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Contemporary Guest House Interior

Architect's Challenge Showdown: Gracious hosts and lucky guests enjoy these beautiful guest houses

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Hosting can be a pleasant experience, but sometimes what both hosts and guests want is a little space. Most of us try to fulfill this need with a guest room and maybe a private guest bath, but what about a guest house?

If you have the inclination and space, a guest house would be a great way to give your guests some privacy — especially important for longer stays! You could even use the guest house for future needs, for instance as a source of rental income, a home for your graduating college kids or as a place for your aging parents to live.

In the Architect’s Challenge Showdown, we’ve seen some beautiful guest houses. It would be a pleasure to be invited to these! For now, let’s just enjoy some pictures.

This contemporary guest house is located on the precipitous wooded banks of Lake Morey, a classic summer resort area nestled in the folds of eastern Vermont. The building literally steps down the site, keeping its low and more enclosed side to the road, and hiding the scale of the living spaces within. Ten- and twelve-foot ceilings at the lake side open up dramatically to the trees and views of the water. This airy retreat creatively sleeps nine, utilizing loft alcoves, bunks and window seats.

Contemporary Guest House Exterior

Contemporary Guest House by Pi Smith of Smith & Vansant Architects, PC

The objective was to take a circa 1895 Victorian home located in a town’s historic district and design a total restoration with upgrades throughout the 1998-square-foot residence. An attached indoor single lap lane pool and pool house were added along with a porous driveway to offset the impervious coverage of the pool house. Sustainable design and products were maximized throughout. Stringent historic district rules coupled with an undersized lot posed unique architectural design opportunities.

Guest House Interior

Guest House Exterior

Guest House by Gary Mertz of Gary Mertz Architects, PC

Located in rural Bucks County, Pennsylvania — known for its agricultural heritage, colonial farmhouses and stone barns — the new pool house is reminiscent of the 19th-century bank barns of the region. Traditionally detailed with stone walls, board and batten siding and timber frame interior, the 2,500-square-foot pool house with spa, loft, indoor/outdoor bar and grill, and steam shower remains thoroughly contemporary with its finishes, fixtures and state-of-the-art audio visual and home automation systems.

Weatherfield Pool House

Weatherfield Pool House Exterior

Weatherfield Pool House by Peter Archer of Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd. 

If you like these guest houses, don’t forget to vote for them in the Showdown. If you built a guest house, what would you include? Would you see it as solely for visitors or as a possible source of income or long-term housing?