Litchfield Pool House

Small, high energy-efficient pool house in Litchfield County

This 1,700-square-foot pool house, located on a 50-acre estate in Lyme, could easily double as a luxurious guest house. Architect Christopher Arelt of Nautilus Architects designed the structure with two bedrooms, a cook’s kitchen, an old-world pantry and an exercise room. The home owners were interested in creating a small, highly energy-efficient building. Because of this, and the fact that the site features a gentle south-facing slope, insulated concrete forms were identified as an ideal construction method. The foam blocks are finished in stucco, and the building seems to grow seamlessly out of its surroundings. Capitalizing on the passive-solar opportunities afforded by the orientation, almost all of the windows and doors are located on the south elevation, facing the pool. The large living area features a bank of doors leading out to the pool. A motorized screen concealed in the outdoor ceiling can be rolled down for protection during buggy weather. The flanking bedrooms (each with a full bathroom) feature arch-topped French windows with no central post that open to the pool view. The interior floors—complete with radiant heating fueled by a geothermal system—are a creamy limestone accented by chestnut at the upper entry. Delicate, black wrought-iron railings lead visitors down a small stair to the living spaces on the pool level. The kitchen has walnut counters and mirrored backsplash, complemented by white subway tile and custom cabinets. Hand-hewn decorative beams imbue the interior with character and contrast with the curvaceous plaster walls. An oversized, custom entertainment center at the great space’s east end presides over the handsomely appointed interior designed by Alison McCall of Pembroke House Designs, Ltd.