Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk

Client Brief

Hunter’s House is a new eco-friendly build and was probably one of our most challenging projects to date. We first visited the site 2 years before work began on the house and swimming pond.

Our client Nicola is a passionate wild and cold-water swimmer and was determined to incorporate a swimming pond into the design of their new home.

The initial site visit immediately brought up a number of issues, which included a significant slope to the site and restricted access, due to the plot being in the centre of Bury St. Edmunds. There were a number of mature trees that also needed to be taken into consideration.

The driving force for the brief was to integrate the house and swimming pond together in a harmonious manner and to achieve the largest possible area of water.

We worked closely with Modece Architects, who quickly drew up initial drawings.  Over the following months we worked together and finally agreed on a final design.

The Design

Essentially, the house was designed to wrap itself around the swimming pond.  Sliding and retractable doors were utilised in the main living space, which means that the swimming pond floods visually into the home.  The surface of the water is beautifully reflected onto the ceiling of this space.

The master bedroom and en-suite form one side of the swimming pond.  The water actually runs right up to the threshold of the sliding doors.  A small east facing deck, with an entry point into the water sits just outside the bedroom and leads to a sunken hot tub just around the corner.  A series of slate stepping stones connect this deck to the main terrace.
Interestingly, in order to take full advantage of the natural slope of the plot, additional living space has been created below the level of this part of the house.  Which means that the pond side wall of this sub-terranean level is shared with the swimming pond!

Given that the ground falls away from the house, hidden from view there is a 1.5m tall gabion retaining wall, which forms the southern end of the swimming pond.

There is also an entry point into the swimming pond from the main terrace via steps running down into the water.  A green oak and rope balustrade add style to this feature.

The mature trees beyond the retaining wall were saved and make for a stunning back drop to the swimming pond throughout the seasons.

In order to address the issues of poor access, the swimming pond together with the basement level was built before work commenced on the main house.

This architectural award-winning project pushed the boundaries for us, but the final result is amazing.  The area of swimming pond is 180m² and ranges in depth from 1.5m – 2.0m.


“Bringing the pond right up to the patio and bedroom windows means we can enjoy close up views and reflections of the pond in all seasons – brilliant design! Summer swimming starts soon – we’ll join the birds newts and frogs when it’s 13C+.”

Andrew Hunter