When I started working with gunite pools I realized that I was not designing a pool – but rather a backyard. As I furthered my experience I realized I was not designing a backyard but rather a lifestyle. How I put pen to paper would come to define how clients enjoyed some of their most valuable time with their most valuable people. This awareness made me hyper sensitive to the practical experience using a space in addition to the aesthetics .
From BBQ placement to Fire Feature locations, pool depths to wall heights, furniture spots to planter size – each decision I make (then change – then change again) is in pursuit of finding the optimal layout for that specific client and how they and their guests will interact with the space.
In my first consultation – one of the most important things that I need to understand from a home owner is the type of entertaining they do and type of person they are. Is it quiet evenings watching the sunset with a glass of wine or a weekend party zone for families and neighbors? Is dinner for four or forty? Are they neat and tidy or a little loose with how they keep things? Is this their forever home or moving in 5 years? These types of questions help prepare me to make the best decisions for their unique design.
I often say that there is a time and place for everything. Having said that – there are times that architectural style does set a tone that a design should take if they are interested in continuity across the property structures. That’s not to say it is impossible to break from the existing style – but it should be done with intention.
While trying to understand my clients preferences I rely on examining their interior design choices, fashion, art etc. to connect with them and best enable myself to channel their interests. I also keenly observe clients looking over my portfolio to see what grabs their attention. Today I see many people light up when looking over some of my outdoor kitchens and fire features.
There is no such thing as getting everything perfect on the first try. Revisions is a part of the process. Even if they are small tweaks or material changes. A Design is a living document until the project is completed. The most exciting designs are ones that the owner has immersed themselves in the process and it becomes clear that is a perfect plan for them.