For this project, the client was quite clear in their original brief and had very specific requirements. "Please make the pool and house extension funky in an industrial way," they said. "We would like metal sheeting, an old field shower with a huge shower rose like they used to have in the 1950s, timberwork, and steel brackets and fixings like you might see in the old wool stores at Newstead in Brisbane. We want all of this to be offset by some nice clean detailing and featured materials..."

Not deterred by the difficulty of the site and brief, Argo Architects developed the design of the poolscape and house extension with care and efficiency, and it was an immediate hit with everyone. "The smartest move on our behalf was to engage an experienced architect," the client said. "Our original thoughts were to put a pool at the front of the house and an extension out the back. Quite frankly, that would have been an embarrassing outcome." 

The project's primary difficulty - designing the house extension over the swimming pool was carefully and expertly handled by Newport Consulting Engineers. The deflection (and bounce) that is possible when hanging a whole house extension out that far can be significant, but a skilled structural engineer can eliminate that risk and make the design possible. Choosing a strong professional design team is clearly worthwhile if you're after a special outcome and want to increase the value of your property.

The rumpus room extension developed into a black metal shed that would attach to the existing teal coloured house, and to really challenge the structural engineer, Will opened up the northern and western walls overlooking the pool with a large set of bi-fold windows as far as his friendship with the engineer would allow.

Choosing a strong professional design team is clearly worthwhile if you're after a special outcome and want to increase the value of your property.

Featuring soaring raked ceiling and full-height glazing, the rumpus room is spectacular and captures views that the client never knew they could achieve. 

Under the rumpus is the workshop and filtration shed. It is a sizeable workshop that's perfect for building things like furniture while storing all of the necessary garden tools and equipment, such as the lawn mower, blower, bags of compost, wheelbarrow and a collection of pool toys. A simple hardwood batten screen conceals this area while allowing some natural light and ventilation, making it an airy and pleasant place to be in - not your usual hot tin shed that smells like everything stored (and baked) inside!

The pool actually holds up the rumpus room; a high concrete block wall at the end of the pool and a 200mm square ironbark post do the job. The block wall is beautifully detailed with timber battens, which are specially treated for the environment, and glass Bisazza mosaic tiles. The tiles, imported from Italy, feature on the block wall down the length of the pool and at the waterline. This stunning soft-blue feature really creates the mood of the space and acts as a wonderful shadow board for the frangipani tree, which casts a spectacular shadow in the afternoon. "The cantilevered extension and tiled wall are our favourite features in what is a feature-filled backyard," the clients said. "At every turn, there is a 'wow' moment and yet it is all balanced visually."

In addition to the entertainment and rumpus extension, the brief included a spacious workshop that would be large enough to be useful if something needed to be repaired or built. A filtration shed was also requested, as well as an alfresco dining area with a new bar. The clients wanted bi-fold windows fitted at the rear of the house to connect to the kitchen, and a pool with a covered sitting area at the far end.

To Argo Architect's Will Marcus, it sounded like the perfect brief to create useful alfresco living spaces for a family, until he realised how small the backyard was - it wouldn't all fit! However, nothing in the brief was negotiable, so to include everything he designed the rumpus room off the first floor of the house, overhanging the pool by three metres.

"The smartest move on our behalf was to engage an experienced architect."

The soft blue was chosen as a counterpoint to the deep red-brown tones of the ironbark timber work, and a stark white was decided on for the garden's low retaining walls. A light grey concrete-like colour was selected for the concourse tiles. Will likes to minimise the number of materials and colours in his work to allow him to play with the space in a more sophisticated way. If a design's colours, materials and spaces are all complicated, "you just don't get the quality of space, which is so elusive", he says.

"At every turn, there is a 'wow' moment and yet it is all balanced visually."


The pool features a Jewels4Pools interior of glass beads, which are held together by a special polymer cement mix. This creates a beautiful glistening effect with underwater lights and is known to be extremely durable. "When we specify Jewels4Pools surfaces inside pools, we know that there will be no problems with renewing them for at least a couple of decades and probably longer," Will says. "It takes a very special and skilled crew to build this type of project," he continues, complimenting the construction teams at Genesis Pools and Petro Builders. "Firstly, they actually have to want to build it - and then they must have the skills to do so."

"The design's geometry and spatial sculpting was made possible, in part, by the shape of the house lot," Will says. "It recedes to a five-metre-wide back boundary, creating a wedge that everything has to start observing. " The final say goes to the client; "Everyone who visits us has a 'wow' moment as they come around the corner," they said. "We just love that, because even though we live here, we have those 'wow' moments ourselves - still!"