Give this Green Spring couple’s pool house a quick once-over and you’ll see a beautiful KeyLargo-themed painting (by local artist Bill Wright) placed over a rustic fireplace, antique upholstered chairs set atop textured white tiles and the wide-open space that flows directly from the interior to the brick and bluestone patio. Now take a closer look. That painting is actually several fold-out panels that hide a flat-screen television.

Controls for the surround-sound speaker system are tucked away in cabinets, the tile flooring radiates heat and a set of barely there glass accordion doors slide shut to enclose the pool house for year-round entertainment. Two wings attached to the main lounge area house a dressing room, a steam room and a garden potting space.

To complement their pool, the owners wanted a pool house that meshed well with their Cotswold cottage-style home. So they enlisted Tom Gamper, of SMG Architects, to head the project design. Having worked with the couple in the past on a house addition, Gamper was already familiar with the property. He matched
the roofline of the pool house to the original home so it wouldn’t interfere with the smooth architectural flow between the structures. The new pool house features cedar shingles installed atop the swayback roof, as well as a white stucco exterior and interior walls of whitewashed wood planks. To tie it all together, Gamper opted for some luscious landscaping with a garden for all seasons. “The garden terraces down to the pool and the pool melds into the pool house,” says Gamper.  “Our primary design goal was to have the [pool house] structure be a part of the house.” —Brittany Bauhaus

RESOURCES  Architect: Tom Gamper, SMG Architects, Baltimore, 410-685-3582; Contractor: Ned Worthington, Baltimore, 410-581-0220; Sound system: Shawn
Weiner, Starr Systems Design, Baltimore, 410-494-4310; Art: Bill Wright, Baltimore, 410-484-6536; Pool: Custom Pools by McDade, 410-329-6415.


When Todd and Nancy Tilson moved into their Lutherville home last summer, they fired up their new grill, hired a rock musician and celebrated with a big ol’ barbecue. The party was supposed to be a housewarming, but family and friends left the house untouched, congregating instead around the teak-clad pool house. With its outdoor fire pit, mini amphitheater and gorgeously tiled interior, who could blame them?

But the real draw, we suspect, was the outdoor bar served by a nifty liquor shelf fitted into a swing-out door that is actually a corner of the structure. Architect Charles Alexander of Alexander Design Studio says the bar is “like a beach shack,” where everything is self-contained. “You swing open the door and the bar is ready for business,” says Alexander.

The real design challenge in creating the pool house was integrating it into the natural retaining wall that surrounds the pool. But Alexander managed to make the challenge an asset: Guests feel like they are “walking into a grotto” when they enter the space, he says.  —Lia Gormsen

RESOURCES  Architect: Charles Alexander, Alexander Design Studio, 410-465-8207;
Designer: Dan Proctor, Kirk Designs Inc., 410-468-0798.


“We love being outside,” owner Alan Fabian says of his family. But when these self-described “water and beach people” step inside their pool house, they enjoy all the modern comforts of a 21st-century home. Architect Jeff Penza of Penza Bailey Architects incor-porated elements from the Fabians’ French Country-style main home into the pool house design, which features a full kitchen, his-and-her changing rooms, two full baths and a stone fireplace.

Outside, a large covered terrace done in stucco and stone occupies the left side of the pool house, creating the “natural, organic feel” the Fabians desired, says landscape architect Stuart Ortel.

Beyond is the oasis that is the family’s Hunt Valley backyard: a free-form pool complete with a boulder in place of a diving board for their kids to jump from; two fishponds teeming with multi-colored fish; and a yard full of flowering berry trees and lush perennials.  —Lia Gormsen 

Architect: Jeff Penza, Penza Bailey Architects, 410-435-6677; Landscape architect:
Stuart Ortel, Stone Hill Design, 410-464-2000.

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