Fly into one of Southern California’s smaller airports—Burbank, Ontario, or Long Beach—and as the plane makes its final descent over densely packed enclaves you’ll notice impossible numbers of cobalt kidneys and cerulean quadrangles flecking the arid terrain. Though backyard pools are plentiful here, few live up to their initial promise—dreams of spa-like splendor fade into the stench of neglected chlorine—and ubiquity doesn’t necessarily translate to beauty. So rather than add yet another aqueous eyesore to an unassuming backyard in Santa Monica, architect Padraic Cassidy took a recent opportunity to make a seemingly simple pool the centerpiece of a larger backyard master plan.
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