Today, no home in South Louisiana seems complete without a pool. Whereas sitting outside on the porch, fanning oneself may still work, nothing beats the refreshing feel of cold water on a hot summer day. These three pools prove one doesn’t have to break a sweat to be cool.
by S.I. STRACHAN
When entering the Old Metairie neighborhood in which Drs. Greg and Ann Tilton live, one is struck by the area’s serenity—even though it seems like there’s new construction happening on every street. However, when one steps into the Tiltons’ backyard, the hustle and bustle of the street fades away. This feeling was accomplished through a collaboration between the homeowners and landscape architect Erik Ernst of Riverland Landscape Design and Services. When the Tiltons moved in, the backyard was strictly a landscaped lawn. In the area’s redesign, Ernst had to keep in mind that the Tiltons liked to entertain, as well as swim laps. The pool, with its long lines perfect for doing said laps, is gunite with a black plaster “lagoon-style” finish, which fades to a nice charcoal over the years says Ernst. “I prefer black over a charcoal finish because you just can’t get the right charcoal hue,” he says. And in the right light, the pool can take on a dark blue tint, making it seem more natural—lagoon like. The water spouts, as well as the central water feature, break up the pool’s long line, and there are steps into it, which also act as seating. There’s a bench by the central water feature as well. The neutral flagstone terrace complements the pool’s placid feel, making it the perfect spot to unwind or as a backdrop for a party.
A Tuscan Treasure
One could call the pool and patio area adjacent to Harold and Faye Eymard’s townhouse a getaway inside a hideaway. Located in the Residence of Park Avenue in Harvey (a development the Eymards’ own), the home is tucked away on a 75-foot-by-120-foot lot. Like many homes in the New Orleans area, that’s not a lot of room to work with. But with Harold’s experienced eye—“He’s so creative,” says Faye—along with some talented vendors, this space was transformed.
“We had gone to a home and garden show in Las Vegas and saw what the trends were. We got ideas from the show, as well as found a photo of something we liked in a magazine,” says Faye. The Eymards contacted Peter Dufrene who worked with Harold—taking it from the idea and photo, then modifying to fit the Eymards’ needs. “Harold had a vision of where things should go,” says Faye.
The result? An area reminiscent of a courtyard found in an Italian villa. And that’s just what the Eymards wanted.
The patio is essentially its own outdoor room, with entrances through French doors from the grand room, the kitchen and master bedroom. An outdoor fireplace made by Christian Construction and faux-painted by Sylvia Wyche creates warmth both physically and visually. The patio’s travertine floor, from Perque Carpet and Draperies, adds to the serene feel.
Specialty Pools built the gunite pool and attached spa. The pool is raised a level higher than the spa, so water can flow into it. Five “sheer descents,” instead of one waterfall, as was originally planned, create a cohesive water feature at the back of the pool. Other special features include the salt-system, which is used instead of chlorine, the remote-control that turns the heat on or off, as well as the jets in the pool and spa. Specialty Pools’ Merlin DeCorte, a landscape architect, says one of the area’s most original features is the cabana, which instead of being separate from the pool actually extends into it.
The finishing touch was the landscaping by Rhonda DeFelice of Patio Gardens and Landscaping, who filled containers and window boxes with flowers and greenery, as well as created a tropical feel in the garden spaces.
by SUZY KESSENICH
On the bluffs of the Bogue Falaya River, north of Covington, is the home of Michelle and Lee Thomas. About five years ago, the Thomases wanted to build a pool and pavilion. With their home located close to the bank of the river, the pool and pavilion were placed in the front yard. “The pool responds to the Thomas’ needs for an extension of the architecture of their home, as well as function within the property’s challenges. Therefore, the pool was placed in the front yard, creating an incredible ambience,” says Virginia Bessent, a designer at V2 Studio and who owns Via Matris Landscape.
V2 Studio, an architecture firm which also includes designer and partner Matt Voelkel, turned to Ronnie Allen of Aquarius Pools to build the pool. Tinted in a pale-grey, the pool is complemented by a large antique French footed urn-style fountain with annuals around the base and a wall of sasanqua trees. The tall square blocks at the pool’s corners creates a perfect spot for planting blooms in classic Roman clay urns.The pool decking of salt finish on concrete leaves air pockets, so it is cooler on bare feet.
The Louisiana West Indies-style pavilion is level with the pool. Columns form a curved semicircle and feature exposed rough cedar arbor beams that join the twin pitched roofs. The rooms are used for storage and changing. The pavilion has a sense of formality with Old World integral natural plaster with an aged gray finish. An outdoor brick fireplace allows the Thomases—which include sons Lee Jr. and Reece—to enjoy those cool Northshore evenings by the pool.
“Lee and I wanted to have a special place right on the property to enjoy the tranquility of living in the woods, by the river and the tall pines,” says Michelle Thomas. •