The pool of this Phoenix house feels as laterally finite as the house feels spacious—but the view goes up forever.
The house strikes an elegant balance between transparency and privacy. The loftlike great room—combining kitchen, dining room, and living room—opens onto an intimate, enclosed study. In the master bedroom a custom cedar-and-tatami sliding screen of Webb’s design covers an opening in the bedroom wall; when pulled aside, it reveals a bird’s-eye view of the living room and kitchen below. Gigantic, thoughtfully placed windows frame views of the vast surrounding landscape—yet provide privacy from the architects’ adjacent studio—while generous stretches of gallery-white walls offer plenty of display space for Dunlop’s art. A sense of interconnectedness reigns: The master bathroom flows seamlessly into the bedroom, and the concrete pool on the living room deck is also accessible, if you’re brave, by a leap from one on the second floor.
Knitting the designed spaces into the greater wilderness beyond was paramount for the ten-acre landscape Douglas Hoerr devised in northern Michigan. “The idea is once you’re there, you can’t tell what we did,” he says. Instead of building formal gardens right to the property line, Hoerr added a meadow planted with mature trees and indigenous grasses to buffer the yard. Naturalistic plantings ebb and flow around the 110-foot-long saltwater lap pool.
The Babat residence in Nashville is blessed with a big backyard; however, the blistering Tennessee sun once made it feel more like a broiler than a place to kick back and relax. Enter architect Michael Goorevich, who devised a wood-and-steel trellis to cover part of the space.
Devised as a compact but extremely flexible all-in-one addition, Cocoon9’s prefab cabin illustrates how to make the most out of very little square footage. The international firm specializes in prefab design and construction. Every model incorporates elements that open up and fold away to increase flexibility and functionality. The models are not only beautiful—they’re also environmentally friendly, employing sustainable materials like FSC certified bamboo, cerused oak and low-e insulated glass with thermally broken aluminum frames to minimize the need for artificial heating and cooling.
House 43 is both monumental and inviting. The woodsy retreat feels removed from the beach, yet is located just three miles inland. The Hariris’ design is both spare and luxurious—a rectilinear L-shaped plan set around a sculptural patio and pool of travertine. Clad in huge glass curtain walls and bleached red cedar, the house’s warm gray hue gently offsets the reds, browns, and occasional lichen greens of the damp surrounding scrub.
Victoria and Greg Pryor met on the beach in Montauk, New York, when they were both just 13 years old. The Hamptons hamlet, the setting of so many idyllic childhood summers, continued to exert a strong pull on the couple into adulthood. So when they decided to build a retreat for escaping Manhattan’s bustle with their boys, Dylan and Lucas, it didn’t make sense to do it anywhere else. The Pryors relax at their Montauk retreat among modular furniture from Richard Schultz's Swell Seating Collection and chaise longues from his 1966 collection from Knoll.
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. “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.
Inspired by their clients’ bold art collection, a pair of architects designed a mix influenced Hamptons vacation house that subverts tradition.
As the facade of this Bates Masi-designed home in Water Mill, New York, rises from eight to 14 feet high, the mahogany planks subtly widen. “It was quite a demand to make of the contractor,” architect Paul Masi says. “But the design was so much about traveling through the site and weaving [the house] together with the deck.”
Bernard Trainor collaborated with architect Peter Bohlin for a pool design in the Santa Lucia Preserve.
For design mavericks Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan, a challenging site that slopes toward the sea yields a unique opportunity to create an intimate and relaxing hideaway. Landscape designer Vickie Cardaro used native grasses and plantings near the swimming pool. Cushions upholstered in Sunbrella fabric rest atop a Trex deck. The western red cedar ceiling extends through the deep eaves and covered seating area.
Architect Sean Lockyer designed a 5,760-square-foot concrete, stucco, and ipe home for a couple and their three children in the Southern California desert town of Indian Wells. The residents selected the home’s furnishings, including the Royal Botania chaise lounges. A covered patio, with a fire pit and bar, sits next to a 60-foot swimming pool.
