En Plein Air Living Space by Beverly Hills Designer Christopher Grubb

“In the open air,” as the French say, this Southern California outdoor oasis offers versatility, luxury, and comfort year-round.

Like sunglasses and flip-flops, backyard pools and Southern California living go hand-in-hand. The ability to utilize outdoor spaces all year long is just one of the many perks that come with the quintessential SoCal lifestyle. So, when interior designer Christopher Grubb and his team at Arch-Interiors Design Group tackled this blank slate of a backyard, the goal was to create an all-encompassing outdoor retreat packed with lifestyle “zones” and features that could be enjoyed as an extension of the home itself.

“Having worked with the owner previously on two interior renovations, we had a very clear picture of what he wanted and found it easy to collaborate,” says Grubb, who has been at the helm of Arch-Interiors for over 25 years. The owners wanted all the bells and whistles including a salt water swimming pool, jacuzzi, fire pit, shower, outdoor kitchen, and bar seating, plus lots of space for lounging, sunning, and dining. Although the backyard space itself isn’t terribly large, Grubb and his team were able to implement all of the elements that the owner desired.

Sea of Color

“The owner wanted the space to feel very natural and utilize shades of sea-inspired blues and greens,” Grubb explains, noting that inspiration for the color scheme was captured from the blue and green in the specified window awning’s fabric. For the surface of the main elements, including the swimming pool, jacuzzi, fire pit, shower, and kitchen, Grubb selected a stunning iridescent glass tile from Lunada Bay Tile.

“The homeowner was delighted by the undulating shape of the tiles as well as with the blue/green ocean-like hues, which was perfect to these areas because it added texture and dimension to each area,” he explains. The combined results offer sparkling color that shimmers under the sun and sparkles in the moonlight, just like the nearby Pacific Ocean.

Sizzling Outdoor Kitchen

The owner enjoys entertaining and wanted a space where he could grill and mix cocktails. To meet his vision, the design team was able to create a fully functional u-shaped kitchen space, complete with refrigeration and a sink. The blue/green glass tile backsplash carries the cool ocean aesthetic into the kitchen space, helping it to blend beautifully with the rest of the outdoor expanse. Overhead, a pergola helps to define the kitchen parameters while LED lighting from Core Lighting makes it easy to grill and mix drinks in the evenings.

Shower in the Sunshine

Since no backyard pool is complete without a spa-inspired shower, this oasis features a shower that’s as indulgent to look at as it is to use. Once again, the blue/green glass tile is the star of the show. The shower includes both a rain shower and a handheld for extra convenience. Since Grubb’s clients never settle for ordinary, he added a solid brass “Camden” StyleDrain from California Faucets instead of a pedestrian looking drain cover. One of four StyleDrain designs that Grubb actually created especially for the company, Camden’s strong grid pattern emulates the streets in the “Golden Triangle” of Beverly Hills. The solid brass shower drain sparkles amongst the tile, making the overall effect extraordinary.

Nurturing Nature

With the multitude of elements packed into the project, there was little open space for landscape details. But nature was important to the owners, hence the team included foliage that satisfied the client. A row of hedges helps to complete the quadrangle outlining the entire outdoor expanse while also creating privacy. The team 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 glass tile,” describes Grubb.

Speaking of “green,” the team used as many environmentally friendly elements as they could, including LEED-approved decking material, non-absorptive glass tile, energy efficient and recyclable concrete, low VOC paint on cabinets and doors, and sustainable trillium countertops made from 80-percent recycled materials.

Even though space was a premium, Grubb and his team created an outdoor living area that feels wide open and welcoming. By using a dark bottom for the swimming pool, Grubb created the optical illusion of a larger pool. 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 of a perfect backdrop for an afternoon pool party, evening dinner with friends, or simply a relaxing moment of solitude.

Project Credits

Designer: Christopher Grubb, President/Founder Arch-Interiors Design Group
Photography: Chris Miller Imagine Imagery
Pool and landscape contractor: Steve Shea

Product List

Decking: Resysta
Awning Fabric: Sunbrella
Counter top: Cosentino Resysta
Pool and shower tile: Lunada Bay Tile from Walker Zanger
Sconces: Murray Feiss
Appliances: Twin Eagles
Sink and Faucet: Twin Eagles
Refrigerator: Delta Heat
Glass Pieces in Fire Feature: American Fire Glass
Drain Cover: California Faucets StyleDrain by Christopher Grubb
Shower Fixture: Signature Hardware
Barstools: Trex Outdoor Furniture
Furniture: Restoration Hardware
Umbrellas: Customer owned
Decorative Pillows: RAGS
Beach Ball Fabric: Romo
Planters: All Modern
Lights in Pergola: Core Lighting
Tile: Lunada Bay Tile
Awning Fabrication: Marine Awning

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