Southern California is one of the most desirable places to live in the country. With year-round sunny weather and hardly any rain, what else could a homeowner ask for?

When redesigning the interior of his home, one homeowner was excited to create an outdoor oasis to complement the new space. He turned to interior designer, Christopher Grubb, to help transform his idea into reality.

“The backyard of this Southern California home was a blank slate,” said Grubb, founder and president of Arch-Interiors Design Group in Beverly Hills, CA. “We had previously worked on a remodel of the home’s interior. The space included a room that came to be known as ‘The Pool Room,’ hence creating the destiny for a new outdoor living space with a pool.

“We were challenged to create an outdoor space that’s less of an ‘entertainment area’ and more of an ‘en plein air’ (in the open air, as the French say) expanse of functional lifestyle zones,” he went on to explain. “The owner wanted it to be an extension of the home itself. But, he also wanted it to be the ultimate oasis that would feature a salt water swimming pool, Jacuzzi, fire pit, shower, outdoor bar/kitchen, plus ample space for lounging, sitting and dining.”

Inspired by the colors of the sea, the homeowner wanted to create an interactive backyard that felt very natural. He opted for iridescent green and blue glass tile from Lunada Bay Tile’s Agate collection to complement the pool area and outdoor kitchen, which was supplied by Walker Zanger in West Hollywood, CA. The handcrafted tile from the “Martini Blend” was used in a pearl finish, which incorporates a sheen and provides a nice accent to the outdoor accessories.

In the pool, the tile is featured on the lining, steps and benches, as well as the raised Jacuzzi and fire pit surrounds. The tile was also utilized for the outdoor bar’s backsplash and pool shower. “We incorporated the tile as a backsplash in the outdoor kitchen as an accent,” Grubb said. “In the outdoor shower, it covers the floor and the walls, giving it a really dramatic effect.”

In order to create this ultimate oasis, the backyard needed to be reconfigured. “One of the biggest challenges with this project was raising the deck to be level with the home’s entry points,” Grubb said. “This required a very specific grading for the pool and positioning of the decking material. Originally, the lawn was not flush with the back of the house. Walking out of the door into the yard required a step down, but we felt that one even plane would work best for connecting the pool deck to the entry points.

“To accomplish this, the grading (using soil from the digging for the pool) was very specific, leaving just enough space for the decking material to sit above flush with the door threshold,” he went on to say. “Eliminating the step down creates a cohesive linearity, allowing the entire outdoor expanse to feel like a natural extension of the home.”

The homeowner also wanted some natural grass to break up the hardscape. “With all of the elements that were requested, including a pool, Jacuzzi, fire pit, shower, kitchen, dining area, lounge area and bar seating, this was no easy task,” the designer explained. “With so many elements to incorporate, there was little open space for the landscape elements that the client requested. We added a row of hedges to complete the quadrangle and naturally create privacy. We also incorporated grass around large square stepping stones that lead to the Jacuzzi. The grass adds the perfect softness against the hard concrete pool surround and blends beautifully with the iridescent green and blue tile used throughout.”

From concept to completion, the outdoor area took about a year and a half to complete. “Even though space was a premium, we created an outdoor living area that feels wide open and welcoming,” Grubb said. “And placing the various elements such as the fire pit, hot tub and pool stairs on different horizontal planes helped to add visual definition for the various zones. The result is a luxurious poolscape, which exceeded the owner’s dream. It’s the perfect backdrop for an afternoon pool party, evening dinner with friends or simply a relaxing moment of solitude. The multi-award-winning design, above all, includes many luxurious-yet-functional elements, yet feels wide open. It’s not crowded or busy. It’s truly a serene environment.”

Private Residence

Southern California

Designer: Arch-Interiors Design Group, Beverly Hills, CA

Landscape Contractor: Steve Shea Landscape Design, Los Angeles, CA

Tile Supplier: Walker Zanger, West Hollywood, CA (Lunada Bay Tile’s Agate series)