The Designer

Randy Angell
Creative director/Lead designer
Pool Environments
Plano, Texas

What the judges thought: The bold yellow I-beams stand out as a fascinating choice, but I’m also drawn to the screen behind the dining area, and the mystery of the partially hidden view beyond.
— Kate Wiseman

Spatial flow: The best designers transform challenge into opportunity. This yard was long and narrow, and its elevations proved difficult, with a 7½-foot differential between one corner and its opposite, and nothing level with the back door. Randy Angell met the challenge with this lean, multi-level creation. The pool sits higher than the deck, so the bond beam also serves as bench seating in the limited space. Leuder limestone stepping pads provide a route across the pool to the shaded dining area and hide the wall separating pool and spa. The deck leading to the pool features smooth finished concrete colored to match the pool’s Leuder limestone coping. An Ipe wood deck on the far end (seen on the previous page) allows for lounging and minimized the need for a retaining wall to manage the uneven grading. When the designer first presented his plan for the backyard, the clients said they couldn’t afford it. But after several modifications were proposed to reduce costs, the homeowners decided they liked the design so much that they’d rather wait to save the money and stay true to the original concept. As can be seen, the two years’ wait was worth it.

Form and function: The design concept includes several textural changes, including the unusual Brownstone ledgestone used for the face of the raised bond beam, step and wall behind the pool. A screen behind the shade structure adds more texture, albeit a linear one. For balance, a second one was placed near the firepit area. For absolute privacy, a bamboo thicket is planned behind the cabana screen. Pebbles between the stepper pads leading to the Ipe wood deck (seen on pages 33-34) provide another textural twist and contrast with the lighter concrete and limestone elements. A single sheet waterfall adds a smooth feel behind the spa, while the five custom-made stainless-steel scuppers behind the pool present water in another form. Because of limited space, Angell sought to get multiple uses when he could. To meet this goal, the fire pit has an aluminum cover that will support the weight of tables and chairs, to expand the entertaining space. The firepit was blended into the modified grid pattern created with subtle saw-cutting. The cabana structure features steel I-beams painted a green-yellow for a pop of color, along with cedar rafters for the roof.