A swimming pool is the ultimate residential luxury. The stuff of dream home fantasies, in fact. Whether inside or out, on the surface of it, only a lucky few of us have the space, but with shrewd design ideas there are possibilities: dig down to create an underground home spa; use clever lighting techniques to bring the sunshine in; or make a splash with a multipurpose space that morphs into a pool room at the push of a button.
Design briefs don’t come much more ambitious than this (below). The owners of a large new build house in the suburbs wanted to create an indoor pool that could be hidden away, allowing the space to transform into a modern ballroom. The design required a hydraulic floor for the pool, and carefully selected stone for the main surface, ensuring strength and chemical resistance as well as the ability to withstand any scratches and stains that come with a heavy footfall. A revolutionary ultra-compact surface, Dekton by Cosentino, more than did the job with its elegant aesthetic that gives the room a suitably luxurious finish.
Swimming pools can come in all shapes and sizes. Limited square footage could be an issue, but to an architect worth their salt, it’s an exciting challenge to rise to. In this Notting Hill townhouse (below, right), a compact, elongated pool is brought to life with clever lighting that gives the otherwise stark space a cosy, home spa feel. Lighting design practice Nulty were tasked with complementing the room’s minimalist architecture. A line of illumination around the pool is playfully reflected in the water, creating warmth and movement, while the double-height space at the rear is softly lit to give a serene feel.
While an outdoor swimming pool has its obvious benefits, an indoor design can be enjoyed year-round. But why settle for either/or when you can have the very best of both worlds? Octagon Bespoke, whose raison d’être is delivering dream homes, offer one example that allows for luxurious indoor/outdoor living, whatever the weather. In this modern manor of a new build (bottom), a sizeable indoor pool lies under a ceiling of glass sky lights, protecting swimmers from the elements yet keeping the space light and bright, while a full wall of fold back glass doors opens up the space beautifully on sunnier days.
Another residential swimming pool from Octagon Bespoke that not only ups the luxury game, but which belies the British weather, is this heated outdoor infinity pool in the grounds of a grand family house. Carved dramatically into the very landscape of the new build’s plot, the design makes the most of its undulating surrounds – look outwards and you’re immediately at one with nature, seemingly without the confines of concrete. You’ll need a commodious back yard to install an outdoor swimming pool with a vanishing edge, but if you are spatially blessed, the horizon’s the limit.
A residential swimming pool, despite its reputation as a barometer of affluence and excess, isn’t just for lounging. With the rise of the home gym comes a more functional approach to home pools – at times we want to put in some serious lengths rather than float off on an inflatable flamingo, piña colada in hand. Increasingly, homeowners are digging down to create a subterranean pool room that doesn’t rely on natural rays, but which recreates a luxurious hotel spa with ambient mood lighting. Take inspiration from the sumptuous 20m swimming pool (right), complete with Jacuzzi and private gym, at Holland Park Villas.