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The pool house you designed transitions smoothly from the outdoors to a comfortable living area. How did you go about creating this effect? I designed the pool house as a covered extension of the pool deck, blurring the boundaries of what is outside and inside. Glass doors at the corner of the living area slide away and disappear into pockets at either end, leaving the interior space open to the outdoors. The stone surrounding the pool runs inside the house without interruption. The walls and doors of the room are lined with bamboo paneling, drawing the natural elements into the interior and giving the room a sense of warmth. The layout is open and airy, yet extremely efficient; nothing gets in the way of a smooth transition from the pool.
What is it about a pool house that distinguishes it from the main house? What features should the two share? By positioning the new structure some distance away from the 100-year-old house and off its strong axial relationship to the terraced yard, the pool area is clearly distinguished from the house and creates an environment unto itself.
Despite the differences, the pool house shares many features with the original house: wide white siding, yet detailed in a more contemporary way, and stone walls and hedges that help define garden areas.
What are your favorite natural colors, textures and materials, and how are they best put to use? Natural stone is used in a variety of ways and scales. The same granite that serves as the deck pavers is cut into large blocks that function as monolithic benches. Smooth, river-washed pebbles provide a finished layer under which run the storm-water pipes that feed a fern-planted rain garden.
The pool house is designed using an array of my favorite natural materials and alternating textures: bamboo in the form of paneling, doors and an HVAC screen add a golden tone to the room. The high-gloss Snaidero cabinets provide an interesting contrast to the rough- hewn granite floor and the multi-colored limestone 'sticks,' which finish the kitchenette backsplash.
Are there any other outdoor projects that you're itching to take on? My designs for new family homes typically involve thinking about the exterior as another room. For a client's home currently under construction, I designed a raised terrace that both knits the wings of the house together and also provides an outdoor living and dining area overlooking the Long Island Sound.
How can a building reflect the individuality of the landscape? The design of this pool and pool house would not be appropriate for any other place—it grew out of the site. The structure is nestled under mature existing trees, which provide a backdrop. The pool is sited to take in afternoon summer sun at the terrace, but not in the pool house. And the main living space is designed to frame views of the original house and the beautiful open vista beyond.