House Party: When the best place in town is yours

One couple creates the ultimate in indoor/outdoor all-season fun

Story by Mara Severin • Photography by Photo Arts by Janna

Chris and Beth Prigge have a favorite new hangout. It's fun, serves great food and drinks, plays all their favorite sports events, and even has a hot tub. And it's close – very close. In fact, it's located somewhere in-between their kitchen and their bedroom.

When the couple's modest home-improvement scheme took on a life of its own, they soon found themselves the proud owners of their own personal bar and grill. And now the party comes to them.

Once you start, it's hard to stop…

It's a familiar story. A few years ago, the couple decided to cover the deck adjacent to their master bedroom. It had amazing mountain views, but lost the sun early in the afternoon and the couple hardly ever used it. They decided to roof it in so they could grill outside – even during cold seasons and wet days.

Once the roof was built, the key to transforming the entire space became crystal clear. Chris came up with a new design, drew up the plans, and changed the work permit. He enlisted contractor Sam Weaver (Nail It Construction), who's a friend and neighbor, to help him build the project on evenings and weekends.

The new plan included turning the old deck into an enclosed room – but one that could transform depending on the weather. Wide-open to the elements on warm, sunny days, it closes up completely and cozily all the rest of the time. Attached to the new room is a brand new deck that boasts a sitting-area and a roomy hot tub. In-between is a clever system of division – a half wall topped by garage-door-style windows. With a push of a button, the breeze is invited in and the deck and lounge become one space. Essentially, the space doubles in size, and the enclosed half becomes a party-space with year-round potential.

Fire and water

Sitting in the space on a summer day, it's easy to forget that you're in Alaska (that is, if you can ignore the beautiful views of the Chugach Range). The room is a study in clean bright whites accented by jewel-like blues that evoke the Mediterranean with its white sands and crystal waters.

One wall – and Beth's favorite part of the room – displays a beautiful in-wall water feature. A steady rush of water over cool blue stones creates a peaceful repose for both the eyes and the ears. Beneath it, in dramatic contrast, is a fireplace, also accented by clear blue, jewel-like stones. "It's fire and water," says Beth.

Mexican pottery and an arched hacienda-style doorway reflect the couple's love for tropical climates and warm-weather travel. On one large-screen TV, a slide show of a recent trip to Mexico scrolled by. "We can sit here and reminisce about our last trip," says Chris. "And start planning our next one."

Something for everyone

The space is essentially a chameleon. Equipped with a wine cooler, fresh beer tap, top-of-the-line range, hood and grill, a hot tub and a sophisticated sound-system, it's not hard for the couple to attract a crowd. Sometimes the room acts as a sports bar with different sporting events on the two huge, flat-screened TVs installed on either side of the room. In other words, this new local bar and grill has something for everyone. But the club is very exclusive, and the Prigges get to determine membership.

Hardware for keg, liquor and bar supplies
Odom Corporation
Best Buy; installed by Nate McKay and Chris Prigge
Wall water feature
Shelton Landon, Water Walls of Alaska
Bar mirrors and bar shelf glass
Capitol Glass/Northerm Windows
Ceiling fan
Fanimation, from Brown's Electric
Wine cooler
Haier from Lowes
Tivoli Onyx Black, Lowe's
Blue Pearl Granite,
Rino's Tile & Stone
Tile flooring and backsplash
Gray Chipped Slate, Giant Don's
Range hood
Viking Professional from Allen & Petersen; installed by Anchorage Sheet Metal
Hood skirt
Anchorage Sheet Metal
Electrolux Icon from Allen & Petersen
General Contractor
Chris Prigge
Sam Weaver, Nail It Construction
Building materials
Spenard Builders Supply; Lowe's; and The Home Depot
Sheetrock and paint
LeBaron Drywall
Garage door-style window
Pioneer Door
Cover over the garage door spring
Anchorage Sheet Metal
Brian Dixon of Kimco Roofing