The space for this project was a little cramped, but the homeowner wanted it to feel open. “No matter where she was in the pool, she didn’t want the view obstructed,” says Roger Soares, a Genesis 3 Platinum member.

Low to the ground

The space for this project was a little cramped, but the homeowner wanted it to feel open. “No matter where she was in the pool, she didn’t want the view obstructed,” says Roger Soares, a Genesis 3 Platinum member. In response, the designer developed a concept that stays close to ground-level. Part of the pool sits about 6 inches above grade, and from there, the perimeter steps up several times, to 12-, 18- and 24-inch heights. (See opening photo.)

In keeping with the small elevations, Soares designed a fire pit that stands a mere 3 feet high. The minimalist horizontal rectangle not only fit the style, but the cross beam on top cleverly blocks bathers from a view of the adjacent property. The clients are gallery owners, and after getting a sense of their taste, Soares decided to cap off the poolscape with concrete spheres. These pure geometric forms complement the angularity of the pool, spa and fire pit.

A reflective quality

Though the clients wanted the mirror effect of a perimeter overflow pool, Soares couldn’t fit the sizeable catch basin or holding tank that would be needed. Instead, he strategically placed a small stretch of slot overflow within view of the living room and kitchen. This gave the homeowners the reflective quality they wanted while requiring a much smaller gutter.

But there was one drawback to the stillness of this waterscape — a complete lack of sound. “There’s a road behind [the spa area],” Soares says. “So I put stacked stone on the back [vanishing edge] wall so it would make a little trickle noise but not affect the perimeter overflow. It gave them enough sound to wash out that road noise.”

Underwater gems

Glass mosaic tile was used to line both the pool and spa interior. In selecting it, Soares worked with Genesis 3 co-founder David Tisherman to assemble a special blend of purples that pick up the vibrant Phoenix sunsets and golden browns to match the landscape. “Two of [the tiles] are a little more reflective than the others, so they glimmer in the sun,” Soares says.

The color combination seemed improbable, so Soares had a sample made up and submerged it in water for the homeowners to see. “When people first look at this tile, they say, ‘I don’t know if this will work,’” Soares explains. “But when they look at the pool they say, ‘I want that.’”

On the spa’s outer walls, the tile meets up with travertine that was used for the back beams. (See this photo for more details.) Soares didn’t want water to migrate into the stone, so he created a water stop by pulling the travertine out 1/2 inch from the spa dam wall. This way, water falling down the tile wall couldn’t fan out and wet the stone. “The water just stops and runs down the edge of the glass tile,” Soares says.