Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania
Located on a hillside in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, the site is a lushly landscaped compound of three buildings: a former chicken coop renovated into a residence during the 1950s, a two story A- frame garage studio constructed in the late 1960s, and a wood frame pump house. These three structures define a secluded lawn court, open to the east and protected on the south, west and north sides from the residential neighborhood.
The client is an artist. Her principal vocation is creating and applying faux finishes to furniture and interiors. The existing house consists of a living room, dining room, kitchen, child's bedroom and bath, and master bedroom. Each room is finished using her own glazings, paints and patterns.
External Skeleton vs. Balloon Frame
The addition projects into the lawn court from the center of the existing structure. As dependent structure, it leans against the former chicken coop. The construction exploration is between an externally structured volume and the balloon frame former farm building. The juxtaposition of these opposed structures is completed at the surface of the existing building which reads through the new pool structure. The rooms within the existing house, including the newly inserted master's bathroom, are connected to the lap pool by sliding doors.
The lap pool is flush with the floor and the ground outside. The enclosure is a custom wood and glass membrane independent of the exposed structural frame extending the interior to the landscape beyond.
The materials are self-finishing: they relieve and contrast the faux finishes within the main house. The external skeletal frame of the pool house is mahogany with stainless steel connections. The lap pool ceiling is green Finland plywood. The pool, tub and shower pans are stainless steel. A redwood floor forms the pool house deck. Slate flooring extends from the edge of the pool into the bathroom, becoming the base of the tub and shower enclosure base. The back wall of the tub/shower is shingled with black zinc. Yellow Fin-ply walls complete the bathroom insertion.