Natural Order

One couple’s travels inspire an indoor oasis

After spending seven years in the Middle East, we really wanted to feel like a piece of it was in Maine with us. In Dubai spas are really common, and we had gotten used to swimming year-round and having frequent access to swimming pools. While we love our lake house in Sebago, the temperatures here don’t allow us to swim all year.

“At first, we wanted to build an addition onto the house and put in an Endless Pool, but because we are so close to the water, zoning restrictions had us reconsidering. We decided to reconfigure our basement, which was previously used just for storage and utilities. We cut down a third of the old utility room to gain space for a pool and a sauna, and we started to draw up plans. While we worked on the project quite a bit ourselves, we also worked with Clay Beach of CE Beach Construction, who did a great amount of the finish carpentry, and Jim Thompson from JT Custom Carpentry, who helped a lot with pool structural work.

“When we were selecting design elements, we knew we wanted the space to feel natural and warm. We used mostly cedar throughout—cedar on the walls and red cedar decking—and ran river rocks along the perimeter to break up the wood between the flooring and the walls. We wanted to go with elements that look and remind us of the spa environments and resorts we visited in Dubai. That meant also including little details or decorations; every spa we went to had raw almonds, fresh fruit, and tea ready to brew, so we incorporated a bar area as well. There’s a small area with a live-edge counter with some cabinet and fridge storage.

“It was important to us that this could be used as a family space, too. We have games for the kids, and we built a bed platform so that guests are able to stay here. The whole process took a lot of planning, but now we have a space that feels warm and natural, like the spas we were inspired by. In fact, when we finished the spa, our son wanted to name the sauna ‘Dubai.’” —Basia & Bradley Jarvis, homeowners

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