All projects start with a dream, whether it is small or large. It’s in the design that this dream can come to life. A project design can be broken into many details that range from desired use, features & elements, materials, and style. Ultimately, each project will have a driving force in that dream. A luxurious pool, a relaxing fire pit, an outdoor kitchen fit for a chef, casual seating to sit back and relax, a spacious spa for a cool summer night, and lush plantings to soften the space are all be examples of elements that can drive a design. This article explores how one project managed to include it all.
The dream began with a pool, but not just any pool because certain materials were desired. A gunite pool can be seen as a ‘forever pool’ and one that has full customization. The structural integrity is second to none and one that can be enjoyed as multi-generational. The design emphasizes the customization with thermal bluestone coping, a deep blue pebble-sheen interior finish, natural stone veneer raised spillover wall and complementary dark blue tile. Materials are important, but so is a function and this pool bodes a spacious deep end, unique built-in benches, and an enjoyable sun ledge. Making this sun ledge even more enjoyable is the close proximity to a fire pit that allows you to have the best of both worlds.
A casual seating area with a fire pit and overhead structure can create a very comfortable and intimate space. The benefit of this custom cedar pergola spanning the entire space is that it allows maximum overhead coverage. One post is erected from the stone pier that is formed with the pool’s gunite walls creating a custom fit with matching stone veneer and bluestone caps. Like all stone; bluestone has its advantages and disadvantages, but this design called for a timeless, strong, and beautiful stone. These outweighed the disadvantage of it becoming warmer than other natural stones in the hot sun. If you choose to sit in the direct sunlight, the chaise lounges were strategically placed to soak up maximum rays. They not only face afternoon exposure but across that deep blue water is the outdoor kitchen.
An outdoor kitchen designed for the ultimate entertainment space immediately combines indoor luxury with outdoor enjoyment. The familiar materials of natural stone veneer and cedar compliment high-grade stainless steel Alfresco and DCS appliances. A 36 Inch Grill with Rotisserie, Refrigerator, Ice Maker, Sink, and complimentary sealed pantry storage gives way to ample counter space to prepare meals, serve drinks, or sit back and relax watching the game on the outdoor TV. As the project evolved as a whole, so did the complexity of the design. With close proximity of bar seats to the pool, it was important to keep open access for circulation. The pool wall was bumped in to allow for a comfortable path and flow to the adjoining rear stairs into the home as well as the raised IPE spa platform.
Creating a unique space for a luxurious spa without taking away aesthetically was an important goal. If you’re not sitting back on a cool summer night relaxing in the spa and you’re instead running and jumping off the raised platform you can appreciate the joining of materials and built-in feel of these elements either way. This space uses IPE hardwood decking that matches the lush planted east side walkway and marries it with the same natural stone veneer facing on the raised pool wall. The step-up onto the decking is underrated for the feel of the space. It would truly not be the same without this subtle design cue and creates a nice vantage point from anywhere across the backyard.
With a backyard paradise created, again the design started to evolve, but this time into the front yard. A well-executed and unique design should communicate itself in materials, features, and style. It was important to bring those elements to the front yard entryway and frame the home accordingly. A new walkway layout with views framed by bluestone seat walls, soft grasses, and summer-blooming trees and shrubs ties it all together. With no space left untouched, it’s all complete. The design evolved, the project evolved, and this is how we included it all.