When there’s a pool on someone’s property, it often becomes the center of attention a place for gatherings and wiling away languid summer days.
The spirit of summer is alive in each of the below swimming spots photographed for Curbed’s weekly original home tours series, House Calls. Where some complement midcentury modern dwellings, others nestle up to ranch houses or border rolling vineyards. Dip a toe into a few of our favorites.
Picture-perfect views, a landscape studded with dramatic boulders and trees, and a parcel that includes acres of grapevines drew Jeff and Tray Schlarb to Sonoma County when they sought for a retreat for their family. The home was nothing special in the beginning, but within a year, they brought it back to life with an eye toward the contemporary. The interiors are just part of the story, though: an outdoor living and dining space is complemented by a nearby bocce court and a remodeled and re-landscaped pool.
In Jay Jeffers and Michael Purdy’s Napa Valley house, the heart of the home is the pool. So much so, that they took to calling the retreat the Pool House, and have oriented everything around the water, whether that was the landscaping or the floorplan. Between two bedroom suites sits an open-plan living, cooking, and entertaining space. It was all designed with durability in mind, so that the space can handle wet feet and lots of movement.
Fire Island attracts a certain type of beachgoer, drawn by the elemental nature of the island, the privacy it offers, and its architecture. It was these characteristics that led Britt-Louise Gilder and her family to purchase and renovate a home in a secluded area of the island, where it feels more like a community than a destination. With views out to the dunes and ocean, the renovated home wound up “looking like a collection of shacks, all jammed together,” with an expansive deck and pool to boot.
Palm Springs is known for its treasure trove of midcentury modern homes, but David Kearney and Chip Graves weren’t originally drawn to the desert city by dwellings—for them, the draw was the area’s warm weather and stunning landscapes. The couple ended up in a brand-new home designed in the spirit of midcentury modern architecture and that also incorporated eco-friendly features like solar energy, water-saving systems and appliances, and low-VOC paint. One of the couple’s favorite spots is their patio, which is adjacent to a redesigned pool and spa. There, they can sit by a fire pit at night and marvel at the stars.
Architects Paul Rice and Ward Welch “might own the smallest home in the Hamptons,” but their 520-square-foot former fishing shack in Amagansett is as charming as can be. Its easy, breezy, warm-toned interiors are complemented by a lush, envy-inducing garden and tiered pool plus hot tub.
In Sacramento, you can live outside all year round. So when homeowners Todd Gage and Rick Welts decided to give their midcentury modern home a facelift—inside and out—they turned to building designer John Packowski. The original, but somewhat tired, MCM was house updated to give it what the owners describe as a classic midcentury dwelling-meets-ranch house vibe. With a reorientation of the rooms, and some new sliding doors at the rear, the new pool and outdoor dining area flow into the interior.
When collector and art advocate Merry Norris, a longtime fixture of LA’s art scene, began looking for a home back in 1984, she thought she’d end up in the Hollywood Hills. It was a surprise, then, when she found the one she wanted nestled in pine grove high above the Sunset Strip. And that’s where she—and her remarkable collection of art—have been since. The home serves as a bright, blank canvas for layers of artwork collected over the years, as well as a calming place where the air gently wafts in and out, and sandstone tile cascades gently down to a patio and glistening pool.
A good view and a grand pool are what originally attracted Adam Singer to his house in the Hollywood hills, and together they’ve become the home’s center.. While the rest of the bachelor pad is just as striking—the statement kitchen, the vibrant banquette and dining table, the bold colors of each bedroom—it’s the terrace that holds the spotlight. Los Angeles is all about house and pool parties, as the home’s interior designer, Caitlin Murray, would say.
While Cate and Paul Hoff’s home in Denver, Colorado, might not seem like a classic ranch house, it takes cues from the style. Driven by a desire to be close to the land, the Hoffs worked with local firm Arch11 to design a more contemporary take on the typically low-slung form by piling the second story on top and rotating it to create an L-shaped form that frames the backyard. An overhang creates a sheltered patio, sliding doors allow easy access between indoors and out, and a green lawn leads to the family’s much-loved pool.
In 1998, when New Orleans gallerist Arthur Roger’s real estate agent suggested he look at a place slightly above his price range, he couldn’t believe it was the octagonal house that had enchanted him as a wide-eyed teenager. The home was one of four on a compound (which Roger, over time, purchased all of ). Over the next 19 years Roger would remodel all four buildings and the compound’s courtyard and pool, bringing them closer to their classic look.
When Gina O’Hara and her husband Bill decided to build a home in the River Crossing Equestrian Community in Bastrop County, outside of Austin, Texas, O’Hara drew on her memories from youth of a ranch house in rural southern Texas her family stayed in for a reunion. Designed by architect Hugh Jefferson Randolph, thetheir home is made up of classic ranch buildings joined by a breezeway, with deep porches looking onto a T-shaped pool.