Launch Slideshow

Photo by Kevin Crosse

Category: Spas

Category: Spas

  • Photo by Kevin Crosse

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    Photo by Kevin Crosse

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  • Photo by Kevin Crosse

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    Photo by Kevin Crosse

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  • Photo by Kevin Crosse

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    Photo by Kevin Crosse

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The home is located on the edge of a marine airbase in the San Diego area, bordered by open land that the designers didn’t want to obscure. The fireplace, made of the same slate used in the construction of the house, was kept low so it wouldn’t obstruct the natural landscape, and the lounge area it sits in was built to align with the rising moon.

Room with a view

The home is located on the edge of a marine airbase in the San Diego area, bordered by open land that the designers didn’t want to obscure. The fireplace, made of the same slate used in the construction of the house, was kept low so it wouldn’t obstruct the natural landscape, and the lounge area it sits in was built to align with the rising moon.

“They bring a glass of wine out there every night and fall asleep under the stars,” says David Reed. The spa itself is raised on three steps at the very apex of the yard, designed to be the focal point of the “broken circle” patio.

Stepping back, those visiting the backyard can take in an entire hillside of pink Dazzling Ice Plant, a succulent whose electric color, when in bloom, sets off the relatively neutral grays of the sand-finished concrete and accent slate.

Going in circles

The yard’s circular patio sits at varying levels to define different areas, all radiating from the same central point. “We wanted to create little rooms without walls where people can flow between them very easily,” says Angelina Sotelo.

Each “room” is rimmed with its own specific plantings — such as the succulents in the barbecue section — to further define boundaries without closing anything off. “It gives identity to each space,” Sotelo adds.

The spa, built with the help of contractor Mission Pools in nearby Escondido, has the same curves as the rest of the backyard and required a precise staking plan. “Each area radiates a different ring on the central circle, and the spa is no different,” Reed says. Like the rings of Saturn, “the internal curve of the spa completes one circle, and its outer edge is another. It keeps going outward, drawing the eye.”

To a fault

The river of gravel dividing the central patio circle may feel familiar to Southern Californians, as it was intended to resemble the fault lines that are so much a part of the region’s natural characteristics. In fact, local topography was a main inspiration for this project.

“The seismic thing is sort of an allegory for our setting,” Reed says. “We wanted something that would reflect the natural order of California.” For an organic effect, the gravel that lines the fault cutout was layered with large pebbles on the bottom, topped by medium and finally small pebbles. It extends to a gravel basin beside the spa, so it appears to continue into the landscape beyond.

Other California-influenced details include drought-resistant plants and pale green furniture upholstery that complements the color of nearby succulents. The project also takes advantage of sunny San Diego, with iridescent cobalt blue glass tile inside the spa and black onyx plaster for a mirror effect. Black diamond fire glass in the fireplace completes the look.