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THE 2008 HC&G IDEA HOUSE

August 15, 2008

Liquid Dreams
By Samuel T. Clover

THE 2008 IDEA HOUSE POOL AND POOL HOUSE ARE ATTRACTIVE, ECO-FRIENDLY ADDITIONS TO THE LANDSCAPE

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Water, water everywhere—and, with a combination ozone/UV sanitization system instead of chlorine, salt water or copper or silver ionization technologies, the water in the swimming pool of the 2008 HC&G Idea House is pure enough to drink.

To complement the green initiatives throughout the Idea House, Steve Kenny of SRK pools designed a chemical-free gunite swimming pool that avoids chlorine's by-products, including trihalomethanes (possibly carcinogenic) and chloramines, which cause that heavy chemical smell, as well as eye and skin irritation. In addition, the ozone/UV system, whose only by-product is oxygen, is cheaper and cleaner than other sanitization methods. (Salt water actually releases chlorine by-products during the sterilization process and requires the constant addition of salt into the water—"a hidden cost," according to Kenny—while copper and silver ionization is potentially toxic and can also discolor the pool surface.)

"UV and ozone technology has been popular in Europe for the past 10 to 20 years, and it's finally making its way into North America," Kenny says. "The main reason I got involved in the HC&G Idea House was to spread the word about this technology in hopes of stopping the over-use of chlorine in this country."

"We've brought both the sustainable technology as well as the modern aesthetic from the main house to the swimming pool and the outbuildings," says HC&G Idea House Design Director Kyle Timothy Blood. "Our hope is that the concepts integrated on site—from a no-chemical pool to the choice of landscaping plantings to the building materials (including a recycled decking product)—will encourage people to rethink the way they plan their homes."

Overlooking the pool, Stedila Design's pool house, which Tim Button and John Stedila designed from the ground up to complement the modern addition, also packs an eco-friendly punch. (Veterans of green design, Stedila Design has created the interiors for three green residential towers in lower Manhattan: the 27-story Solaire, the 26-story Verdesian—the first residential apartment building in the country to receive LEED Platinum certification—and the 35-story Visionaire, to be completed this fall.)

Enclosed on three sides with stucco and smooth-cut cedar walls, the 400-square-foot pool house has an open front entrance, therefore minimizing the building materials used. Since the walls have large rectangular windows and the ceiling is made of durable white fabric that can be moved for sun or shade, "It's almost like you're standing in a courtyard rather than in a structure," says Stedila.

But it's a "courtyard" with a lot of color. One of the walls is covered in multi-colored textured slate tiles, and the structure also features several whimsical mosaics by the artist Marcie Honerkamp. These include eight framed panels of glamorous bathing beauties in swimming caps and, suspended from the ceiling, a tile-covered surfboard depicting Botticelli's famous Venus. "It's very colorful, just an amazing work," Button says.

Though Button and Stedila chose not to use much seating—"We wanted to keep it very clean, very zen," Stedila says—they installed a custom table with a bright orange resin top and powder-coated steel base and surrounded it with white resin chairs with stainless steel frames. "Resin is a 100 percent recycled material," Stedila says. "It holds up beautifully outside. It's almost like plastic."

In the back corners, two five-by-eight-foot rooms with cedar walls hold a toilet on one side and a shower on the other. (The shower room features yet another Honerkamp work, a mosaic bust of a woman. "It's like someone's there showering with you," Button jokes.) Outside, Button and Stedila sited a polished stainless steel sculpture by David Lee Brown between the pool house and the nearby art studio, and in front placed solid resin chairs and a series of large, egg-shaped resin lights—another glowing example of eco-friendly design.


The 2008 Idea House Architecture & Design Events As Seen in
HC&G Idea House Archive


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