This spectacular double height pool house in upstate New York gives a unique answer to the question of how to bring the outdoor in. It completely redefines what a pool house is, from generic and merely functional to whimsical and architecturally inventive. It is an exquisite interpretation of a building immersed in its surrounding woodland and mountain landscape.
The 'Lazy Bear Pool House' is located in Old Chatham, NY with views of the Catskills Mountains designed by architecture & interior design firm BarlisWedlick (opens in new tab). It actually is a 2,750-square-foot extension of its property’s main home, accessible by a passageway constructed partially underground.
Built with Passive House principles, the larger-than-life pool house features 18-foot-tall triple-glazed windows constructed along the pool’s west side to maximize sunlight. The underground passageway also allows an airtight entry, which creates an 88-degree indoor temperature throughout all seasons.
Ventilation from the ceiling prevents the glass from fogging up from the warm climate. The pool itself is 54 feet long.
BarlisWedlick intentionally designed the pool house in a different architectural style than the main house, noting that because of its unique size, a matching style would have compromised its proportions. Over time, the agricultural-style structure with a standing-seam gabled roof and two-toned board-and-batten siding will appear to look ‘older’ than the main house – an attractively aged look that will blend in with the surrounding landscape.
But perhaps it's less the impressive technical details that are so captivating about this pool house and more its idiosyncratic interior design. Four tree-trunk columns run the length of the pool anchoring the structure’s nature-centric look, while white birch logs cover the walls.
The overall effect is three-dimensional and liberating – swimming in this pool must be the closest one can get to wildwood swimming without having to brace cold water.
There are luxurious contemporary touches, too, that soften the rustic look. A leaf-patterned Paul Frankl upholstered sofa and soft-shade side lighting add touches of tropical hotel escapism. This pool house is unique in a way that manages to appeal to everyone.
Anna is Consumer Editor across Future home titles. She contributes to Livingetc, Homes & Gardens, Ideal Home and Real Homes, and she has a background in academic research. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s. Not just an expert in consumer shopping trends, she has also written about literature, architecture, and photography, and has a special interest in high-end interior design.
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