Everyone Into the Pool!

Pools offering an alluring visual element, plus the irrefutable recreational factor, have L.A. homeowners taking the plunge

Written by Wendy Bowman

When it comes to designing pools, Malibu-based Burdge & Associates Architects Inc. has had some pretty unusual design requests—like the time a client asked for one side of his pool to be glass and to butt against a shark tank, so he could feel like he was swimming with the finned fishes. Unfortunately, the project was never finished, but Burdge and other L.A. architects have come up with myriad of other fanciful pool creations, with the biggest request being pools with a view, whether mountains or ocean…or maybe even a cocktail bar.

“Pools have always been popular in the L.A. market because of our weather and the high value placed on homes that foster a complete indoor-outdoor lifestyle,” says Mauricio Umansky, founder and CEO of The Agency. He adds that luxurious, high-end pools definitely increase the allure and desirability of a property, especially for aesthetic lovers, and often boost the price of homes in the Southern California market.

“The most attractive pools in luxury homes don’t just complement the home’s style, but are integrated into the landscape, offering an appealing visual element on top of the obvious recreational factor,” says Umansky. “Buyers are attracted to features that boost a home’s wow-factor and add another desirable element to entertaining.”

Take, for example, the personal residence of L.A. developer/designer Cyrus Harouni at 1307 Sierra Alta Way that Umansky is currently listing for $18.85 million. Here, the sun-drenched grounds boast a zero-edge infinity pool that flows to an aquarium-like glass window above a bar on the lower level, offering an unusual underwater view of the pool above. “The glass wall creates visual interest, and without it, the water view would be obstructed for the entire lower level,” says Umansky. “The water is also visible from virtually every corner of the home, creating a natural connection between indoor and outdoor spaces.”

Jeanette Tang, a senior associate and senior project designer at Burdge & Associates says that budget really is the only limit to creativity. One of her favorite pool projects can be found at a newly constructed bluff-top retreat offering panoramic ocean views at 33740 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, which now is on the market for $57.5 million. Designed by Burdge & Associates owner Doug Burdge, the resort-style grounds feature a covered, open-air pavilion with a fireplace, an al fresco kitchen with a pizza oven, a grill and two stone-crafted bars that flow to a 70-foot-by- 25-foot ocean-view pool with a spa, sunken lounge area, pool bath and fire pit.

“The project is unique in the sense that the pool is located above the roof line of the house,” says Tang. “When you are hanging out at the pool, you see the ocean beyond the main house, and we designed a pool pavilion that has a full kitchen and outdoor living room, including a TV.”

One thing’s for certain, homeowners take their pools very seriously in L.A. “The indoor-outdoor trend will continue in L.A. as outdoor living becomes more prominent, and a pool is the perfect complement to the lifestyle.”

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