• Image

    Credit: PHOTO BY NICK ORABOVIC

 

Masters of Design Winners

  • Like Nature Made It

    An Illinois builder hand-selected key boulders to create a natural look in a half-acre water garden

     
  • Tiny Treasure

    A suburban backyard is transformed into an entertaining retreat

     
  • Adventureland

    An original backyard waterpark design that celebrates childhood

     
  • No Place Like Rome

    An Arizona backyard gets a spa fit for an emperor

     
  • Long on Style

    This swim spa is the perfect complement to a custom deck overlooking a ravine

     
 

Explore a stunning perimeter overflow that enfolds the ‘essence’ of a lotus.

New Meets Old

Though the home was in a traditional Tuscan style, the clients preferred a more contemporary look. This project bridges the home’s architecture with the client’s taste, using a combination of classic symmetry and clean lines.

The elevated spa is surrounded by four floating stepping stones set in an 18-inch deep catch basin. Fire bowls punctuate the area, which required meticulous construction. “The bases of the fire bowls are at the same elevation as the stepping stones,” Steve Sargent says. “So the rim flow stops at those bases and then picks up again after it turns a 90-degree corner. Getting around the corner and still being within 1/16-inch for the rim flow is tough to do.”

The team chose beaumaniere limestone for the decking, coping and cladding outside the elevated spa. The elegant material is hard enough to endure a water environment, unlike some limestones. And visually, it provides a softer look.

Razor’s Edge

The perimeter-overflow design was chosen not only for its contemporary feel, but also to help with proportion, since the pool takes up most of the yard. “The rimless edge blends it into the landscape,” Daniel Stewart says. “You don’t read where the pool stops and where the landscape starts, which doesn’t allow your eye to really register how large the space is. It all starts to become one.”

The 180 feet of perimeter overflow was built within a tolerance of 1/16 inch. This was an accomplishment, especially along the 75-foot length.

Design Motif

The clients asked for a lotus-inspired medallion on the bottom of the pool, so Stewart designed this motif. “They didn’t really want a lot of detail or fuss,” he says.

The motif is composed of various types of stone, including black granite and two shades of marble. The stone slabs were water-jet cut, using a precise system that followed a CAD drawing for the petal and outline forms. The giant puzzle pieces were then assembled.

“Even though these pieces are pretty good sized — some of them are almost 4 feet long — we’re still maintaining a perfectly consistent 1/8-inch grout joint all throughout the mosaic,” Sargent says.

Subtle Contrast

A large sun shelf sits between the spa area and the pool. The team finished it in a creamy Torreon travertine set in a distinct pattern of 6- and 18-inch tiles to highlight the tanning ledge from the rest of the pool, which was finished in gray plaster. Stewart marked the corners of the sun shelf with a black and beige diamond design motif cut in stone, which subtly echoes the lotus medallion. The pattern also complements the small black stone tiles used as markers on the steps.