Poolscapes as Personal Resorts
Creating a small slice of paradise in your own backyard
In this St. Martin Parish outdoor oasis, guests cross the yard to the cabana via a bridge. The shallow end of the pool features a rock wall that gives it a natural, elegant feel.
Photos by Chipper Hatter
St. Martin Parish Home Designed for Outdoor Parties
“So many elements came into play when designing the swimming pool and outdoor living areas,” says Monique Breaux, owner of Posh Exclusive Interiors. She orchestrated and created the design of the 10,000-square-foot home’s interior as well as the outdoor living areas and cabana. “There are lounge areas in the pool, and there’s a large concave wall with a waterfall, so you hear a lot of lovely sounds outside,” Breaux observes. “The house is nestled off the street, and renders a resort feel. A lot of my clients want to feel as though they are at a resort.”
The backyard’s elaborate open living area near the main house has a fully equipped gourmet kitchen. Visitors cross the yard to the cabana via a bridge. The homeowners’ objective was to create an informal dining, cooking and entertaining area at the cabana that was different from the formality of the main house. French doors surround the cabana, which has a large living room and a media room upstairs, and is devoid of a bedroom. It was designed solely for entertaining and relaxing with the family.
“Where the house is situated, there is an organic feel, so we tapped into that thought process,” Breaux says. “We needed to visually connect the home proper to the cabana, so the bridge was created. The deck is rounded and soft, and goes with the arch of the bridge. Then you go to the shallow end of the pool, where we created a rock wall. If they are having a dinner party at the main house, they would serve drinks on the back gallery. But if they wanted a more casual environment, guests cross the bridge to the cabana, which was designed and constructed after the main house was built.”
The outdoor living area and pool at Monique Breaux’s residence in Lafayette was designed on the way to catching a plane to New York, where she has a sizeable client base that includes a recent interior design project with the Trumps. “I would never do that for a client, design a pool area that fast!” she laughs. “My entire back yard was designed on a scrap piece of paper in the car when I was on the way to the airport with my husband. He wanted a pool for some time. He’s a contractor. This is a typical story of the cobbler’s wife has no shoes! I literally drew the pool on a piece of paper, and then we built it!”
Breaux’s alluring, multi-level back yard is among the various elements that render interest, with its different levels of landscapes that include box hedges and bamboo positioned behind a Buddha sculpture near the pool. The overall effect is exotic and soothing. An outdoor lounging bed near the pool serves as an enticement for relaxation.
“There were many things I wanted to accomplish,” Breaux states. “This includes creating a glass Italian tile wall with 24-karat gold tiles that shimmer in the sunlight behind the Buddha’s head. For me, there’s nothing better than going out there in the afternoon and taking a little nap by the pool. I can’t tell you how many naps my children have taken on that bed,” she exclaims. “I wanted there to be a sunning area, a resting area, and a peaceful area, so I integrated various elements that give a warm, rich feel but are still a little edgy.”
TOP: The multi-level backyard in this home includes box hedges, bamboo, and a Buddha sculpture, giving it an exotic, relaxing vibe. LEFT: When considering elements for the night time mood, professional landscape lighting can change the entire feel of a pool area. They can create drama by up-lighting the landscaping to acheive a ‘wow’ factor. RIGHT: The spacious brick setting surrounding the pool offers an area for friends and family to sit and relax under the stars after a pleasant evening swim. Photos by Melissa Oivanki
Thibodaux Family Haven
“On this project, there was nothing in the back yard, just grass and no fences,” says Richard Hymel, owner of Ferris Land Design and Ferris Engineering and Surveying, who designed the poolscape and outdoor living areas. “The homeowners, Bart and Wendy Broussard, wanted to have a pool house with a party room and a full kitchen, a full bath and a covered outdoor kitchen and living area, with a fireplace under the porch. They have two children and a large, extended family.”
“When setting up the pool house in the corner, it did two things,” Hymel says. “It established an edge to the yard, and it also blocked some views. The position of the spa, which can comfortably hold eight people, and the tanning shelf were designed so that you can look out from the pool toward the lake. A future phase will be the trellis between the existing house and pool house, to create a background.”
Hymel selected Brazilian quartzite and Old St. Louis brick to match the existing house. “The quartzite is a durable pool deck material that’s cool to your feet. It’s different from natural stones and it’s not slippery.” A large, six-inch-deep sunning shelf was created in the pool, with four ledges to accommodate the family of four.
“I believe a property owner gets more value in advice and material choices when the designer isn’t influenced by a builder or a contractor who may be influenced by sales or quotas, or cutting corners,” Hymel states. “The contractor is selling you a product, which is usually the ones that are most profitable... The most important element in the design process is listening to the clients and getting to know about their lifestyle.”
TOP: The homeowners have two children and a large extended family, so the pool is spacious and features an oversized 8-by-10 foot spa, which can comfortably hold eight people. LEFT: Hymel says that fire features are a fairly new trend. “We weren’t doing things like that 10 years ago.” He also notes that resort-style furniture – think lounge couches – are popular additions. RIGHT: Hymel selected Brazilian quartzite and Old St. Louis brick to match the existing house. Photos by Chad Cheneir
For Lafayette homeowners with a sprawling Italian-style mansion, Breaux created a more formal approach to the outdoor setting, with the objective of blending into the natural environment. “We wanted very clean lines with a negative edge pool,” she says. “We didn’t want to see a water line, and when you look at it, it resembles a pond. The only thing that would rise above that would be the hot tub, which almost looks as though it is floating on top of the pool.”
“Since the main structure is so dominant, we just wanted to tap into softening the space to create a calming feel,” Breaux reflects. “It was a challenge. But my vision was crisp and clear. The challenge with everything I do, overall, is seeing things in completion. I make everything that I see in my head come to life,” she reflects. “In this case, we did not want the pool area to compete with the house, with its ominous cast stone details, but rather, we wanted to create something that became a seamless part of the landscape.”
TOP: A negative edge pool creates the illusion of a seamless waterline surrounding the Italian-style formal gardens. Photos by Chipper Hatter