THE CANVAS: A narrow space, a modern sculptural statement by Edward Lee Hendricks
THE PALETTE: Textured butterscotch glass, floating travertine, softly cascading water
THE MASTERPIECE: An emerald gem, drama and function combined, an art collector’s outdoor masterpiece
Then Steve Wilson, Greg Perry and Dennis Wright were commissioned by avid art collectors to design an aquascape, the team knew the result would be nothing short of breathtaking.
“The clients wanted something special for the space that also had a spa they could use for therapeutic reasons,” says Wilson, president of Star Pools. “We designed it to look more like a waterfeature than a spa.”
To accomplish this, Wilson worked closely with Perry, his company’s resident landscape architect, and Wright, a principal at Ruckel.Dillon.Wright Inc.
“I think the essence of the structure is … clean and crisp and inviting,” Wright says. “I wanted something not too busy and fairly monochromatic [so] the eye could be restful and the space will make you relax.”
An artist’s touch
One of the designers’ primary objectives was to focus attention on the water. The team also didn’t want to diminish the impact of a vital work of art applied to approximately one-third of the yard’s brick wall. Specially commissioned for the home, the gridlike piece was designed by Houston sculptor Edward Lee Hendricks. It’s made out of carbon fiber composite and painted in urethane enamel.
The treatment allows the color to shift during the day. “It grades out to a different color, depending on where you’re standing and what the position of the sun on the piece is as well,” Hendricks explains. “It makes it an active outdoor piece [that] works with the movement of the sun and the interplay of light and shadow.”
One of the ways the designers drew attention to the dramatic piece was by constructing a large glass water wall as a focal waterfeature. Three 8-foot-tall panels of half-inch-thick glass were attached to a U-framed stainless steel channel. “The glass is yellowish-green, almost butterscotch, and weighed about 800 pounds,” Wilson says.
Once the glass was in place, the horizontal ridges across the three panels had to be lined up seamlessly. “The ridges needed to be aligned to allow for air to collect and create patterns in the water as it falls down,” Wilson says.
The stunning wall demands attention without distracting you from the rest of the project, Wright adds.
Attention to detail
Travertine stone encases the spa and forms the step pads across the yard and water. The six-person spa is fully lined with fern green glass tile. “We wanted the spa to have a finished look, to give it the feeling of being a jewel in the yard,” adds Wilson, who studied sculpture in college.
Soft uplighting illuminates the glass panels as well as the Hendricks sculpture. Exotic plantings add bursts of life. Minimondo grass trims the steps, while an umbrella tree with an evergreen trunk is tucked behind the water wall.
“We wanted a Zen experience, so we kept their palette very simple, with lots of color on color,” Wright says. “From the inside of the home, the pads that cross the water look like they float.
“It’s a stunning statement.”