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Swimming Pool of the Week: Privacy and Calm in Cap Ferret, France

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Swimming Pool of the Week: Privacy and Calm in Cap Ferret, France

June 12, 2018

When a large family of several siblings started having children of their own, they wanted to vacation together in their beloved Cap Ferret, France, while retaining some semblance of normalcy for their individual families. “Their desire was to have a good time together,” say Paris architects Atelier du Pont, “and still have privacy and calm.”

The architects designed a series of cabins—three structures in all—perched atop the Cap Ferret headland about a third of a mile from the ocean. The buildings have a combined area of about 3,500 square feet, linked via wood terraces, with distinct sleeping quarters for each family plus shared lounge and play spaces and a generous kitchen. The surrounding landscape, designed by local firm Ferret Vert, more than doubles the living space, with a lap pool with sandy “beach,” a sprawling wood deck, and untamed stretches of pine forest. The homeowners wanted to have a limited impact on the land, so terraces step lightly on the sandy soil, and cabins were sited to minimize the removal of existing trees.

Photography by Philippe Garcia, Takuji Shimmura, and Bernard Touillon, courtesy of Atelier du Pont.

The grand vision for the estate is a series of cabins linked by a wooden terrace to a body of water: the swimming pool.
Above: The grand vision for the estate is a series of cabins linked by a wooden terrace to a body of water: the swimming pool.

Though the adult siblings wanted the vacation home to have the feel of a cabin, they’re fond of modern design; the designers obliged their inclinations with triangular windows and diagonal lines to frame views of the surrounding pine forest and ocean beyond.

The pool has a plinth at one end for lounging and an integrated pool cover opposite.
Above: The pool has a plinth at one end for lounging and an integrated pool cover opposite.

Though the architecture of the vacation home is modern, its design was inspired mostly from the surrounding environment, say the architects: “We wanted to create a house and a garden in perfect harmony with the context and the nature.”

The Cap Ferret headland is covered in sandy soil; the landscape exaggerates the sand with a &#8
Above: The Cap Ferret headland is covered in sandy soil; the landscape exaggerates the sand with a “beach” adjacent to the pool.
A shared living space in the building closest to the pool is sided in black lacquered, ribbed aluminum. It has full-height sliding doors that open onto the pool deck.
Above: A shared living space in the building closest to the pool is sided in black lacquered, ribbed aluminum. It has full-height sliding doors that open onto the pool deck.
Several free-form wooden stairways crisscross the property, linking the entrance to the pool deck.
Above: Several free-form wooden stairways crisscross the property, linking the entrance to the pool deck.
A large glass wall reflects ocean views onto a social space with playroom and pool table.
Above: A large glass wall reflects ocean views onto a social space with playroom and pool table.
The architects collaborated with landscape designer Arnaud Gallou of Ferret Vert, who &#8
Above: The architects collaborated with landscape designer Arnaud Gallou of Ferret Vert, who “perfectly knows the local flora.” He planted grasses and small shrubs among the existing strawberry trees, yucca, and pines.
Pinewood planks on the cabins&#8
Above: Pinewood planks on the cabins’ facades “mimic the surrounding pine grove,” say the architects.
At night, a lantern-like glow from the house illuminates the pool and deck.
Above: At night, a lantern-like glow from the house illuminates the pool and deck.
The estate is sited on a sandy slope, so occupants enter the cabins on the bottom floor and walk upstairs to access the pool deck.
Above: The estate is sited on a sandy slope, so occupants enter the cabins on the bottom floor and walk upstairs to access the pool deck.
A floor plan shows the top floor of the cabins, extending onto the deck and pool. There are accommodations to sleep up to  people in a variety of configurations.
Above: A floor plan shows the top floor of the cabins, extending onto the deck and pool. There are accommodations to sleep up to 15 people in a variety of configurations.

See more ideas in our guide to Swimming Pool Design 101, including Poolside Furniture, Underwater Lights, and Landscape Plants for Swimming Pools. For more in France, see:

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