Guesthouse Doubles as Pool House and Gallery
I am back from New York. As anticipated, it was a productive trip. I’m inspired by the opportunities of the new project in Bridgehampton, “a former whaling and farming village.” Will gladly share many details as the design process moves along. It involves remodeling and adding to a traditional shingle-style house on a ¾ of an acre lot. Besides the primary residence, there is a freestanding shed on the property that will serve as a guesthouse, pool house and gallery.
I had three days on the site to absorb and record. Two days were devoted to the main residence. Once I understood what could be done with the house proper, I switched to the guesthouse. Before leaving, I had to grasp the scope and discuss my plans with the client. We had to articulate all of the functions for each of the elements.
From day one, my client envisioned the auxiliary freestanding structure we’ve been lovingly calling a barn as a guesthouse.
A term guesthouse implies sleeping accommodations, a bathroom, and possibly a kitchen. Hm… Our shed is only 18’ x 20’. Is there a way to push the envelope? My first thought is to preserve the volume. What if we resort to a sofa bed and add a “gallery” leading to a separate pavilion housing a bathroom, a kitchenette, even a sauna?
Thankfully, my client is supportive of the idea. He is a collector with a great taste. I help him edit. Together, we blend old and new, weaving historic elements into cleaned-lined minimalist architecture. Unfortunately, upon further consideration, we abandon the extension concept — local building codes might not allow it. As such, we decide to fit everything in the space available.
Our pool house, as designated on the drawings already approved by the city, should also serve as a private gallery.
By the way, the previous owner was an artist and used the shed as her studio. First and foremost, I aim to preserve the open feel created by the soaring vaulted ceiling. Working with the existing compact footprint, I finally settle on the “floating” scheme (see the drawings below).
As you can see, it’s planned for maximum efficiency; every inch amounts to something. Up in the loft, there’s just enough room for a queen-size mattress (5’ x 7’) and a sliver of space to get to the ladder. The kitchenette below doubles as a hallway leading to a bathroom. A sink cabinet morphs into a tiny closet above. I was thinking of outfitting the bath with a Japanese “ofuro,” a deep tub for the ultimate in relaxation. It’s ideal for such a tiny room.
The existing entrance, a wonderfully aged barn door, shall remain as is. We will modernize the skylights and insolate. The rough-hewn tie beams will be reinforced. We will keep all of them, except for the one over the ladder. In the effort to promote the indoor-outdoor lifestyle, one of the walls will open up to the new pool, which will surely generate interest and draw attention. That way, our teeny guesthouse or pool house, or gallery will feel more expansive than it really is.