Pool Houses: From Laps to Naps

For those seeking refuge from an interminable game of Marco Polo, these four pool houses provide an artful escape.

A house, for all of its quirks and eccentricities, is essentially a place within which people undertake the multiple tasks and functions of everyday life. There’s a necessity to designing the spaces within a home, because rooms must serve multiple purposes—kitchens are used for cooking, storing food, and congregating; bedrooms are for sleeping and dressing; and bathrooms are for washing and other personal grooming activities. A pool house, on the other hand, is created for a single, hedonistic reason: the pursuit of pleasure.

"Pool houses have a different connotation than main residences," explains principal E. B. Min of San Francisco–based architecture firm Min/Day. "They have their own lives and don’t have to be integrated into the flow of the main house." Rather than including spaces for chores, pool houses provide places for romping and entertainment. Changing rooms, showers, and small kitchens are usually found in these outbuildings, while more licentious designs also have saunas, hot tubs, and bedrooms.

Though undoubtedly an unattainable accessory for many homeowners, in terms of both space and money, it’s easy to see why Min says of pool houses, "They’re luxuries, but very nice ones, if you can afford them." 

This public pool house was designed to merge with its park surroundings. Translucent wall materials, floating overhead planes, and plenty of windows let the light in.

Project: Stapleton Neighborhood Pool House

Architect: Semple Brown Design

Location: Denver, Colorado

Inside the cedar-framed pool house are a 40-foot-long lap pool and a hot tub. Should that feel too limiting or too tame, the Atlantic Ocean is only a short 200-yard stroll away.

Project: Morgan Pool House

Architect: Christoff:Finio Architecture

Location: Long Beach Island, New Jersey

A study in contrasts with the stolid stucco main house, this 750-square-foot pool house seems to float lackadaisically on the bluestone terrace. "The pool house speaks of summer," says designer E. B. Min.

Project: Burt Pool House

Architect: Min/Day

Location: Palo Alto, California

Colored concrete walls, pivoting glass doors, and a scissor-shaped steel roof maintain the fun and modern feel of this computer-game designer’s suburban poolside shelter.

Project: Traeger Pool House

Architect: Dan Phipps Architects

Location: Woodside, California


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