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MAKING A SUBTLE SPLASH : Pools Designed to Unobtrusively Fit the Landscape

May 03, 1987|VIRGINIA GRAY | Virginia Gray is an associate editor of Los Angeles Times Magazine.

This pool and patio in Bel-Air's Stoneridge Estates was inspired by the adjoining Southwestern-style house and its terra-cotta-colored walls. To tie patio and pool together, Galper-Baldon Associates of Venice designed an overhang of rustic lodgepole pine, hand-hewn beams and supporting stuccoed columns that wrap the contours of the rear of the house. The L-shaped pool (40x12 1/2 feet, with a 9x18-foot offset containing the spa) is edged in forest-green tile and is rimmed with a low stucco-and-tile wall--for extra seating--with "mesas" in strategic places. The spa and pool are painted black, which improves reflection from the water.

A bright-blue tile fountain, above, is the focus of this angular pool at the Newport Beach home of Stuart and Deborah Karl. Designed by Lani Barrington and Mario Mathias, the pool complements the post-modern / Mediterranean architecture of the house, designed by Cheves T. Powell of Interplan, Irvine. An existing spa (not shown) was incorporated into the plan, and the flagstone deck connects house and pool area.

Galper-Baldon designed this Beverly Hills pool, right, with decks and walls on various levels to suit the sloping terrain. Raised walls (foreground) provide seating, and at the pavilion level the deck is elevated. At the far end of the pool (the deep end), the walls are again raised to a level that serves as walkway, diving area and entry steps. A 7 1/2x8-foot spa, located at the far end of the vaulted pavilion, spills into the 18x44-foot pool.

The downhill grade behind William and Helen Close's San Gabriel Valley home, left, had long presented a design problem. Landscape architect Mark Berry--of Mark Berry & Associates, Pasadena--devised a series of brick terraces and retaining walls that make their way downhill. The first level is a long, narrow lawn that adjoins a brick retaining wall and a row of steps that lead to the pool level. The 48x18-foot pool features a tumbled-brick deck with a contrasting linear pattern rimming the pool. Built less than a year ago, Berry's pool complements the 47-year-old house. Pool contractor, R. B. Perry & Associates, Arcadia; landscape planting, Ron Osti.

A round spa and "cool pool" (it's unheated) are central to the San Gabriel Valley backyard of Frank and Merietta Gelilich, above. Designed and built by California Pools & Spas, San Gabriel, the spa is 8 feet in diameter and 3 1/2 feet deep. It's raised a foot above the pool, which has about 70 square feet of surface space and varies from 3 to 4 feet in depth. Both pool and spa feature cobalt-blue tile trim and black plaster walls. This type of installation is ideal for small yards and is less costly than a traditional pool.

This irregularly shaped spa and "cool pool," above, are located in a corner of the yard of the San Gabriel Valley home of Arthur and Eileen Rubenstein. Designed by Mike Sorenson and built by California Pools & Spas, San Gabriel, the 8x6-foot spa is raised six inches above the pool, which measures 12x9 feet. The brick decking incorporates native rock (found while the pool was being excavated) into the perimeter of the pool. Cobalt-blue tile trims the edge and spillway of the spa and rims the pool at the waterline.

A free-form, millpond-style pool, left, was designed for Al and Erma Chavez's Westside home by David Tisherman, of David Tisherman's Visuals, Manhattan Beach. A raised retaining wall features natural river rock that goes below the waterline; decking is Bouquet Canyon stone. At its widest points, the pool measures 30x16 feet. The pool is finished in medium gray plaster for what Tisherman calls a " blue lagoon" look. The owners did not want a spa but they did ask the designer for a fountain, which Tisherman installed at the far end of the pool.

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