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Master Stroke

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In Santa Monica, California, where pools are plenty but not always eye-pleasing, Padraic Cassidy lifted one 30 inches off the ground­—dramatically elevating its aesthetic appeal.

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  The final, layered look of the pool and its surroundings—which mitigates a 30-inch drop from house to guesthouse—was completed in 2008.  Photo by David Allee.
    The final, layered look of the pool and its surroundings—which mitigates a 30-inch drop from house to guesthouse—was completed in 2008. Photo by David Allee.
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  Cassidy used the pool as an anchor for an overarching backyard master plan that pulled the parts together.  Photo by David Allee.
    Cassidy used the pool as an anchor for an overarching backyard master plan that pulled the parts together. Photo by David Allee.
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  Before the addition of the approximately 750-square-foot pool (and its 65-square-foot hot tub), the lot was a scramble of structures: the house in one corner and the guesthouse and the office each occupying another.  Photo by David Allee.
    Before the addition of the approximately 750-square-foot pool (and its 65-square-foot hot tub), the lot was a scramble of structures: the house in one corner and the guesthouse and the office each occupying another. Photo by David Allee.
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  Running alongside the home is a stretch of grass, the "obvious place" for the pool during initial planning. The client, however, opted to keep the space open as a miniature soccer field for her son.  Photo by David Allee.
    Running alongside the home is a stretch of grass, the "obvious place" for the pool during initial planning. The client, however, opted to keep the space open as a miniature soccer field for her son. Photo by David Allee.
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  A seeded concrete walkway leads from the rear driveway—the entrance used most often—and into the yard. To create the look, each river rock was hand-placed in the wet concrete.  Photo by David Allee.
    A seeded concrete walkway leads from the rear driveway—the entrance used most often—and into the yard. To create the look, each river rock was hand-placed in the wet concrete. Photo by David Allee.
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  Across the path is the resident's favorite spot from which to take in the aquatic tableau: a rock garden and sitting area created by landscape designer Tory Polone. Chairs rest near the a hidden grade-level gas fire pit—an on-demand campfire.  Photo by David Allee.
    Across the path is the resident's favorite spot from which to take in the aquatic tableau: a rock garden and sitting area created by landscape designer Tory Polone. Chairs rest near the a hidden grade-level gas fire pit—an on-demand campfire. Photo by David Allee.
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  The wall that wraps around the sunken pool was completed—like the seeded concrete pathway—with painstaking precision. The tiles were custom designed with Mission Tile West to hit a pea-green hue and sized specifically to top the narrow walls.  Photo by David Allee.
    The wall that wraps around the sunken pool was completed—like the seeded concrete pathway—with painstaking precision. The tiles were custom designed with Mission Tile West to hit a pea-green hue and sized specifically to top the narrow walls. Photo by David Allee.
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  The deck off of the house acts like a dock sticking into a lake. Cassidy opted for a midnight-black earthquake-friendly epoxy lining. "It adds that little extra heat and emphasizes the lagoon feeling," he says.  Photo by David Allee.
    The deck off of the house acts like a dock sticking into a lake. Cassidy opted for a midnight-black earthquake-friendly epoxy lining. "It adds that little extra heat and emphasizes the lagoon feeling," he says. Photo by David Allee.
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  Once in the pool, however, it feels more like the ocean. As with a shelf, the bottom drops quickly from three feet to the nine-foot deep end. A set of three long, shallow steps sits above the middle depth like a sandbar at high tide, the top tread covered with just a few inches of water.  Photo by David Allee.
    Once in the pool, however, it feels more like the ocean. As with a shelf, the bottom drops quickly from three feet to the nine-foot deep end. A set of three long, shallow steps sits above the middle depth like a sandbar at high tide, the top tread covered with just a few inches of water. Photo by David Allee.
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  The resulting effect is a backyard with a pool at the center that is as nice to look at as to be in.  Photo by David Allee.
    The resulting effect is a backyard with a pool at the center that is as nice to look at as to be in. Photo by David Allee.

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