Check out these swoon-worthy pool houses in South Carolina, Washington, and New York that invite you to kick back, relax and unwind from the stresses of daily life.
Daily Swimming Sanctuary
Elly Poston Cooper’s clients would have loved a beach house in theory. But between their high-octane careers and children’s busy schedules, there simply wasn’t time for one. The solution? Transform their South Carolina property into a full-fledged getaway. “They wanted to create the magic of taking a vacation in their own backyard,” elaborates Cooper, who joined forces with McAlpine on the design of its piece de resistance: an enchanting pool house boasting a chef’s kitchen, bunk loft and double-story lounge fitted with an expansive, built-in sofa.
“We really wanted it to feel like a destination,” adds Cooper, pointing to such beachy flourishes as the rattan coffee tables and shuffleboard setup. Peter Dunham’s Fig Leaf fabric on the lounge chairs and throw pillows similarly underscores an emphasis on fun. “It plays off the green lawn and feels great for summer, but still fresh and funky in the other seasons,” she notes. Meanwhile, beanbag chairs rendered chic in a Heather Chadduck Hillegas textile can easily be moved to the pool deck or lawn, where the team’s thoughtful addition of a white stone wall caters to outdoor movie screenings. While the outbuilding has hosted fundraisers, birthday parties, Thanksgiving, and even a wedding to date, the everyday delights are what assure Cooper of a mission accomplished. “On Sunday nights, they bring down groceries or order pizza to the pool house and have family dinner,” she says. “It’s literally where they go to unplug.”
PHOTO: BRIE WILLIAMS
Rustic Raucous Pool Time
“It truly is a catchall,” shares Julie Massucco Kleiner of the souped-up pool house she designed for a sports-loving family of entertainers. Kleiner’s clients sought to create a party HQ on their new San Juan Island, Washington, property, and an existing storage barn at the edge of the forest was just the answer. In collaboration with Studio AM Architecture & Interiors and Wygal Builders, Kleiner revamped the structure from head-to-toe, refinishing the exterior with a dramatic charcoal stain.
Inside, the team implemented a world-class entertaining program tailored to large gatherings that includes a full kitchen and bar (replete with beer keg and wine systems), “the world’s largest sectional,” per Kleiner, and rolling pool and ping pong tables with hard-top covers that can easily be pushed together to create a makeshift 60-person dinner table. Carrying the space’s blue-and-white scheme through to the exterior living areas, Kleiner selected an Ann Sacks tile with “a retro, Slim Aarons feel,” to rim the pool, complemented by striped chaises and scalloped umbrellas. From its flexible, fun-first amenities to the preppy palette that nods to the family’s east coast roots, the finished result is “very atypical,” Kleiner admits. Just as intended.
PHOTO: KARYN MILLET
The Pool Gang’s All Here
It’s not often that clients buy a house specifically because its acreage is perfect for erecting the pool house of their dreams. But that’s exactly why a young family purchased their Scarsdale, New York, abode, tasking Alisberg Parker Architects and Lucy Harris Studio with rendering an entertainer’s paradise on its outskirts. “It was our job to design something that belongs with the landscape and aligns with the architecture of the main house,” says principal Ed Parker, who echoed the existing structure’s palette and stonework while spinning things in a decidedly modern, laid-back direction. “It really feels like a retreat—almost like having a weekend home in the backyard,” reflects director of architecture, Shaun Gotterbarn.
“They wanted a place to relax, kick back with friends and feel like they’re getting away from it all,” adds designer Lucy Harris who, aided by team members Kelley Roach, Jaclyn Doherty and Stephanie Saltzman, channeled the hospitable, hard-living chic of a boutique hotel for the interiors. Custom furnishings in sinuous shapes, natural materials and a fresh palette of blues and neutrals energized with red accents lend an off-duty vibe that’s “still elegant, but less buttoned up,” Harris notes.
While boasting plentiful amenities (including guest quarters and a subterranean basketball court), the beating heart is the pool-level lounge with its showstopping wet bar backed in book-matched marble. “It’s a little bit show business and a little bit sculpture,” muses director of interior architectural design, Will Jameson. “We got to play with some fun ideas, like the wooden slats on the front that shimmer as you move like a Bridget Riley painting.” The swank space merges seamlessly to the outdoor living areas, aided by bifold glass doors and garage-style windows. “You can have 30 people over at the drop of a hat with all the different seating areas,” notes Parker—and the clients do so on a regular basis. The husband hosts a basketball league, the wife runs a tennis group, and the kids and their entourage live in the pool come summer. Concludes Harris, “It really is a playhouse for everyone.”