A Summer House

Virginia

Five years after renovating their historic country house, our clients asked us to add a new pool/guest house on the site of their existing pool. In the spirit of 18th century farm dependencies and summer kitchens, we proposed to build a complete, largely open-air structure that could be used as a self-sufficient house during warm weather.

An existing stone wall at the pool site is used to divide open-air public spaces from conditioned private spaces. A thin copper roof on white brick piers sails above, providing much needed shade on this exposed riverside site. Below the roof, stucco masonry walls enclose the only conditioned spaces, a bathroom and a bedroom. Other services — kitchen, shower, mechanical and pool equipment — are outdoors, housed in timber clad walls and additional sun control is provided by timber louvers.

The layering of structure and skin, and their assembly, provides the architectural language for the project. The control of light and its play upon surfaces provides the sensibility. Throughout, this house attempts to revisit 18th century concepts of comfort and sustainability in a 21st century language.

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Modern home with large pool, small patio, porch, deck, decking patio, porch, deck, field, wood patio, porch, deck, large patio, porch, deck, trees, small pool, and kitchen. A round stucco volume encloses the outdoor shower Photo  of A Summer House

A round stucco volume encloses the outdoor shower

Modern home with garden, large pool, plunge pool, field, small patio, porch, deck, small pool, large patio, porch, deck, metal patio, porch, deck, stone patio, porch, deck, decking patio, porch, deck, wood patio, porch, deck, and dining room. The large porch has a sitting area and an outdoor kitchen.   Photo 2 of A Summer House

The large porch has a sitting area and an outdoor kitchen.

Modern home with metal tread, metal railing, wood railing, wood tread, outdoor, small patio, porch, deck, wood patio, porch, deck, large patio, porch, deck, field, rooftop, garden, and stone patio, porch, deck. Stairs to the upper viewing deck are steel and IPE open risers. Photo 3 of A Summer House

Stairs to the upper viewing deck are steel and IPE open risers.

Modern home with metal, outdoor, recliner, small pool, large pool, swimming pool, small patio, porch, deck, hanging lighting, large patio, porch, deck, and decking patio, porch, deck. The bedroom volume slides under the large porch roof made of stucco, steel and IPE. Photo 4 of A Summer House

The bedroom volume slides under the large porch roof made of stucco, steel and IPE.

Modern home with outdoor, garden, back yard, small pool, large pool, plunge pool, small patio, porch, deck, swimming pool, decking patio, porch, deck, large patio, porch, deck, hardscapes, gardens, and walkways. The pool house is nestled around an existing stone wall that directs the view out toward the river. Photo 5 of A Summer House

The pool house is nestled around an existing stone wall that directs the view out toward the river.

Modern home with bed, ceiling lighting, windows, limestone floor, metal, picture window type, and sliding window type. A guest suite with bath and changing areas has a large sliding door out to a private garden. Photo 6 of A Summer House

A guest suite with bath and changing areas has a large sliding door out to a private garden.

Modern home with outdoor, small pool, swimming pool, large pool, lap pool, small patio, porch, deck, large patio, porch, deck, decking patio, porch, deck, wood patio, porch, deck, field, stone patio, porch, deck, and back yard. The view of the river beyond. Photo 7 of A Summer House

The view of the river beyond.

Modern home with outdoor, side yard, front yard, back yard, field, rooftop, small patio, porch, deck, large patio, porch, deck, wood patio, porch, deck, landscape lighting, decking patio, porch, deck, and hanging lighting. The view at night. Photo 8 of A Summer House

The view at night.