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A Contemporary New England Home Perfect for Pool Parties

By Marni Elyse Katz | June 25, 2019 | Home & Real Estate


The challenge: Your clients work from home, but they want their kids to invite friends to hang out at the pool. Most would chalk this up to a noisy disaster-inwaiting, but Portland-based firm Kaplan Thompson Architects took a segregated approach. The homeowners, who have three school-aged children, had lived in Freeport for years when the opportunity arose for them to build a home on a lot adjacent to the husband’s parents. With the property secured, they assembled the players—Jesse Thompson, principal at Kaplan Thompson Architects (, and Peter Warren, CEO of Warren Construction Group ( “A dream team for their dream home,” quips Thompson.

Thompson’s design is predicated on three fundamental elements: entertaining, working and sleeping. Each part of the family’s life is assigned to separate minimalist structures linked by pared down passageways, with the pool at the core. “The modern idea of open spaces flowing from one to the next worked well for them,” Thompson says.


A three-car garage with the couple’s office above anchors the eastern corner. It hovers higher than the family living spaces, which instills an effective sense of separation. Still, large corner windows let them keep an eye on the kids outdoors. The covered entry serves everyone, including business clients, who are directed to ascend a staircase once inside.

The main living space is bright, airy and open. A trapezoidal island is the centerpiece of the kitchen, which has a lower ceiling for greater intimacy. Bleached white oak cabinetry and white quartz countertops exemplify the home’s material palette, which mixes hard and soft. “They surprised themselves with how minimalist they skewed in terms of architecture,” says Thompson of the homeowners. “As they moved into finishes, they liked gentle muted tones.”


The bar sink and beverage fridge, positioned for easy access from the patio, abuts a 20-foot stretch of triple-glazed glass that faces the pool, sited on the south. The polished concrete floor so thirstily sucks up the sun that the homeowners did not turn on the radiant heat this past winter. “The house incorporates our stealth sustainability techniques,” Thompson notes.

A paneled wall of cabinetry featuring a gas fireplace surrounded by gray porcelain acts as a focal point at the far end of the living area. Tucked around the corner, a glass breezeway with forest and hillside views connects to a twostory structure housing the bedrooms. There’s a door from the patio into the hallway so kids can run up to the bedrooms to change. “The clients wanted everyone to be at their home, and they are, all the time,” says Thompson. “We gave them the practical functionality to make it work.” And a pool party.

Tags: pools