Brad Holley’s Yacht-Inspired Pool Design Takes Top Honors in Las Vegas

From Putting Greens to Luxury Spas: The Elements That Won the Million Dollar Pool Design Challenge

Brad Holley, design director at Dallas-based Pure Design, took home the top prize – a trophy and $10,000 — at The Fourth Annual Million Dollar Pool Design Challenge.

His elaborate and luxurious poolscape was presented in November 2023 in Las Vegas at the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo.

The yacht-inspired design for a fictional family who live in a modern glass house in Miami is centered around a shade structure reminiscent of the “hardtop,” or upper-most cover, of a luxury boat.

It features an entertainment space with seating and a putting green. Below, following the same template, is closed-loop lazy river, complete with an island that is accessible by foot.

“Still stuck in ‘yacht mode,’ my mind immediately went to one of those temporary bridges used to board a big vessel,” Holley says, adding that he spent months working on the design.

The island is outfitted with an oversized sunken fire pit and an UltraVision multi-panel video display.

“Creating the wall for the display also gave me the perfect opportunity for a fire/water feature and tile mosaic on the backside in front of the bridge’s greenery-flanked stairs,” he says.

Holley sited the all-tile pool, which features a glittering portrait of artist Frieda Kahlo, on the opposite side of the structure, placing a 360-degree acrylic spa on the center line. Support beams coming to and from the structure are more decorative than functional and were included to provide shade for the pool.

On the other side, Holley created an illusion and added scuppers and a splash pad water feature that’s in the shape of a spunky South American two-headed serpent sculpture.

A walled-off and gated private area with Aquavia’s standalone Cube Jacuzzi and an outdoor kitchen and bar round out Holley’s poolscape.

The result, he says, is an outdoor environment that screams “Miami!” everywhere you turn.

“The contest is a lot of fun,” says Holley, who placed fourth in 2022’s competition, the first one he entered. “Unlike in real life, you don’t have to hold back because there’s an unlimited budget. It’s pure creativity. I’d like to build it, but I know I never will get the opportunity to do that.”

Holley most definitely won’t be entering this year’s contest: As the winner, he’ll be sitting on the judges’ panel.

Get Our Email Newsletter

Sign up for our monthly email newsletter to get the latest from featured pool builders and designers who create the ultimate backyard escapes.
Stop dreaming and start planning your backyard retreat.