Quirky Wallpaper Envelops This Playful Pool House Bathroom


wood siding exterior of an upstate New York pool house

At an Upstate New York pool house designed by Hilary Matt and architect Carol Kurth, Thermory horizontal wood siding nods to indigenous barns found on the property in a contemporary manner. The architectural cubist lighting fixtures are Simes.

floating concrete vanity flanked by wallpaper with vintage swimmers

The vanity features a countertop with a seamless trough sink composed of Trueform concrete that was designed to be “big enough to bathe a baby,” notes architect Carol Kurth. Matte black Watermark fixtures lend a high-contrast pop.

blue tiled shower and white tile flooring

The wall and floor tiles are from TileBar and Studium, respectively.

In the rolling hills of New York’s Hudson Valley, a Manhattan-based family found the acreage they needed to build a multigenerational holiday estate. In order to comfortably host their grown children and grandchildren—along with their many-numbered friends seeking solace from the city—the clients tasked interior designer Hilary Matt and architect Carol Kurth with creating a bespoke pool house with plenty of room to play.

While the resulting modern barn-style dwelling boasts such fun spaces as a bunk room and rock-climbing wall, the joyful bathroom suite manages to steal the show. With direct access from both the pool and the interior, and separate chambers that can be closed off during times of high traffic, it offers a master class in how to cater to a crowd. Luxe chatted with Matt and Kurth to glean the spatial considerations, material makeup and design details that render it pool house perfection.

Functionally speaking, what were the goals?

CK: Programmatically, we wanted to achieve a plan for separation of access zones, thus this “wet feet-dry feet” layout of two separate rooms was conceived. From the pool deck, one can directly access the playful trough sink area, which is then sectioned off from the tub, shower and toilet area. The bathroom can also be accessed from the interior of the pool house for overnight guests and those already inside.

HM: We went with some really practical fixture decisions, like a full bathtub instead of a shower. All age ranges will use this space, so that was a necessity. Also, a double vanity that allows multiple users was the best choice.

Which design details were the most impactful?

HM: We found the wallpaper—Swimmers from Walls Need Love—early in the process and knew it was the perfect starting point for the rest of the design. The bathtub walls are covered in a bright, aqua-colored glazed ceramic tile and the flooring is a modern, oversized take on traditional penny tile. The rope sconces from Cuff Studio were the final element to bring in texture and summertime style.

CK: Having the vanity “float” in the space was an important aspect of the design, too; it’s almost a literal interpretation of floating in a pool. I always like a focal point when entering a doorway, so we designed a towel storage niche in the entry as a three-dimensional element to draw the eye that is also highly useful.

What’s the report?

CK: This bath is as much fun for adults as it is for kids. You can’t help but feel uplifted when you’re in there.

HM: The pop of color from the wallpaper is such a fun surprise for visitors. As for the grandchildren, they now refuse to bathe anywhere else on the property!