Summer begins and the sail of the heart starts listing toward water. In this spirit, we offer a few of our swimming holes, created in conjunction with some magnificent Landscape Architects, and note some insight into their designs.
It’s not often you see a swimming pool immediately upon entering the house. This Mediterranean house, located in Nashville, Tennessee is a far cry from that sea of inspiration. Being welcomed home by crystal clear water seemed a requirement. Landscape Architects Page Duke worked with us to seamlessly integrate this pool into the entry courtyard sequence. Pleached trees flank the linear pool and a guest house serves as an axial witness.
The owner (and renowned Southern host) of this text book Georgian estate invited us to design a dining room addition to accommodate 200 guests. We decided to create an English conservatory to fill this grand request. The lacy glass structure was situated overlooking an existing formal swimming pool. At night, the body of water becomes a shimmering mirror, reflecting the glowing lantern-like building.
The owners of this contemporary Dallas, Texas house wanted an exercise lap pool that did not look like an exercise lap pool. This pool, designed by our collaborators at Kaiser Trabue Landscape Architects, was realized as a long, dark reflecting pool, paralleling the house and backdropped by the greenery of a modern steel arbor. A striking contemporary sculpture at the end acts as a visual punctuation mark.
Come on in. The water’s fine.
“To sit in the shade on a fine day and look upon verdure is the most perfect refreshment.” —Jane Austen
To begin with, let me say that we love designing cabanas.
In the midst of the everyday task of juggling complex programs, all the while trying to make things look simple and elegant, the lone pool cabana asks for little. Sure, they must house the occasional fireplace or bathroom or two but, in the grand scheme of things, its sole purpose is be a shady temple dedicated to sloth.
That’s why they are the dessert of the design meal. Once we’ve digested the proteins and roughage of the house (also known as kitchens, baths and master closets), the cabana waits for us at the end of the struggle, full of empty calories and ready to tickle the imaginative palate.
As a prominent out-building, it serves as a condensed version of the architecture of the manor house; a stylistic demi-glace of all that resides at the grown-ups’ table. It has all the fun with none of the attitude. It’s sort of like having your vacation home in the backyard. You can track wet feet in there without getting yelled at.
Cabanas are the modern day version of the simple hut. Unlike the house, they don’t hermetically seal us up, double glazed in artificial environments. They offer shade and shelter. Plain and simple. Breezes blow through, the mind shuts off and drinks are served.
At the end of the day (or week), they are welcome refuges for the world weary, ready to shield you in their quirky, charming embrace.
Follies, beautifully lounging in the landscape, requiring nothing but giving so very much.