A gabled glass frame ushers guests into the structure; folding NanaWalls open to the pool.
The front entry aligns with the fireplace, made of stucco with a burnished-copper hood and a stacked-stone hearth.
Andrew Law furnished the interior in a neutral palette. Steel trusses are softened by mahogany slats.
A kitchenette occupies a former shed at the far end of the structure.

Under Glass 


BarnesVanze Architects revamps 
a dilapidated pool house in airy, sophisticated style

The owners of a Victorian home in Chevy Chase had a problem: The glass pool house on their pristine property had become an eyesore. Built in 1960, the structure had fallen into disrepair; much of its plate glass was broken and the indoor pool was moldy. “The clients didn’t know what to do with it,” recounts architect Wayne Adams of BarnesVanze Architects, who was tasked with solving the quandary.

He and his team soon discovered that though the building was a mess, its riveted-steel structure was sound. “It had great details and we felt it was worth saving and repurposing,” Adams says. “We moved the pool outside and refurbished the interior as a living space.”

Anchoring one end of the structure, a disused shed was renovated and now holds a kitchenette, changing room and steam shower. Folding NanaWalls open to the pool house’s main glassed-in interior; a basement below the shed houses pool equipment. A stacked-stone spa occupies the other end of the pool house, and a fireplace is centered on one wall.

To combat heat, the design team added a metal roof on the building’s south-facing side, cladding the ceiling beneath it with mahogany slats that convey the feel of a sauna and soften the metal framework. The plate glass has been replaced by glazed, laminated glass—a safer choice in case of breakage. NanaWalls fold open to the pool; opposite, mahogany slats around the fireplace are flanked with sliding-glass doors. Operable clerestory windows on both sides let in the breeze.

Pennsylvania bluestone pavers inside and out unify the pool house with the pool, patio and gardens—all designed by DCA Landscape Architects.


Renovation Design: Wayne R. Adams, principal, BarnesVanze Architects, Washington, DC. Interior Design: Andrew Law, Andrew Law Interior Design, Washington, DC. Contractor: Gibson Builders, Washington, DC. Landscape Design: Amy Mills, DCA Landscape Architects, Washington, DC.