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A 'sunken lounge'

Turning at 1950s swimming pool into a 'sunken lounge'

May 28, 2011
  • When Durie was making the move from Sydney, Australia, to Los Angeles in 2009, he yearned for his own piece of California, complete with midcentury architecture and an inside-outside lifestyle. Durie found the 1956 house in Laurel Canyon, its backyard dominated by an old swimming pool and a steep, mostly unplanted hillside. His design strategy was to update the pool and ring it with distinct places for entertaining, dining, even sleeping and bathing. The bifold doors are from LaCantina.
When Durie was making the move from Sydney, Australia, to Los Angeles in… (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles…)

Jamie Durie tweaked his 1950s swimming pool into what he calls a "sunken lounge," complete with a new bench inside the entire perimeter so there's cool seating for party guests.

"People can actually sit and spend time here," Durie says.

He worked with Aric Entwistle of Los Angeles-based H2O Development Inc. to replace a conventional chlorine system with SpectraLight,which uses ultraviolet light to kill waterborne pathogens.

The renovated pool is solar heated with a system from Suntopia Solar.

A new edge was fabricated over the original coping using carbon fiberglass, resin and several coats of waterproofing. It's finished with Bisazza glass mosaic tiles.

"For something over 50 years old, the contractor thought I was nuts, but we've been able to turn an ordinary pool into a gorgeous water feature," Durie says.

Indian white granite, sandblasted to create a nonskid patio surface, surrounds the water in rhythmic bands inter-planted with Irish moss for permeability, reducing storm runoff.

"The backyard works like a giant bowl," he says. "All the paving has a 5% gradient to force rainwater into the pool, replacing evaporating water. Whatever doesn't run into the pool is soaked into the ground."

— Debra Prinzing

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