A Minimalist Connecticut Pool House Opens Out to Stunning River Views

A minimalist pool house in Connecticut opens to an infinity pool, an outdoor lounge area and river views

Pool House at a Glance 
Who lives here: The pool house serves a couple who are engineers and their two boys
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Size: 600 square feet (55.7 square meters)
Architect: Christopher Arelt of Nautilus Architects 


Old Lyme 1: Michael Elsden, original photo on Houzz


On a rise overlooking the Connecticut River, this contemporary project for a family of four includes a pool house that leads to an infinity-edge pool and an outdoor seating area featuring a custom sail-shade structure. The terrace stone used around the infinity pool and submerged hot tub is a salt-and-pepper granite called Liberty Hill.

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Old Lyme 2: Michael Elsden, original photo on Houzz


The sleek, sophisticated pool house maintains a minimalist color palette of gray, silver and black. The materials palette is similarly strict, combining architectural concrete steel, glass and stone. “Poured-in-place concrete walls were formed on-site using custom formwork and ties. They run along the back edge of the building,” architect Christopher Arelt says. “This heavy, opaque mass contrasts with the transparency of the open poolside edge, made possible by a cantilevered I-beam.”

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Old Lyme 3: Michael Elsden, original photo on Houzz


Taut, black metal-framed clerestory windows crown the pool house’s indoor living area. A concrete wall houses the propane-fueled fireplace. The kitchen, to the left, has lower cabinets of ebonized white oak. Stainless steel upper cabinets “keep the kitchen from getting monotonous,” Arelt says. The countertop is concrete with a waterfall edge down one side.

Old Lyme 4: Michael Elsden, original photo on Houzz


The frosted glass and ebonized white oak paneled door to the left of the fireplace leads to a changing area and shower.

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Old Lyme 5: Michael Elsden, original photo on Houzz


The pool house features a built-in, bar-height steel table for dining. Two walls of 25-foot glass doors can slide into stacked pockets to create an open-air pavilion. The roof slats are ipe wood atop a protective membrane, creating a dynamic architectural element.

Opposite the pool house is an outdoor shelter of four steel square columns, designed to mimic those of the pool house. These columns support tenting material made of Tencel — a sustainable fabric made from wood cellulose. “Because the material is hooked onto the supports with rings, it can be easily reconfigured,” Arelt says.

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