matter how sad it is to see the pool hidden. I’m envious! :) Now I’m off to our back deck to dip my lower body in our cheap plastic, no maintenance kiddy pool! ;)

  • A radical and drastic change! The artistic touch given by the designer in remodeling this room has worked amazingly and we are just blown away by this new look.

  • How amazing would a glass floor have been? Keep the pool but gain the floor space. Possibly a structural nightmare but that would be the ideal for me if I didn’t want or couldn’t fix the pool. Extra amazing with painted concrete or fantastic mosaics on the pool wall & floors.
    I think this is a great lifestyle type transformation as they’ve gained loads of floor space. But agree that the room itself is a bit blah. Without the before, I wouldn’t be awed. Nice art though. :)

  • Wow, lots of pro-pool comments! As an artist, I don’t think having a studio next to a pool would be very settling to me. I mean, yeah- water is great and there is a certain level of serenity that comes along with it, but having that much water around my art would be nerve wracking for me! Not to mention the maintenance and expense that goes into a pool over time. Caring for a pool or a hot tub or anything in that realm is a lot of work! I know this one would have been indoors, but still. I think the novelty would wear off rather quickly. So, back to the studio…It’s a great space and it feels very calming! I love the use of all the wood! I’m in the midst of a studio overhaul and this makes me want the finished product to be here even more than I already do! Nice work, it looks fantastic.

  • This is the beauty of having a space and being able to design for the life that works for you. It’s a beautiful space, very inspiring.

  • Thank you for sharing that! LOVE the space, i am sure it is so inspiring! I did a studio redo later year, worth every penny :)

  • I think even if the pool was unsalable it would have been extra unique to somehow incorporate it into the design. Built in seating or storage like suggested above would have taken this space to the next level. The space is lovely, but in the end it could be anywhere and is not as remeberable.

  • If what these people needed was studio space for art, this makes perfect sense. It looks very useful and bright, and they might have been able to spend a small sum of money to accomplish what we see here. For those of us who love to swim, it might have been quite costly to buy this space and renovate it to enjoy the pool.

  • I would have liked to see them revamp the pool area into something cool with innovated use of space instead of just filling it in. To each their own.

  • I find it hard to believe that an artist wouldn’t like a funky little pool-studio done up right. Of all people I thought an artist would be into that. lol

  • I expected a much more creative transformation of this space. Yes, the pool would have taken a lot of work to restore and use as a pool, using it as an indoor garden space, a main painting “stage”, a lounge, or as a canvas itself would have made for a far more creative and inspiring space. It could have been framed in a way where the space below at least becomes usable for a supply closet, or even a dark room if you’re also into photography.

  • I think this is fabulous! For the pool lamenters, it *is* still there… and I’m with those who feel uncomfortable with the gaping money pit. I love this… the floor looks like a Pergo type? Thank you for sharing! :)

  • It looks great. A pool actually decreases the houses value in most parts of the country….

    I covered mine up too :)

    And, for the person who said to fill it w concrete – that could cause it to sink or rise! Only a structural engineer should make that decision.

    • Noticed your message in an old add? We have a pool that need to cover and o/h wants to fill with cement – don’t you think that’s a good idea? Sinking hadn’t occurred to me but that makes complete sense. What did you do with yours?

  • Nooo!!!! You never fill in a pool! The room is gorgeous, don’t get me wrong. But that pool would have been so badass.

  • Would cover it in a minute!! An indoor pool is crazy, that much water and condensation is hard on a house, a studio however?? fantastic!! :) and that one is perfect! Now just add the card catalog from another makeover for perfect organization..

  • I have an indoor pool exactly like this and want to create a living room space. Please email me with contact information for a contractor or any helpful information. It’s been sitting like this for seven years. I have been searching frantically on the Internet for any kind of help with no success. Yours is the first one I’ve come across. My email address is KSUNDBY 1@hotmail.com.

  • I am currently in a similar situation. I have an indoor, in ground swimming pool I am looking to convert into an alternative living space. How is your structure holding up. Our pool has been empty for a couple of years but the building is beautiful, so I am looking forward to making the space useable again. I would love more information on the transformation process. We will be hiring contractors to do the work but I am interested in your process.