Exterior Architecture / Contemporary Stone & Tile Design Magazine

An outdoor retreat in stone

June 26, 2012

With a private estate in Beverly Hills, CA, that already had exceptionally beautiful interiors, the homeowners took special time and care in planning for the exterior design of their home, which was set to include a pool, cabana, barbecue and an outdoor dining area. The strategy was to modify the existing pool area and also to create a grassy area for their children. The overall design was a collaboration between landscape architect Dan Weedon of DW/LA Landscape Architects and Christopher Grubb, President of Arch-Interiors design group, inc., who was responsible for a material selection process that included abundant use of stone. 

“We were hired after working with the client for many, many years on a variety of projects,” explained Grubb. “[They] wanted our participation in selecting all flooring stone, decorative tiles in the pool and spa as well as detail the barbecue and all decorative items.”

Natural stone was used in several applications throughout the almost 4,300-square-foot outdoor space. For the patio flooring, the cabana and the pool deck, Versailles Hazelnut limestone pavers in 2- x 2-foot squares were employed. In addition to providing a classic look of elegance, the material was appropriate for a wet area, according to Grubb. Alternatively, the keys in the pavers are 4-inch squares of “Etched Decos,” which were used to maintain a residential feeling in the outdoor area.

The pool liner features Versailles Hazelnut limestone with a half round edge, while the pool floor features a series of diamond designs that were done in 4-inch Jade marble mosaic pieces. The Jade marble was chosen for its “wave look,” and the limestone worked perfectly with the rest of the pool area, according to the designer. Jade marble mosaics were also used to clad a fountain at the base of the Jacuzzi.

This material combination continues at the barbecue area, which features limestone floors with tumbled Jade marble mosaics facing the countertop/bar area. The mosaics were set in a herringbone pattern and accented with limestone trim. This provided the barbecue with visual interest in color and texture, while also carrying the Jade Green color from the pool mosaic.

Further contributing to the elegant feel of the space, the barbecue is topped with Costa Esmeralda granite. “We selected this material for the beauty of the product and the motion of the material,” explained Grubb. “The color worked well with the Jade Green in the pool mosaic. We did a very dramatic 3-inch bullnose on the edge because of the scale, and it brought more surface to the front of the barbecue to complement the Jade Green herringbone mosaic.”

Originally, Grubb was in favor of materials with more of a blue coloration, but after the client chose the mosaic liner for the pool, the design team switched into a scheme of green.

“This was a passion project for the client and the synergy with them was amazing,” said Grubb, adding that the success of the project can directly be attributed to finding stones that were elegant and unexpected. For inspiration, there were many visits to several showrooms and stone yards. Materials were also brought in as samples in full sizes to ensure that the actual material would work within the project as a whole.

One of the biggest challenges encountered during the project concerned the mosaics. Due to the liner and its pattern, getting the corner transitions “just right” proved to be difficult and quite time consuming. Also, ensuring that the material for the barbecue and the water feature were consistent was a challenge because they both had to be set on a radius. With the help of the project’s installer, they were able to come up with successful installation solutions.

After over a year of construction, the outdoor living space was finally completed. “It is a project we are truly proud of,” said Grubb. “The client loves the space — which is the best compliment and a reminder of why I love what I do.”  

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