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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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