They’re carved into rocks, they jut into oceans. They’re perched over cliffs, seemingly defying gravity.
Today’s swimming pools are wet, wild, and wondrous. Designers are going bold with new technologies and audacious ideas. Pools may function as extensions of one’s living spaces, but when builders sculpt backyard environments into dreamscapes, they carry homeowners off into the realm of fantasy.
“Setting matters,” says Tom Casey of Anthony & Sylvan Pools headquartered in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. The company builds pools throughout the U.S., from vanishing-edge models elevated over bays, lakes, and oceans, to splashy renditions sited high on hillsides to look out over spectacular city skylines. They’ve even engineered pools that flow through the interior living spaces of homes.
Design is important, but engineering is everything. When a pool is situated on the edge of a mountain, for instance, “there needs to be absolute assurance of its structural integrity, that the physical structure is exactly where it’s supposed to be and at exactly the elevation it needs to finish with,” Casey says. Newly developed automation and machinery make it easier to hit the mark. Fortunately for homeowners, 3D software allows them to visualize the final result in detail before a shovel is ever put into the ground.
A cantilevered pool on an estate on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands is a feat of engineering and a triumph of design. It is on a private, three-acre estate called Celestial House, so named because it sits like an observatory on a ridge above the popular vacation-villa area of West End with commanding views of the brilliant night skies.
“The pool is phenomenal,” says Maritha Keil of British Virgin Islands Sotheby’s International Realty. It is the centerpiece of a five-plus-bedroom tropical retreat. With a 60-foot curved horizon edge, the water seemingly cascades into the Caribbean Sea below. Beaches, a national park, distant islands, and even the occasional rainbow make up a breathtaking panorama.
Of course, the more complex the project and less accessible the site, the higher the cost. “You can accelerate through six figures very quickly, and passing half a million dollars is not difficult,” Casey says. On the other hand, Keil estimates pools like the one at Celestial House “probably add over a million dollars” to the value of a property. The pool is what elevates a vacation home into a slice of paradise “you don’t ever want to leave,” she says.
This modern alpine home is a true masterpiece and offers unparalleled amenities, with the jaw-dropping canvas of Vail Mountain as its backdrop. The outdoor living space comes equipped with a full-sized custom saltwater pool, an adjacent hot tub, a full-sized dining area and grilling station, a fire pit, and a covered lounge area with a fireplace and television. Situated along Gore Creek, this home takes advantage of the natural beauty the Rocky Mountains have to offer and sets a new bar for luxury.
Long Bay, British Virgin Islands
With classically designed interiors radiating refined luxury and a majestic location on Tortola’s northern shore, Celestial House is without a doubt one of the most desirable properties in the British Virgin Islands. This property attests to its name in its elevated position above one of the island’s most renowned beaches. Palm trees decorate the vast complex of the property with a wide variety of tropical and floral displays all year round. The property features a dramatic wraparound veranda and curved 82-foot heated infinity-edge pool and hot tub.
Victoria, B.C., Canada
Embedded in the rocky hillside, this concrete and steel collaboration is a spectacular testament to the dramatic backdrop of the Olympic Mountains and Straits of Juan de Fuca.
Walls of glass retract to enable the natural flow effortlessly from indoors to outdoors, where an infinity pool appears to flow over the hillside, and a massive koi pond forms a moat round the natural rock landscape.
Key Largo, Florida
This spectacular new-construction Mediterranean estate blends elegance with serenity to create the ultimate waterfront home.
With its award-winning design and expansive ocean views, this home is a premier residence of the private Ocean Reef Club. The glass-encased infinity pool and 16-foot cascading waterfall connect the indoor and outdoor living areas to provide the perfect tranquil living space.
In the heart of California’s Napa Valley, this glorious wine-country estate compound encompasses a contemporary residence, a welcoming guesthouse, a three-bay car barn, and numerous alluring outdoor spaces. Nestled amid approximately three acres of lush lawn, mature trees, and colorful gardens, the heated swimming pool and spa enjoy breathtaking vistas of the surrounding vineyards, mountains, and sunsets.