New house: Swimming Pool design

Jun 18

Now that we officially own our new (eerrr, old) california home, I’ve been anxious to begin sharing before photos and my renovation plans. I’m so excited that I’m purely giddy about sharing this today! finally!…Real before photos and real discussions about projects and ideas I have planned!

We aren’t making the move out for another 5 weeks, so while we aren’t there and the house is empty, this is the perfect time to get the super messy jobs out of the way. Namely installing french drains all around the property and demo’ing the pool.

During inspection it became clear just how much tlc this little house needs. Everything from a new roof, to a complete landscaping overhaul, to new fences (all around the property), to sewer line issues, to drainage issues, to $25k worth in termite/beetle damages, and more. The list is endless. And this doesn’t include other cosmetic changes we’ll make inside and out; Closet organizers, carpets, new hardwoods, paint in and out, a brand new kitchen, and more. The seller’s took care of the pest issue and repairs (sorta – will explain and share pics later) which was a big help to our pocketbook (!!) but everything else will get done over time. I love having a long list of projects to work on!

One of the big, messy jobs getting started on this week however? The pool!

when we looked for a home, a pool was not on the dream list. But when we saw this house and fell in love with the potential, it was definitely a nice benefit. I  can imagine family gatherings, girl’s nights, birthday parties, watching sporting events, and more…All outside near the pool. As exciting as it is, I’ve never actually had a pool in my backyard. There is a lot to think about in terms of security for the kids…But now also with pool design.
The pool, sadly, is 100% shot. Just imagine the bottom of a white plaster pool looking like a cracked hardboiled egg shell. yes, that bad. Not to mention, the pool equipment is completely fried and outdated. Aaaaaand then there is the electrical issue with the pool. For some reason, the idea of water and electricity combining sorta freak me out. Go figure!


It would have been great to move in and have a pool-ready home, but since that isn’t the case and we aren’t living there now to endure the messy, dangerous job, the pool work began today.

Here are some before shots of the pool. My apologies for these as they are cell phone shots from my one and only time I’ve seen the house. But they’ll give you an idea of where we’re starting….

It’s a great shape to begin with and is plenty big. The pool is directly behind the house. The little single door you see is actually an entrance to a screened-in porch. And surprise, that whole room is shot too! think peeling up flooring as a start…

More than likely, that screened-in porch will end up as part of our new kitchen.

Here’s a shot from the left side of the yard…

And there is a lot of space beyond the pool near the back far corner of the yard…

The above shot also gives you a good idea of the fence issues we have. 4 neighbors back up to our property and there are 5 different fences. Many of which are falling or disintegrating. Better make friends with the neighbors quickly so we can work on fixing the fences together.

When we purchased the house and found out the pool was going to be a complete reno, I headed to pinterest for some pool inspiration. This pool spoke to me so much. Mainly because it’s almost the same shape of the current pool but it had an added spa feature…


But I loved the coloring of this pool and pool decking…


A few weekends ago i spent a few hours with our pool contractor. He saw the pool in its current state and my inspiration photos, then suggested he take me to see another pool they recently finished. The yard was a mirror image of ours and I was simply blown away by the beauty of this pool. Have a look…


I know. I’ll give it a moment to sink in.

This family went all out on their pool materials. Even bringing in special stone from Connecticut for the border. Yes, I told our pool contractor I would not be requiring anything that fancy. Just having a pool in our yard is enough. I’m not a fussy, picky, high-maintenance kind of girl.

Let’s see more of this bad boy. Pool features i fell in love with? The spa shape…


The “shelf” in the shallow end where kids (or adults) can chill and play in the water. If you look closely, there is even a little hole in the shelf where an umbrella can be placed. Genius!…

I love love love the idea of this diving boulder. You can see it in the photo foreground – near the pink flowers. I was really happy about this option because I think a boulder is much more tasteful than a huge board. Not to mention, a little safer! and less additional digging for pool depth and length. And permits!…

In the above photo you can also see a fire-pit in the background. I love the placement with the little surrounding bench. It would be perfect in our yard since there is quite a bit of space beyond the pool, as I shared. Here’s a better shot of it from the opposite side of the pool…


This is my idea of perfection. I think it’s beautiful and makes the yard look amazing. The yard doesn’t scream “pool and diving board”. The colors are soothing. Kinda takes my breath away. I was very happy our contractor brought me to see this pool. It helped greatly to see a finished pool in person and not in a photo.

Our pool contractor was right – this would be the perfect pool shape, features, etc for our house. The yard is essentially the same size and shape as this one. So we began the process of designing. Seeing that pool made it easy. Here is our current design…



Try to pay no attention to the landscaping or background. we don’t have mountains on our property! haha!

