Gardens

Expert tips for designing a pool that’s both unique and functional

Interior designer Rhian Clarke explains the thought process behind her stunning home pool while offering her advice for those after a swimming pool revamp

Interior designer Rhian Clarke talks us through designing a pool that feels unique yet functional

As the summer of 2020 fast approaches, it seems more and more likely that our trips to far-flung destinations boasting crystal blue waters are out of the questions. In fact, a pool day in fancy hotel seems pretty unlikely, too.

Although this is all for the greater good, we’re still going to be missing beautiful swimming pools that are worthy of a Instagram post or two.

Well, if you’ve settled on created at at-home alternative, then heed the advice of Rhian Clarke – a Dubai-based interior designer and stylist – when it comes to designing a pool that wows.

Interior stylist Rhian Clarke on designing a wow-factor pool

Rhian Clarke
Rhian Clarke shows us her own pool as she gives or her top advice

Decide on the pool’s main function

The starting point needs to be deciding how you want to use the pool. Consider how you live, how you want to live, how you entertain and how you want to entertain.

I wanted to create a multi-functional space so I chose an off-rectangular shape to accommodate its different functions. You can swim laps in it and there is also a sunbathing ledge in the shallow end, plus a wet bar located in the section just off the lap area. The wet bar is close to the dry bar and both are situated under the half-covered part of the L-shaped gazebo, which offers some shade while also providing a view of the sky.

I’ve discovered that generally men prefer to sit in the pool to enjoy a drink, while the women mostly enjoy sitting in the bar area outside the pool when they’re beautifully dressed and made up.

Defy trends for long-term love

There has been a big trend towards white tiled swimming pools. I wanted to do something different so spoke to the contractor about creating a black tiled swimming pool – it’s a really dramatic tone. I adore a monochrome palette and I’m strongly drawn to anything with a geometric pattern.

The black swimming pool became the focal point for the garden and the design of the rest of the outdoor space, with its different zones, plus its monochrome and geometric touches came together afterwards.

Imagine the view

When I was working on the home’s interior, we swapped the patio doors for large arched windows, with the idea that the view beyond needed to be quite special and the windows would act as frames. I would sit on the sofa and imagine what I wanted to look at.

An infinity-edged pool usually flows away towards the back of the garden over a back wall but I opted for water flowing towards me, so I could see and hear it. 

Check the direction of your house

We almost bought the property opposite. It was a carbon copy of this villa, including being unmodified (which I was looking for), and it was on offer for the same price. However, we chose this property because it has a north-facing garden. This means that the sun falls on the front of the house in the afternoons so when the children come home from school they can swim in the pool – it’s warm but they won’t suffer from sunburn, whereas we would have had a different situation if we’d bought the other house.

Fancy your own infinity pool? Here’s how to transform your home offering into a hotel-style pool.

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