Poolhouse & Portico

Making your way along the narrow, rolling dirt road and up the steep driveway, the momentum of arriving propels you toward a two-bay garage; the de facto entry to this otherwise formal residence. Panoramic water views offer the quintessential eyeful of beauty that is Block Island— stone walls, beach roses, big sky, salty sea.

The program called for a new pool and cabana. The obvious solution was a glorified extrusion of the existing garage, but the natural grade of the land and an unspoken call for folly suggested something more; an upper-level cascade of open-air structures to create a focal point at the arrival area, leading to the pool at a more private, lower elevation, and a Poolhouse that emerges from the hillside.

Fold-away glass doors open the Poolhouse to the pool patio; a mosaic of gable end windows and opaque, operable skylights bring in light and air while maintaining privacy. Inside and out, the juxtaposition of poured concrete and meticulous woodwork is a winsome pairing of rough and refined.

Now, as you approach the property, you arrive at the Portico—an inviting, framed gateway to the stunning views. Drawn in, sheltered and shaded, you peek through the top of the Poolhouse to and see the pool below. Turn around and you’re in an exotic little world of wooden arches that somehow conjures up visions of Italy, Spain, North Africa. Momentarily transported, your orientation steadies as your eyes settle on familiar landmarks.

This project is all pleasure and playfulness. The rough-cut post-and-beam Portico gently nudges and eases your first impression of the handsome, somewhat reserved, neoclassical residence. Dappled light filters through the Pergola and spills onto the Portico. Steel panels, laser cut with vines and flowers, echo the surrounding vegetation. The effect of the wooden arches and cut-steel panels is exotic. The view, framed by the Portico, is familiar. The pool and Poolhouse, another world unto itself.