While doing a medical spa facility for a couple in Orlando, Florida, they became so interested and excited about the building we were doing that they asked us to design their house around some of the same wellness principles. What they wanted from us was an eco-sensitive design that would integrate a higher recognition and involvement of fitness and nutrition. They wanted a home that would help them lead a healthier lifestyle.

One of the features of the beautiful 3-acre property they had purchased was that it fronted a lake. As the clients were very athletic, we decided to create a zero-edge pool that is a backdrop to the house. From the inside of the house, looking out toward the lake, this reflective pool becomes a mirror of the lake and provides an endless water edge. The entire family, the husband, wife and their children loved the massage, so we created a massage pavilion that floats in the center of the zero-edge pool. Not only is it functional, but it can also be a fun little escape.

The whole house centers around and opens up to the pool and the views of the lake beyond. The home is an “L” configuration that holds the pool’s edges and is divided into zones. The more public domain is like a huge open loft with a two-story living room that uses clerestory light and louvred shading devices to mitigate the hot southern Florida daylight. The L-shaped wing contains private functions and bedrooms—the outdoor space centers around a fire pit and jacuzzi with steps leading down into the zero-edge pool.

Stairs from the living room lead you to the master bedroom spa suite. It contains a full-on spa with an experiential shower, couples soaking tub, a makeup counter, and his and hers changing areas. A bridge provides access to a fitness pavilion above the garage, which includes an outdoor hydrobath for moon viewing. The fitness area contains light free weights and cardiovascular equipment. Sliding glass panels can be opened, so the entire pavilion takes advantage of natural breezes and the dramatic view of the lake beyond.

The Spa House -Robert D Henry Architects NYC





Some of the sustainable principles used in the house include a “green roof” planted with sedums which provide additional insulation during the summer heat. We also added natural ventilation through clerestory operable windows in the two-story living room and the spa pavilion, with circulating fans. This dramatically reduces any requirement for cooling. Throughout, we integrated LEED-certified materials.

Water . . . light . . . peace . . . tranquility.  This spa house provides wellness for its inhabitants and sustainability for the environment


Read The Growing Investment in Personal Health and Well Being

Robert Henry