Hey Party People! If you’re serious about entertaining, we’ve discovered the must-have for your house party – a party pavilion, baby! 

Outdoor room, cabana, pool house, pavilion – call it what you like, this pool-side abode is kitted out to be the perfect entertaining paradise. 

Sophie and her husband love to socialise with friends and family, but the arrival of two baby Bells made going out all the time increasingly difficult. So, they decided that if they couldn’t go out to the party, they’d bring the party to them. And boy, are their guests in for a treat!

The Bells actually had an outdoor pavilion, sans pool, at their last house and that was the initial inspiration for creating this outdoor entertaining room at their new place. 

We got the downlow from Sophie on the perfect party pavilion:


Soph, it looks absolutely amazing
you must be thrilled with how it’s turned out?

We are sooo happy, it’s come together better than we could have imagined. It’s the middle of winter and we’ve been using it at every opportunity so we might just move in over summer!

It’s really next level poolside entertaining isn’t it?
What’s your favourite feature?

Hands down, the pizza oven. How did we ever live without one before? We had friends over last weekend for a pizza party and it was just the best. Pizza making is such a great social activity for adults & kiddies. We made the dough together and prepared the ingredients, so everyone had toppings they wanted.

Another good thing to note (if you’re considering putting in a pizza oven) is that it doesn’t just cook pizza. It’s pretty much like an outdoor oven so you can throw anything in - bread, fish, veggies – and they all come out with that delicious wood-fired taste.

 And the smell… I can’t get enough of the warm smokiness that fills the whole property when it’s burning. It’s just the best!

pizza oven

We know it’s the middle of winter, but has anyone braved the pool yet?

The pool’s heated, so I got a few swims in during autumn but we’ve turned the heater off for winter now. It’s got an Enviroswim fresh water system which means no chlorine, so the water’s just heavenly to swim in. 

My crazy husband and son have been swimming throughout winter though. They get the poolside shower running on hot and then jump into the freezing pool and back again. I think they’re totally nuts but it’s great that this area is being used all year round!

HardieDeck has been a fab alternative to wooden decking around the pool, because with year-round use it’s continually wet. The fibre cement composition means it won’t rot or splinter and it won’t need re-staining in summer.


HOW DO YOU FEEL the pavilion design FITS IN with the house?

Although the pavilion and the main house are quite separate, we wanted them to complement one another. To do that, we incorporated the shape and materials we used for the main house, in the construction of the pavilion, like the square roofline and big rendered arch. And of course, we painted everything in the same Dulux Caspar White Quarter

You know I’m in love with cladding as much as you girls are so our cladding game is strong in the pavilion. We used Scyon Axon by James Hardie, the same product used to line the ceilings in the house. It’s perfect for this outdoor setting because it’s fibre cement, not wood, so it’s not going to warp or splinter, it’s highly durable and weathers well. With that in mind, we went cladding crazy! It’s on the ceilings, internal walls, day bed and even the cupboard doors are Axon. As you say Lana, it’s a bit of an ‘Axonathon’!!

And I have a tip for anyone using Scyon Axon at their place, don’t forget the accessories & tools you’ll need to create neat joins, these are available from James Hardie too.

Another of my fave features is the big rendered wall in pool area. It also helps tie to everything back to the main house.

hardie deck

WHAT details DO YOU THINK make this pavilion function SO WELL?

Yes! Here are a few that spring to mind 

Storage – we made sure there was plenty of storage so that the pavilion can be quite self-sufficient and we don’t have to cart everything up and down from the house each time we use it. There are plenty of cupboards where we keep all the drinks and supplies and there’s storage for cushions in the daybed.

Bar fridge – it’s tucked away under the bar bench to keep the drinks nice and cold. An esky was not going to cut it with all the ingredients for my signature cocktails! #justcallmetomcruise

External vertical blind – we installed an Evo awning from Luxaflex. This is a saviour for helping keep leaves and dirt out of the indoor area when it’s windy. It was initially supposed to go right around the back of the room but we couldn’t do that in the end because of the pizza oven – and the pizza oven definitely wasn’t moving!

Good quality outdoor fabric – this is a big tip for outdoor furniture: it’s worth splurging on good quality outdoor fabric. We’ve had bird poo, dust and soot (that’s another story! #eek #readfurtherdown) all over the day bed and I can just wipe it down with a wet cloth and it looks like new.

Bench seat – I love a built-in bench seat and this one works really well as a space saver. It means we need less chairs which frees up floor space in the dining area.


anything you would have done differently?

So far, the only challenge has been just trying to keep everything dry during winter. By nature, our rainforest setting is quite damp so we’ve been wiping everything down to keep on top of it. Our choice of materials is really helping with this though. 

We did have a shocker a few weeks back when we woke to find our pristine white house covered in black soot. We found out that the surrounding farmers burn off their sugar cane crops before harvest so this will be an annual challenge of having a white house in a farming area! Would we change the house colour or location because of this? #nowayrose! I went and got the best blower money can buy to get rid of the ash stat, I will be well prepared for next year!

I had a thought the other day that perhaps we could have included a traditional BBQ as well as the pizza oven, for quicker cooking. The only downfall of the pizza oven is that the fire needs to be lit a few hours before cooking starts to get it up to temperature. Not ideal for a spontaneous meal, so maybe a BBQ could be handy in that situation. We have the Webber BBQ on standby if needed.

 Ask me again after summer!

Speaking of summer, we can’t wait for our pool party invitation! ;-)

Oh, you girls know you’re welcome any time! We’ve had so much fun using the pavilion already and it’s winter, imagine how epic summer will be. Like we’re on vacay every day!