This pool house adds a splash of sophistication

This Amherst home features an eye-catching, yet kid-friendly, pool house and grounds.

Function, comfort and style mesh flawlessly in an Amherst home’s spacious back yard. There, a pool and pool house, a hot tub, lush gardens, an outdoor kitchen and a bluestone patio provide space for relaxing and entertaining.

The pool house and outdoor grounds were all part of the main home’s master plan when homeowners Stephen and Karen Doyle relocated from North Carolina to be closer to family. In 2009, the homeowners—who were still living down south as the home was being built—worked with a team of professionals, including architect Jason Aselin of JAD Design Group in Amherst; construction manager Jen Bartholomay of JBART Consulting in Amherst, who also designed much of the interior; landscape architect George Pellettieri and project manager Christopher Kessler of Pellettieri Associates in Warner; and a construction crew led by Steve Desmarais of Steve Desmarais Construction, Inc. in Milford.

From the onset, the Doyles’ three young children inspired the design direction: the space had to be fun, functional and safe. The pool itself has a kid-friendly shallow area—a good spot to play water games and splash around. Then, the homeowners chose tile flooring for the first level of the pool house for its practicality and ease of cleaning.

“The project started with the children in mind,” Karen says. “We wanted a convenient bathroom inside as well as an outdoor shower, so at the end of the day, the kids would rinse off the chlorine before coming inside.”

The pool house’s open and airy kitchen features an induction cooktop, built-in appliances and a café-style dining area just steps away from the French doors leading out to the pool.

But aside from functionality and practicality, the space—both inside and out—is designed for entertaining. Since the project’s completion, the pool house, gardens and grounds have been the setting for many gatherings, including informal pool parties for the kids and an elegant, catered fiftieth wedding anniversary party for Stephen’s parents.

“The house is designed for fluid entertaining for both large parties or an intimate family get-together,” adds Aselin, who designed the main home and pool house.

Inspired by New England

The pool house mirrors the design and lines of the main home. Aselin described the exterior as a combination of classic New England and Shingle-Style design elements: cedar shingles, metal roofing, granite and bluestone, and hardwoods.

“The cedar-clad pool house reflects the strong Shingle-Style influences of the main house,” Aselin says. “The covered porch with Doric columns has French glass doors that open to an attractive, yet functional open-concept interior with a stairwell leading to an upper-floor bedroom.”

Inside, the first floor of the pool house features a spa-inspired full bathroom, a kitchen, a living room with fireplace, and a covered porch; the second level has a bedroom suite. The kitchen—which ties with the bathroom as Bartholomay’s favorite room—features soft paint colors and custom maple cabinets that were chosen for a crisp, clean look. The kitchen counters are topped with solid Ceasarstone quartz; the backsplash is glass tile with copper accents. Open maple shelves suspended by chrome rods provide storage while keeping with the kitchen’s clean, crisp lines. “We wanted to make the space comfortable yet functional,” Bartholomay says. The kitchen has a wine refrigerator, dishwasher and induction cooktop with a stacked washer/dryer in a closet.

The hot tub is situated in a private, yet accessible, nook away from the swimming pool but close enough to the patio and screened porch of the main house.

The Doyles wanted the pool house’s bathroom to include spa-like features using natural materials, such as river stones for the floor. “We wanted it to be breezy and light, but still in line with the design of the main house,” Karen says. For the bathroom, Bartholomay installed pebble flooring that transitions to an open-concept shower with a contemporary, linear drain.

For the upstairs guest suite, the same dark-wood flooring in the main house was chosen. Bartholomay says Pompanoosuc Mills Furniture handcrafted the bed and dressers.

Native plants = three-season color

The Doyles hired Pellettieri Associates because the couple was familiar with the firm’s projects. “We loved their work,” Karen says. “It’s very natural and doesn’t look too manicured. We wanted wildflowers and native plants, so it would feel like an extension of the woods around us.”

An outdoor grilling area on the patio near the main house features ample space for food preparation, serving and storage.

Kessler says the homeowners wanted plants and flowers that would provide a wide array of color throughout three seasons, with successional blooms from early spring to late fall. He adds that the plantings were chosen for their color and texture, and to define the edges of the pool. The geomorphic pool is roughly sixteen feet wide by forty feet long, with an eight-foot-deep end for diving and a spur at the shallow end.

Unstained cedar fencing with granite posts was installed, according to safety regulations, around the swimming pool area. Kessler says the forty-eight-inch-high fencing will weather softly to a light gray that will blend in with the landscape. Kessler adds that the landscaping was designed to highlight several pieces from the Doyles’ sculpture collection.


Bartholomay, who served as the homeowners’ eyes and ears during construction on the main house, says much of the initial planning was achieved by communicating with the Doyles over the phone or via e-mail.

“This was a wonderful marriage of talent between the homeowners, who are great people to work with, and the professionals on the team,” she says.

As for how the project turned out, Bartholomay’s endorsement says it all: “I could live in that pool house,”
she says.   

Categories: Architecture and Interiors, Outdoor Spaces