Photographs by Jimi Smith
Simple is definitely not the same as ordinary. Hired to build a rectangle pool for a recent $225,000 custom project in Hollywood Hills, California, Richard Babcock dreamed of providing his client a detail-rich experience that surprised with subtle elegance. As he walked the building site on a slope just blocks from Sunset Boulevard, Babcock — owner of Babcock Custom Pools & Environments — began to visualize a sparkling expanse of water reflecting the future modern two-story house to be constructed on the lot around a 30-foot x 12-foot swimming pool.
What unique characteristics would be essential? What dramatic elements could be woven in? First, though, came complex preparations. Simple is not the same as easy, either. Hollywood Hills’ streets are narrow, slopes steep and access limited. Drawing on his three decades of experience in the building trades, Babcock laid out a streamlined but precise schedule that dovetailed with construction of the new home that would overlook the Sunset Strip
“Because of the slope, the foundation had to be 18 inches into solid rock instead of relying on multiple caissons. That meant we had to excavate down 12 and a half feet,” said Babcock. In addition, the concrete foundation under the deep end of the pool had to be six and a half feet thick and on the shallow end close to nine feet thick. “Everything was designed to ensure that the pool and its 10,222 gallons of water could withstand anything nature could throw at it,” Babcock said.
Babcock moved on to conceive of an inviting entrance for the pool and spa, which the client, Brooks of Dunn Architecture Studio, requested be salt water instead of typical chlorine. Babcock chose six colors of subway tile to offer DAS. He selected low voltage LED lighting an inch and a half in diameter to create a nice shadowing effect throughout the pool. In addition, the coping and deck concrete was to be modern sand-finished – enhanced with carbon fiber additives that would make it subtly shine when the sun hit it just right. Babcock then added two more unique features
He custom-designed the pool cover to be hidden under the deck at the deep end of the pool, available at a push of a button. He also designed the pool skimmer system to be in line with the coping, so that swimmers never see an unappealing collection basket. “These two details allowed us to keep our clean geometric look, with all the sight lines simple and elegant,” Babcock said. As Babcock Custom Pools & Environments is a one-stop provider for outdoor living, he and his crew also crafted the property’s driveway, front entrance and other hardscape installations. At one end of the property they installed a striking sixfoot-high black cement-board wall, designed by DAS.
As this and multiple other projects attest, Babcock Custom Pools & Environments — based in the Los Angeles region with additional operations in Arizona — believes that no design is too demanding, no engineering hurdle too challenging, no project too complicated. The key is consulting and partnering with trusted individuals, engineers, manufacturers, and suppliers to create inspired environments, perfected down to the smallest detail.
“There are many great pool and outdoor environment designers and builders out there,” said Babcock. “Where I believe Babcock Custom Pools shines is with our integrity and creativity and hyper commitment to excellence. When customers hire us, they’re getting that immovable foundation. That’s what we build their dreams on. Plus, we absolutely love what we do!”
BABCOCK CUSTOM POOLS
& ENVIRONMENTS INC.
9171 Wilshire Blvd., Ste 500
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
In Business Since 2004
Designs and Builds 10 Pools per Year
SERVICE AREAS: Los Angeles-based Babcock Custom Pools & Environments also operates in Arizona.