Great Escapes: A Modern Georgia Pool House
Atlanta-based designer Bill Musso had recently toured a Mondrian exhibit when he embarked on this verdant poolscape in Athens, Georgia, and that artistic inspiration shows in his chunky, block-like shapes and patterns.
“This is a green, sustainable space that makes use of recycled, reclaimed and environmentally-friendly materials in just about every element,” he says, “and we wanted materials that would be as durable and long-lasting and low-maintenance as possible, so features wouldn’t have to be thrown away and replaced every few years.”
The overall effect of these asymmetrical patterns and hard-right angles -- fringed in lush, leafy growth, with soft lighting from solar tubes dappling the water -- makes for a pacifying retreat.
1. The bar’s concrete counter is embedded with fragments of recycled glass in shades of oceanic blue and green, from Dex Studios. Resin-coated, leisure furniture from the venerable Brown Jordan company is guaranteed for life – “we were thinking long-term on every detail,” Musso says -- while the chairs with white pillows are from the Kolo Collection in Atlanta. The comfortable lounge chairs, from Room & Board, are lightweight and equipped with wheels to make them easy to align with sun or shade.
2. The temperature of the saline pool is controlled by the increasingly popular Geothermal Heat Pump, which draws natural warmth from the ground. The Environmental Protection Agency has praised GHPs as the most energy-efficient, environmentally clean and cost-effective space conditioning systems available.
3. “We had experimented with a couple of other kinds of umbrellas, but the wind just took them out; they just -- ‘whoosh!’ -- blew away,” Musso says, with a laugh. They ended up with a stylish umbrella, the Vizor from Spacify. The asymmetrical design of this canopy is aerodynamically designed to withstand those powerful gusts, though, and also handily complements the randomly assembled tiles.
4. The tiles are rainbow limestone quarried in India. “They have unusual striations that I’d never seen before,” Musso says, “so I wanted to have some fun with them in their patterns, to make it look as if someone had just thrown them casually across the field, creating a puzzle effect. I like that sense of ‘organized chaos’ they create.”
5. The living roof above the bar is sown with hardy succulents and drought-resistant plants, including native grasses, cerastium and several varieties of sedum that require little care. “They throw off oxygen and pretty much take care of themselves without much maintenance, and they add to the ‘green’ atmosphere, in every sense of that word, more than shingles would,” Musso says. The surrounding landscape uses only plants and wildflowers that are native to Georgia’s red clay, “to stay natural and not feel formal and overly planned,” he adds.
6. In keeping with the mission of sustainability and the celebration of water in this space, downpours are channeled into the “Rain Chain System,” which feeds into a French drain and then collects in a cistern, to be recycled for irrigation. So this space stays well-hydrated and regenerative.