OUTDOOR DESIGN - A Luxurious Outdoor Space


The pool reflects the newly designed pool house, waterfall fountain and fireplace.


The property is part of a developing lane of houses designed for sophisticated living. The owners were hoping to add a five-car garage and replace a builder-designed patio with a pool and pool house when they approached McHale Landscape Design in 2008. They quickly learned that the hidden dynamics of their site would challenge those ideas—and lead ultimately to a more enticing space. Phil Kelly, McHale’s chief operating officer, and landscape architect Anthony Cusat relayed the news: With setback requirements and an awkwardly placed septic system, it would require ingenuity just to fit in a pool. With help from a civil engineer and septic system designer, Kelly found the way forward. Cusat never wavered from his goal of creating a “destination” with features to entice children outdoors.

Inviting seating options beckon poolside, where Turkish travertine paves the deck, surrounded by walls made of local stone.

Architectural elements give the project the Tuscan flair that inspired Peake’s décor. The combination of local stone walls and imported Turkish travertine underfoot creates a courtyard-like enclosure, with the pool house as a focal point. To complete the pool house layout and interior, which offers a 22-foot-high coffered ceiling under the peaked roof, McHale called on architect Michael Nawrocki.

A peek-a-boo wall leads to a formal lawn and a fountain creates movement.

The pool house is designed to be breezy or toasty warm depending on the season, thanks to fold-back glass doors that open wall-to-wall on the loggia side. The building itself is substantial, with a full basement for storage and radiant heat under the Turkish travertine floor. Custom lighting by Holly Hunt hangs above plush furnishings, which Peake has upholstered in pale but practical indoor-outdoor chenilles and linens. A fireplace crackles in winter, below the flat screen television, which provides sports and entertainment on command. For the fireplace wall, Peake designed a ceramic tile surround with a custom upholstered frame to ensure that the flat screen would fit seamlessly into the tile work. 


The pool house harbors a chic living space with a vaulted coffered ceiling.

The kitchenette, with its nifty gleaming espresso machine, is served by a dark-stained teak table that expands to seat eight. A tall, narrow wine cooler is hidden in one of the ample built-ins that Peake designed to keep the multi-functional space neat. The bathroom opposite the laundry room is as sophisticated as the rest of the décor.

Selecting durable but sophisticated furnishings, including ottomans that open to store toys.



To the architect, the combination of details lifts this pool house above the routine. “Pool houses often seem more like largely open party spaces, which are much more closely related to the pool,” Nawrocki says. A bar is standard equipment, but the overall impact is “a place to hang out with a changing room. This is really getting a lot closer to a guest house, a year-round refuge."

Near the main house, an outdoor kitchen includes bar seating.

Like Peake, Nawrocki credits the client and all the collaborators on the project and gives special kudos to Cusat, whose “masterstroke” was to site the pool house on a visual axis that allows the owners to gaze from the breakfast table across the pool deck, through the glass doors of the pool house and on to the garden beyond. 

A covered porch with a beamed ceiling and a massive fireplace blends with the new construction.








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