We’ll just get the pool itself and the 1′ border done before move in. Once we’re living in the house we’ll decide on a landscape design and finish out the rest of the yard and entertaining spaces.

And the pool demo work begins today! They are starting the draining and demo process. When I’m there again in a few weeks, I’ll take loads of much better photos to share! as far as other pool details (which i’ll touch on later as the process is happening) we decided to go saltwater and are going with a security fence, as opposed to a net or retractable cover.

If you’re a pool owner, share some of your tips with me! I’d love to know where you found inexpensive pool gear – like floats and toys. Or how you store your pool toys. That is going to be a fun new organization challenge for me!

comments +

  1. Sarah says:

    Your pool will be beautiful! I cannot wait to see the transformation of your new home! The last homes you have shared have been incredible. I hope the renovation goes quickly and smoothly for you.

    • oh, thank you SO much! that is super nice of you…and i am really looking forward to this house because of the blog. you guy will really get to see it all. i didn't have a blog with our first 2 homes, so this will be fun! 🙂

      thanks again and thanks for reading!!

  2. lanamarc says:

    Hi! huge fan of your blog! we actually just built a pool as well! daunting task but almost done – just in time for summer :-)as for pool toys, we have a chain around here called five below – everything under $5! best store for pool toys and many other things as well. check it out. also, i'm sure you are far off from getting outdoor furniture but i looked everywhere for the best prices and we just ordered a bunch of lounge chairs, bar stools (for outdoor kitchen), storage chest for pool toys, etc from overstock (christopher knight collection) and we are very happy so far. best prices i found and i did a ton of research. costco also has great outdoor furn but they usually sell out by may/june so you have to shop early for their summer stuff. good luck!

    • thank you SOOO much for your compliments! i appreciate that very much! and thank you for the great resources! overstock is a great idea. my husband is obsessed with restoration hardware….i am NOT obsessed with their pricing. even when the patio sets go on 40% off sale. i'll have to talk to him about this!

      thank you again!!!

  3. That looks amazing! How fun this transformation will be! That worked out so well that he had another one nearby to show you that was just about exactly what you wanted! I'm looking forward to following along!

  4. We live in Texas and have had a pool since buying this house 7 years ago – we love having our own backyard pool. It is hard to live here with these hot summers without one. Ours is just a basic rectangle with a spa off to the middle on one side – we are going to have to resurface it pretty soon as it is starting to get rough on our feet – my boys get blisters from it if they swim a long time. Good Luck with the renovations.

  5. I'm so excited for you with all the wonderful things you will be doing with the new house. That pool and backyard area is going to be fantastic!

  6. So happy for you guys! This will all be worth it and to finally be back Home! YEAH!!!

  7. melissa says:

    Looks great! I've swam many times at a house with one of those shallow ledges with the umbrella in the middle. It's awesome! Make sure you grab some plastic adirondack chairs to set right in the water 😉 Home Depot has them every year at this time in bright, fun colors.

    We owned a pool for about two years before we decided to rip it out, so I can say that you are lucky to NOT be living there while that is going on!

  8. Ping Ping says:

    I've been a silent reader of your blog for a while now. It's so cool to have your own pool! It's almost impossible to have it here in Malaysia unless you are extremely extremely rich (rich is not enough to get you a private pool in your backyard). But I love all your design ideas and organizing ideas. Perhaps one day when I have my own house, I can have do a smaller scale one of what you showed here!

  9. I am looking forward to seeing all the changes you complete in order to make the house your home. As certifiably insane remodelaholics ourselves (22 times) in 30 years – same house . . . it makes me excited to see others taking bones and making them into something beautiful! Love your blog!

  10. Crystal says:

    Can't wait to see your pool finished! The drawing looks great!! I so wish we had a pool!!

  11. Smith Mosan says:

    These tips to much helpful for party hope I am post for my friend. What are you going to do drop a truck in the pool. Just kiding. Any way, Gunite can and will crack and a real pain to repair. The glass pool is very easy to maintain. I had to make the choice and what made the diferance for me was not only cost but the lack of maintenance on the long term. The glass is very easy on chemicals and keeping it clean is a breese. Draw back is of course is limited shapes, really what ever turns your crank.
    Chicago Pool Builder

  12. The backyard of your house is extremely big. If you want, you could make the pool a little bigger. A spa addition would be a great idea. This will give your yard a more aesthetic appeal. You can actually achieve the design on the first photo, if you want. Your yard has a great potential to look like that. I can’t wait to see the final photo of your yard with the pool finish. I’ll be looking forward to seeing this. 🙂
    Aquos Pools

  13. Jeny Thomas says:

    The mirror image of your pool looks so good, excited to see the final photo of the pool.

    Filbur – FC-6310

  14. tylerjones says:

    This looks so good. Thank you so much.
    discount scuba gear packages

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