Creating World-Class Backyard Resorts in Southern California

Blue Pacific Pools combines fun water features, fanciful lights, and Pentair technology to create at-home resort experiences in a luxury coastal Southern California development.


Photographs by Thyronne Millaud and Reggie Ige

Tradewinds at Pacifica San Juan, Toll Brothers’ exclusive 23-home gated community in California’s San Juan Capistrano, is a showstopper; its estate-sized properties feature two-story residences that open themselves to mountain views across enormous resort-style backyards anchored by stunning swimming pools.

Blue Pacific Pools, an award-winning design/build pool firm that has offices in California and Texas, consulted with the Toll Brothers team to create what its president, Jeff Solt, calls an “over-the-top” vanishing-edge pool and spa combination for the Orange County development’s model home that merges indoor and outdoor and “flows to create a perfect entertaining area.”

He wasn’t the only one who thought the 1,400-square-foot pool was outstanding; the project won a Pool & Hot Tub Alliance 2019 International Silver Award of Excellence in the category of Installations in the U.S. & Canada, Residential Concrete Pools, Pools with a Vanishing Edge of 601 Square Feet or More. The prize was one of two Silver Awards Blue Pacific Pools received last year.

“The homes Toll Brothers builds are semi-custom, and for this development, they wanted a ‘wow!’ factor for them inside and out,” says Solt.

A large part of the poolscape’s ‘wow!’ factor lies with its illumination.

“What sets this poolscape apart is the color-changing lighting,” Solt says, adding that he installed two Pentair LED GloBrites in the spa and seven in the pool. “It’s an entertainment feature that makes a great conversation piece.”

The poolscape, which includes a patio with a fireplace, offers views of the area’s mountains.

He added that the pool and spa are on separate circuits, so they each can have their own color scheme, which is controlled remotely by Pentair’sIntelliTouch® system.

“You can custom theme the colors,” he says. “You can have red, white, and blue for the Fourth of July, green for St. Patrick’s Day, and pink for Valentine’s Day.”

The 4,500-square-foot house was designed to be so in sync with its 8,000-square-foot lot that it’s hard to tell where the indoors ends the outdoors begins.

Three splashing fountains add drama to the pool and spa.

Glass pocket doors in the kitchen open to a tiled patio that features a fireplace and seating. In the family room, another set of glass pocket doors reveals the swimming pool and a lounge seating area beyond that’s outfitted with a barbeque and kitchen, complete with a refrigerator and ice maker. The second-floor balcony offers yet another view of the pool.

Solt says Pentair’s MasterTemp pool heater also helped create this illusion of expansiveness. “It’s very efficient space-wise,” he says. “And Pentair recently has made much smaller units, which is especially important in California where there’s limited land space.”

The poolscape’s design allows for a variety of simultaneous activities.

“What’s really nice is the water around the spa is only 12 inches deep so kids can play there or adults can bring their chairs there to sunbathe,” Solt says. “In the lounge area, there are three steps down to the pool so you can sit with your feet in the water and still talk to people sitting on the grass.”

The lounging area looks across the pool toward the interior of the house.

The three fountains, he adds, are another relaxing feature; the sound of gently flowing water is soothing.

Blue Pacific Pools has worked on numerous Toll Brothers projects, providing what Solt calls “value engineering.”

In the case of the Tradewinds model home, the original plan called for a seamless acrylic spillway around the vanishing-edge spa, which was far beyond the generous budget allotted for it.

The indoor family room has pocket doors that open to the pool.

“It was going to be double the cost, so we came up with the idea of making 4-inch stainless steel corners instead,” he says, adding that the acrylic reflects the natural light, increasing the pool’s shimmer.

The Pentair IntelliFloVSVariable Speed Pump was another economically efficient choice, he says. “It runs at a low RPM, so you save money,” he says, adding that he also installed Pentair’s Clean and Clear Cartridge Filter System. “It’s quality equipment, offers good value, and it’s built to last.”

He added that variable speed is a crucial piece of equipment to assure the functionality of rim-flow pools. “If there are issues like misaligned tiles, the speed can be raised to rectify them,” he says.

The balcony offers a beautiful view of the poolscape.

Although Tradewinds at Pacifica San Juan is close to the world-renowned beaches of Dana Point Harbor and the community has its own pool and spa, covered cabanas, fitness center and barbecue area, Solt says the model home’s poolscape offers all the amenities of a world-class resort.

“It’s a great place for a staycation,” he says. “There’s no reason to leave home.”,

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