Bayview Pool House

A steep, unused hillside behind a home with sweeping views of the San Francisco Bay is transformed into a relaxing, poolside escape for outdoor lounging, play, and entertaining.

As a response to the general demand for outdoor recreational space that followed the pandemic, our clients wanted to find opportunities to capture spaces for outdoor living on their property and create a relaxing, outdoor getaway without having to travel far from home. The difficulty was that their backyard was a very steep hillside, extremely difficult to navigate and thus had been left unutilized.

In order to build the pool, it was necessary for excavators to reach the area and create a flat building site on the hillside, but due to the sharp slope, every contractor interviewed found it logistically impossible to get their equipment down to the site. Fortunately, we had the rare advantage of simultaneously working on a project right next door. Thanks to friendly, and very generous neighbor relations, our client’s construction crew was granted access to the site through the neighbor’s lower driveway, having to completely disassemble an unused garage in order to create a road through it.

The finished pool house is a complete recreational oasis, including a pool, hot tub, outdoor kitchen and dining, tv, firepit with a generous built in L-shaped sofa with plenty of seating, a bathroom with shower, a changing room, and laundry where the homeowners can comfortably spend the day by the pool without having to trek up and down from the main house.

To access the pool house from the main dwelling, we created a switchback ramp, which enables a leisurely pace down to the hill. The surrounding verdant environment creates a sense of abundance, landscaped with drought-tolerant, low maintenance native pollinators and citrus trees so the homeowners can grab a fresh cocktail garnish on their way down to the pool.

Everything was designed to have a natural, open-air feel, however large pocketing doors enable spaces to be closed off for privacy and weather. Rolling shades help minimize intense afternoon sun in the outdoor dining room while still providing the full view experience. At the pool, an infinity edge emphasizes the horizon, with a clear westward view out to the San Francisco Bay.

We chose a quiet material palette primarily of cedar and ipe wood, glass, steel, and concrete for the building components, but punched up the color for the furnishings, accessories, and custom sofa cushions where we utilized a palette of paints and fabrics in pinks, blues, and saffrons.

Landscape Architect: Boxleaf Design, Landscape Architecture

Structural Engineer: Berkeley Structural Design

Photography: ©Joe Fletcher Photography