This exquisite house in Phoenix is composed of three minimalist boxes fused into a single structure—two poured-earth “bookends” connected by a steel-and-glass bridge that spans the desert wash bisecting the lot. It sits at the foot of one of the steep, craggy hills that pop up at regular intervals from Phoenix’s otherwise-level grid in a neighborhood dotted with houses by Frank Lloyd Wright, Will Bruder, and Tod Williams and Billie Tsien
This rooftop courtyard of a Mexico City home is lined with a verdant mix of indigenous plants, including banana trees, palm trees, lion’s claw, Mexican breadfruit, and native vines.
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. See more here.
A New Yorker who often hosts small groups of friends at his place in the Hamptons wanted a low-key arrangement built for entertaining. So he hired architect Nick Martin to design one very large space that spills over to other rooms at different elevations and connects to the outdoors through sliding glass Loewen doors. While the result is resolutely contemporary, Martin says he aimed for a design that would have been at home in Richard Neutra’s era. "[We made] no special moves or mechanical devices," he says, "just clean design and a modernist arrangement of objects." Photo by Patrick Bernard.
Inside this cedar-framed pool house in New Jersey 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.
Architects Leslie and Julie Dowling, twin sisters and Michael Graves protégées, created this 1,000-square-foot, single-story home by linking two flat-roofed pavilions together in the shape of a T. The design of this Sonoma County home was inspired by Philip Johnson’s 1949 Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.
Competitive swimmer Sydne Didier commissioned Austin Design Inc. to create a 102-foot-long pool house in a freestanding structure behind her Amherst, Massachusetts, house.
This Marmol Radziner-designed prefab house in Las Vegas is as artful as it is art-filled, thanks to an asymmetrical arrangement of solids and voids. The single-story, glass-and-steel south wing sits alongside a swimming pool, bordered by a glass-walled pavilion for formal dining.
In Sweden, architect Bengt Mattias Carlsson created a pavilion adjacent to a residence dating from the late 1800s. The pergola is made from glue-laminated timber beams set atop steel posts; it protects the pool from falling pine needles. George Nelson benches offer places to sit.
Prior to the addition of the raised, 750-square-foot pool (and its 65-square-foot hot tub), this Santa Monica, California, lot was a scramble of structures: the house in one corner and the guesthouse and the office each occupying another. Without the pool's elevation, "you’d open the guesthouse door and be forced to be part of what’s going on in the water,” architect Padraic Cassidy says. “Because the pool is at waist height, the wall creates a private space for the visitor.” Read more about this standout feature here.
Architect Ernesto Pereira focused on three simple things when remodeling a typical Portuguese dwelling in coastal Vila do Conde: “Wood for its comfort, water for its peace, and light for its vitality,” he explains. He balanced these primary elements in the Silver Wood House, a domestic oasis that brings home the sandy colors and textures of the nearby beach.
In Santa Monica, California, where pools are plenty but not always eye-pleasing, Padraic Cassidy lifted one 30 inches off the ground—dramatically elevating its aesthetic appeal. Across the path is the resident's favorite spot from which to take in the aquatic tableau: a rock garden and sitting area created by landscape designer Tory Polone. Chairs rest near the a hidden grade-level gas fire pit—an on-demand campfire.
Taking inspiration from the repurposed shipping container trend and loft-style aesthetics, Rice and his team transformed a stucco box home in San Diego into an airy, modern home that fits perfectly into the neighborhood. An entryway reflecting pond, outdoor dining area, rooftop patios, and large backyard pool were also added to create a larger, more dynamic property. “I love the way we were able to take a really nondescript box and give it so much energy and life,” Rice says.
A 40 foot by 10 foot pool is designed to echo this Dallas house’s tower with an almost reflection-like alignment.