Perching at a poolside bar or even paddling to the front door are all possible with skillful design
As I sit here in humid 90-degree Atlanta summer heat (actually, hiding inside in the air conditioning, frettting over Vitamin D deficiency), I am dreaming of enjoying a frozen drink while submerged in a cool body of water. Counters between pools and outdoor kitchens, pavilions with televisions, and even a cabin with a swim-up deck make taking a cooling swim that much more fun — and more social. Take a break from your work for a few minutes and daydream about a dip. And if you're lucky enough to be making your pool dreams a reality, consider some of these factors when making your plans.
Counters 1: Sage Design Studios, Inc., original photo on Houzz
Jonathan Spears of Sage Design Studios explains that there are lots of factors to consider when adding a counter, such as the height from both sides of the counter surface, the spacing between the underwater stools and the wall surface underneath the counter (it should have a smooth finish that won't scrape bare knees).
These beautiful underwater counter stools must be planned. "In places like Malibu, the column construction includes tubes dug into the foundation that provide the forms," he says. He then covered the concrete cylinders with a beautiful tile that adds pattern to the watery palette.
Spears also warns about scorching hot countertops. "If the counter is not covered by shade, be sure to use a porous material like tumbled travertine to keep it from getting too hot and burning the skin."
Counters 2: AMS Landscape Design Studios, Inc., original photo on Houzz
An outdoor kitchen is the ultimate swim-up companion. Just listen to your mother and give yourself a half-hour to digest. If you've been having a hot dog from the poolside, be careful.
Obviously and ironically, the "dry" side of the counter is where you should be imbibing spirits, but enjoying a piña colada on a hot day from the wet side may be too tempting. If you opt to drink while soaking, be very careful and don't overdo it. Also, the pool should be shallow enough for those indulging in food and spirits to take a slow and safe walk through the water out to dry land.
Counters 3: Earthline Design Landscape Architecture, original photo on Houzz
A pavilion over this counter provides a shady side and a sunny side. Those cooling off in the water can enjoy direct sun; those who are working hard making margaritas or who forgot their bathing suits can enjoy the shade.
Counter height from the dry side is an important consideration. The average kitchen counter indoors is 36 inches high, while the standard bar height is 42 inches.
Counters 4: Derrick Architecture, original photo on Houzz
Pavilions also provide shade for viewing a flat screen. Those who enjoy this pool in the Ozarks can also enjoy watching the Cardinals play while they cool off.
Counters 5: Okanagan Dream Builders Ltd., original photo on Houzz
This pool's thoughtful design has a large, shallow area for lounging in just a few inches of water in addition to the underwater counter stools.
Counters 6: Dan Nelson, Designs Northwest Architects, original photo on Houzz
The owners of this floating house on Lake Union in Seattle tend to kayak instead of swim up to their home, but these large glass garage doors make it possible to dive from the living room.