Poolside elegance

Poolside elegance


outdoor accessories

A fully equipped kitchen and dining room are the jewels in the crown of this stunning design

By Scott Brown

Photography Patrick Redmond

Claiming a commanding position, this dramatic residence on the Mornington Peninsula overlooks Port Phillip Bay and offers distant views of Melbourne as well as the heads. Most of the outdoor space lies in front of the home, with the gently rolling lawns forming a door mat to the view.

The owners, Russell and Kay, wanted a swimming pool and alfresco dining room with outdoor kitchen to complete the picture. The visual style was left up to me, but the goal was to create an outdoor entertaining precinct where the line between the old and the new would be largely invisible. The angles of the house were used to drive the design. By aligning the pool’s axis with that of the main spine of the home, both the home and pool look as though they are part of the same picture.

With the alignment and position of the pool decided, there were a number of technical issues to deal with. Digging such a large hole so close to a two-storey building would normally necessitate structurally underpinning the home so it would not collapse into the pool cavity. By designing terraced steps along the entire house side of the pool, no structural underpinning was required.

The position of the pavilion at the end of the pool offers a view along the pool and across the bay, with the gardens framing the view. This positioning also means that the building does not block the views from the home. In fact, the views are even better now as one can enjoy the views from inside the home and feel welcomed out to the entertainment precinct, all with the magnificent bay and gardens as a backdrop.

The poolside pavilion is constructed from the same material as the home (Mount Gambier Limestone) and is of similar design. It has versatile side-stacker, collapsible café doors on three sides — they can be closed when the winds are strong or on a cold evening; left partly open on a nice day when the sea breeze is a little ‘fresh’; or fully open on a warm summer’s day. The position of the pavilion at the end of the pool offers a view along the pool and across the bay, with the gardens framing the view.

The kitchen is set against the one solid wall of the alfresco building and is fully equipped so the owners don’t need to trek inside the house to access the kitchen, which is located upstairs. There’s a full-sized double fridge, a sink with hot and cold running water, a stainless-steel barbecue that is plumbed into the mains gas supply and a flue to minimise oil build- up on the ceiling. The owners used the pavilion so frequently that they recently added an automatic coffee machine.

Climate control is provided by the heavily tinted glass of the doors (because the building has no eaves, the sun hits the glass all afternoon), internal sun-block blinds and a large central ceiling fan.

The paving around the pool is sand-blasted concrete (Sorrento pavers from Anston), which closely matches the colour of the existing Spanish porcelain on the verandah. The lower edges of the pool paving are enclosed in a peninsular of garden planted with a low-growing, prostrate form of Juniper. By setting Grecian urns within this garden peninsular, the architectural strength of the home and its entertaining precinct is extended into the garden.

The entire precinct, which is transformed at night with outdoor lighting, is designed to sit comfortably within the existing site and relates well with both the home and the garden setting. First-time visitors to the property have great difficulty identifying where the original stops and the new begins, which for me as a designer is an indication of a mission accomplished.