Photo by Bruce Milton

The Canvas:An inviting deck, tranquil New England waters, rustic seaside sceneryThe Palette: Warm Ipe wood, wraparound relaxation bench, privacy wallThe Masterpiece:Sleek and uninterrupted lines, minimalist sophistication, secluded getaway for the senses

The portable spa sat waiting for a permanent home while the husband and wife tried to figure out what to do with it.

“She wasn’t in favor of having a spa on the deck,” says Steve Pondelis, project architect. “But he was interested in it for therapeutic reasons.”

Meanwhile, the house was undergoing renovations, including the addition of a new deck.

In the end, Pondelis and partner Samuel Van Dam, both with Van Dam Architecture and Design in Portland, Maine, who were working on the house’s renovations, teamed up with Laurie and Bruce Milton, owners of Milton Spas of Maine in Yarmouth. They created a his-and-hers setting that satisfied the husband and wife.

To draw attention away from the hot tub, they wrapped a wooden bench around it and built a privacy wall, all with matching red Ipe wood that blends in with the house and rest of the deck. The hot tub and bench were installed at “bathtub level” so the couple could easily step in without much effort.

Van Dam and Pondelis used hidden fasteners to connect the wood for a seamless look. “The whole concept was to keep it as minimal and clean as possible as an extension of the house,” Pondelis says. “It needed to appear unified in design. The cleanest details are the hardest to achieve.”

The two companies enjoyed collaborating on the project. “They made it easy,” Pondelis says of the Miltons. “Some clients can become overwhelmed with the number of things you have to do on a regular basis, but I think [Bruce and Laurie] kept it clear.”

The Miltons call the project “dynamite.” Says Laurie Milton, “You can hear the break of the water as it reaches the sandy shore and, while you’re sitting in that tub, it’s 100 percent tranquility.”

Photo by Amy Smith