Interior Designer Amy Aidinis Hirsch Builds a Modern Pool House Dream
See how the simple yet eye-catching design came to life.
A looky-loo peeking at designer Amy Aidinis Hirsch’s backyard might mistake it for an Aman Resort—a spectacular, undercover property in low-key Cos Cob, passkey required. Its focal point is a cube clad horizontally in cedar planks stained black, a deliberate contrast to its creator’s high-wattage-white, 21st-century farmhouse, a rest for the eyes on a late-July blazer.
“This was always part of the master plan,” explains Hirsch, who tapped her original team—Vicente-Burin Architects and builder Keith Manca—to bring her plan to life. “I wanted a low-maintenance, simple box that would remind me of my travels.”
Open-air structures in Australia and New Zealand—no fussy windows, no buckling doors—were among the designer’s inspirations. She approached the project with one of her hallmarks: perpendicularity, which provides a backbone for an oxymoronic aesthetic of lean abundance. Cedar, poured concrete, and ipe—the South American hardwood that goes silvery when weathered—made the short list, their linearity softened by mondo grasses. Ipe coping keeps the pool looking neat, while four hornbeams salute the virtue of symmetry.
Work began in 2019, and by June 2020, the inky-black gunite pool with UV filtration got its first swimmer. And they continued to enjoy the new pool until late fall. Her kids do their homework by the pool, and Hirsch says she can’t get enough of it herself. “In the midst of this frightening moment, it felt great to have a project that would keep people working,” she notes.
After a float, Hirsch and her guests can retire to her “terrarium,” 350 square feet of soothing darkness featuring potted exotics, voluminous ferns, and acres of succulents. It’s skewered with accent pillows like cantaloupe chunks and lounge chairs the color of copper. Only if the peeper on the walkabout stays til twilight does she glimpse the stunner: A tangle of ropey LED strands that glow beneath a tilted, slatted roof.“That’s the jewelry,” says Hirsch. She wears it proudly—and with gratitude.
The print version of this article appears with the headline: The Rear View.
Subscribe to C&G