The origin of pool houses dates back to the first century B.C. when communal bathing was an opportunity for socializing, handling business and relaxing. Through the centuries, pool houses have greatly evolved and are no longer a simple area to store clothes before a dip in the water. But what makes today’s pool house complete? The basic concept of the pool house has varied little over the past century, but like the main house, required and desired amenities and functionality offer some interesting new possibilities for its use.
Today’s luxury homeowner wants an oasis offering luxury, state-of-the-art technology and an unreservedly captivating design.
By working in concert, builders, remodelers, designers and landscape architects can create a pool house that serves as a combination entertaining space, guest house and personal retreat “Conceptually, a pool house is an object to complement the pool and the main house” says Maurice Weintraub, a Pennsylvania-based architect. “They tend to be follies that can be whimsical, classical or serious and tie into the architecture of the house; or they can even be separate.”
Fifty years ago, a pool house needed to be designed to include a designated changing area. Today, the formal changing area is unnecessary and outdated in concept and has given way to the requisite full bathroom complete with a shower. One obvious reason for the full bathroom is so swimmers don’t need to trek all the way to the main house to use the facilities. The necessity of a full bath also is driven by the desire to utilize the pool house as a party area and also as guest quarters.
Secondly, the pool house must feature a kitchen with a full complement of appliances. The indoor kitchen will be used as a bar when the homeowner throws a party, and will allow overnight guests their own personal cooking space. The level of appliances and functionality is dependent on budgetary and size parameters but should give the pool house all the comforts of home.
“It needs to be a place where people can sleep and where a homeowner can entertain. You really want to have the ability for someone to live there,” says Dave Lesser, principal of Windstar Homes in Tampa, Fla.
The third, and arguably, most important component is the multi-purpose room which can be used as a guest bedroom, party space or even a gaming area. Smartly designed multipurpose rooms include furniture that can be easily moved to make way for a Murphy bed. The Murphy bed can be recessed into a pocket in the wall when entertaining and easily pulled out when needed. Some multipurpose rooms (or great rooms) are designed with the gamer in mind. The well-appointed great room can accommodate pool and Ping-Pong tables.
The average size of a pool house varies from approximately 400 to 600 sq. ft. — depending on the functional needs and property size — so space maximization is a prime design consideration. Using French doors or a glass wall, an indoor-outdoor theme is created to open the area. When this wall of glass is open, the room seamlessly blends into the pool area giving the illusion of an even larger space.
To facilitate the indoor-outdoor theme, Lesser utilizes pocketing walls of glass that are controlled with a hand-held device or wall switch. “Because of the way you create the indoor-outdoor theme, the space will feel considerably larger than it really is and will help create an indoor-outdoor theme that will be second to none,” he explains.
“There needs to be a strong synergy in the indoor-outdoor element to capitalize on the luxury pool house,” Lesser says. “It should be open so people can be entertained.”