Ask the expert
What are the current trends?
We’re increasingly seeing more interest in indoor pool rooms—unless climate change makes a big difference in this country, it makes more sense to invest in something that you can use year round. No project is the same as another, of course: some people’s plans are quite straightforward and traditional in their design, but those of some clients are more complex. Almost all indoor pool rooms will include an element of other leisure facilities besides swimming—a spa area or a gym are pretty standard, but it can get more complicated.
What’s the most elaborate design?
We’re currently going through the planning process for a very unusual project that involves building down two levels under a large conservatory that is part of a listed house. As well as a bowling alley, cinema room and games room, there will be a swimming lane that, subject to permission coming through, will connect with an indoor pool situated in a separate pool house.
What are the main challenges?
Humidity is a big factor in indoor pool houses and it’s crucial to consider the finishes of everything from the flooring to the joinery and the furniture to ensure they’ll be able to withstand variations in temperature. A lot of interior designers don’t like taking on such projects because of this, but we’ve been doing them for a long time and know which materials will work in the environment.
Stone or wood?
We favour natural stone both indoors and outdoors, but our tip is to have it bush-hammered to give it a rough, non-slip finish. It also creates a seamless effect between the pool room and the terrace as it’s hardy enough to cope with the worst winter frosts. Artisans of Devizes (www.artisansofdevizes.com) has a travertine and limestone we like.
Bar or kitchen?
Twenty years ago, it was standard to have perhaps a sink and drinks fridge in a pool, but, today, we’re putting in a lot more fully equipped outdoor kitchens with extra elements, such as pizza ovens. When they first started appearing, the choice in finishes was rather limited, but, these days, it’s pretty much endless. The classic combination of teak against stainless steel works well, but there’s also a fashion for copper or brass plating.
Any furniture tips?
I like Summit’s (www.summitfurniture.com) teak loungers and have used them successfully for a large outdoor pool area, where they weathered beautifully into a silver colour. B&B Italia (www.bebitalia.com) also makes a lovely range of outdoor furniture, which has a wonderful lightness to it. For a more traditional look, I’m very taken with the quality and style of Mckinnon and Harris (www.mckinnonharris.com).
Any other decorative tips?
For outdoor fabrics, we use Perennials (www.perennialsfabrics.com) and Sunbrella (www.sunbrella.com) and I’m really taken by the range of indoor/outdoor rugs from Dash & Albert (http://dash andalbert.annieselke.com). We use many different lighting manufacturers, but Hunza (www.hunzalighting.com) is a really good range that’s suitable for both exterior use and damp, interior conditions. Arabella Youens
Ginestra table, £5,830, by B&B Italia (020–7591 8111; www.bebitalia.com)
Designer John Evans suggests ways to create the perfect indoor pool
Above: An indoor pool designed by John Evans. Right: Furniture by Mckinnon & Harris (020–7349 9085, www. mckinnonharris.com)