This Pool House May Be New, But It Feels Timeless

Southern New England Pool House

Emerging from this bucolic landscape – a vast tract of land in Southern New England – is a pool and pool house that, although new, feels absolutely timeless.

“We positioned the pool on a high part of the pasture area and enclosed it with a paddock fence,” declares architect John Murray. Though modest in size, the structure – with its exterior beadboard cladding and hand-split cedar roof shakes – echoes the early American sensibility of the other 18th- and 19th- century buildings on the property, while the organic shape of the pool blends in with the landscape, which includes regional plantings, rolling fields and a nearby pond.

“There was a desire by the client and we always try to promote the use of native plant materials as much as possible,” explains landscape architect Eric Groft, naming little bluestem, black-eyed Susans, delphiniums and verbena. By implementing them in an abstracted way, such as planting thyme between the granite patio pavers, “there is a seamless transition from the manmade elements to the natural elements beyond the pool,” Groft adds.

Southern New England pool house exterior

A “ha-ha” wall also helps blend the manmade with the natural. Murray and Groft worked together to grade a portion of the pool area down so the terraced patio meets the top of the ha-ha wall, a recessed structure that complies with pool safety codes and allows an unobstructed view of the pond.

As for the pool house, “There’s a very simplistic feel where you open up these monumental sliding barn doors,” shares Murray. Inside, you’ll find a water closet, a changing room and a small kitchen. Outside, a pergola filters sunlight and a fieldstone chimney provides ventilation for the barbecue, while around the back is an outdoor shower.

“There’s restraint to this pool house,” concludes Murray. “There’s a paring back.” Timeless and perfectly suited to the landscape, the arrangement is everything it needs to be and nothing more.

ARCHITECTURE: John B. Murray Architect, New York, NY

LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE: Oehme, Van Sweden & Associates, Washington, DC

Photography: Durston Saylor

This article originally appeared in the ASPIRE DESIGN AND HOME Spring 2019 issue in a series called, “Hotbeds.” Check out the rest of the homes featured in the series here!

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