Hudson Home & Garden (April/May 2005)


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Poolside Getaways

by Sandee Mahoney

During the third quarter of the 18th century, a few "enlightened" landowners adopted what became known as the English-style of building delightful little pavilions on their property. The English utilized the small structures as visual surprises for the pleasures of their guests as they strolled the grounds. Americans who picked up on the practice tended to be more practical and called them summerhouses or teahouses. Today modern-day landowners are still finding visual delight in small buildings placed on their property. While teahouses and gazebos can be found, the predominant and immanently practical version of an 18th century "folly" is the modern Pool House. This structure offers shelter from the sun or inclement weather, provides a place to store towels and pool accessories and perhaps provides a small bar for refreshments. Some Pool Houses feature full eating, sleeping, relaxing, and bathing amenities, as well as quarters for the guests.

Their aesthetic appeal is every bit as important and relevant as their function, therefore your pool house design will be influenced not only by your needs and comfort, but also by the architecture of your home and surrounding landscape.

Pool houses can enhance the architecture of the main residence, as well as offer a place of solitude, a retreat from reality – a place of escape to gather with family and friends.

The style and design of a Pool House needs to relate directly to the style of the pool itself. The location of the pool obviously dictates the location of the Pool House. Important considerations when evaluating a site are such issues as the distance between the Pool House and the main house, and the consideration of whether the Pool House should be an independent entity or have a direct relationship with the main house.

Crisp Architects of Millbrook, NY, recently completed a Pool House sited on a natural plateau that maximized the views of a nearby lake. It is not integrated into the immediate traffic flow of the main house and is a destination unto itself. There is a small but complete kitchen in the Pool House as well as full bath facilities. A full heating and cooling system was installed to provide overflow guest quarters year round. This is a fairly substantial structure – unlike a simple cabana- like "clam shack" Crisp designed adjacent to a terrace and pool for another client. A simple "clam shack" structure is substantial enough to provide a kitchenette and some storage. When the summer ends, the top hinged door is dropped and the space can be sealed up for the season.

Much thought and attention to details is expended on the programming aspects when planning a pool house: this is essential in determining its exact function. It is always nice to be able to accommodate clients needs. One of Crisps clients felt that the ultimate relaxation experience would be to play billiards next to their pool. In satisfying this request, the Pool House now offered multiple-uses and would be used more frequently. Other clients requested built in cabinetry to hold large screen TV's in order to keep up with the latest sports while enjoying the summer afternoon and the company of guests at their poolhouse.

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