Home & Design | A Splash of Glamour

Exactly 384 pieces of crystal make up the chandelier that hangs at the center of this new poolside cabana in Edina. “It’s sort of unexpected for outdoor lighting,” interior designer Ammar Steven Alshash says of the statement piece, an indoor fixture that just happens to be UL-approved for wet conditions. But it works swimmingly for the cabana, which was inspired by the main home just a few steps away, as well as by the homeowners’ love of two iconic Southern California hotels, the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Parker Palm Springs. “The home itself has a pretty cool Hollywood Regency glamour design mixed with modern and contemporary elements,” says Alshash, who did those interiors five years ago. “And we wanted to bring that look over here.”

But the connection between the two goes beyond interior design. The main home—with its Mediterranean-style exterior of white stucco, black columns and trim, and black glazed-tile roof—influenced the cabana’s architecture, as well. “It made perfect sense not to compete with the house but to work within the architectural boundaries of what was already established,” says Charlie Simmons, who designed the cabana’s architecture. 

Working with builder John Kraemer, Simmons carried the black-and-white palette of materials to the cabana’s structure, right down to smooth white stucco and dramatic black columns. Some architectural elements, such as the windows, however, take on a distinctive style not seen in the home. “Those windows are actually recessed into the wall, so that required us to have extra-thick walls,” Simmons says. “It creates a little bit of shadow play in depth and dimension.”

But it’s the elegant elements inspired by those California hotels that steal the show. White curtains with a charcoal border, custom-made with Sunbrella outdoor fabric, introduce an instant touch of glam. “To me, that’s just a very luxurious statement, to have outdoor curtains, so I was pretty excited [the homeowners] were open to having that done,” Alshash says. 

The powder room is another showstopper, with a green-tile wall that picks up on the green found in the Banana Leaf wallpaper at the Beverly Hills Hotel and reflects a similar application in baths Alshash saw at the Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica. “We needed to make a bold statement on that wall,” he says. The tile, installed in a chevron pattern, creates a beautiful backdrop befitting a chic brass mirror and Aquitaine Torch sconces from Restoration Hardware.

But perhaps the most intriguing feature, which isn’t even in the cabana, is the breeze-block wall alongside the pool just a few steps away, a nod to the Parker Palm Springs, where the homeowners were married nine years ago. “At the Parker, it’s done in a fairly dramatic way, and it’s iconic,” says landscape designer Scott Ritter, who was responsible for the overall site plan design and construction. “But it worked out well here, too, and there isn’t anything that’s overly complicated about it.”

That same idea applies to the landscape materials, which remain relatively simple, with limestone paving, columnar evergreens, crab apple trees, and hydrangeas, the latter two of which produce striking white blooms in spring and summer, respectively. “It was a play off the color palette of the house,” Ritter says. “It’s a very dialed-down palette.”

The crab apples and hydrangeas, in fact, may be as Minnesota as the design goes, which is exactly what the homeowners were after. “We wanted it to feel like you’re stepping out into a vacation—to a resort in the backyard,” one of the owners says. “Scott and the team really took that and made it feel very vacation-y, right here in Minnesota.”

Cabana Architecture: Charlie Simmons, Charlie and Co. Design, 1601 Utica Ave. S., Ste. 212, St. Louis Park, 612-333-2246, charlieandcodesign.com // Landscape design: Scott Ritter, Topo, 530 N. 3rd St., Ste. 401, Mpls., 612-929-2049, topollc.com // Interior Design: Ammar Steven Alshash, Dwelling Designs, 618 Washington Ave. N., Ste. 101, Mpls., 612-922-9361, dwellingdesigns.com // Builder: John Kraemer, John Kraemer and Sons, 4906 Lincoln Dr., Edina, 952-935-9100, jkandsons.com