Making Quite the Splash
The Adlers’ courtyard pool reflects the family’s lifestyle
Do you want a pool? When Marissa and Tommy Adler began looking for a new home a few years ago, this was the key question. Yes, the Adler family wanted a pool. No, they were not willing to build one.
Then, they discovered a unique Scandinavian-style home located in Hidden Lake neighborhood in Moore. The Adlers were drawn to the towering, cathedral-like pine ceilings, the beautiful wood-framed windows, the charming pond in the backyard and the U-shaped layout with the living room, dining room and breezeway overlooking an expansive courtyard. The home was perfect for a pool – a pool that it didn’t have.
“I think we both could see what it could be,” Marissa Adler says. “This home had been for sale quite a while. The courtyard had two fountains and was overgrown. We were like, ‘Ah, this has got so much potential!’ It’s kind of like the best room in the house.”
The previous owner was Swedish, and she incorporated several elements that reflected her background into the construction.
“The scale of the house is not something you typically see in Oklahoma; it has a lot of volume,” Adler says. “Where we would typically put another floor on top, you just have all these exposed beams and woodwork. It has two kakelugn, which are Swedish stoves, and they brought a Swedish tile setter over to tile them. Everything is built from a European standpoint, which is awesome – and also pretty challenging, because nobody knows how to work on it.”
Marissa and Tommy Adler purchased the home in 2019, and so began their adventure of renovating an atypical home. Even though it was not their original plan, they actually enjoyed the pool building process. The courtyard is located on the front of the house, which greatly influenced design direction. Together they devised how the 2,500-square-foot outdoor space would look and function for their family.
“We wanted it to be a fun family and entertaining space for the kids – with a pool – but we wanted it to be beautiful because you see it all day, every day,” Adler says.
Marissa is an interior designer, and worked with Innovation Pools to make their vision come to life. The pool’s raised edge and water features mimic a fountain. A sunken hot tub in the corner blends in seamlessly with the pool’s quatrefoil-inspired shape.
“We started with materials – what do we want to see day in and day out, year-round?” she says. A friend advised her to view pool tiles wet when selecting materials. Adler chose a dark tile, turning the water into a reflecting pool.
Michael Pullen Design installed the landscaping, hardscaping and lighting. Lit pathways and outdoor speakers set up the courtyard for entertaining into the evening. The Adlers selected turf instead of grass, adding more beauty to the highly visible area.
After the courtyard was completed, the Adlers installed a wooden gate they designed, with a small quatrefoil shape cut into the door. The shape not only models the curves of the pool, but also holds significance to the family.
“The quatrefoil is a sign of life for our family,” Adler says. “My husband gave me a necklace with that shape when we were dating. It was green – kind of a sign of life, new seasons and new things. We’ve always gravitated to it when we see it somewhere.”
The courtyard’s design also influenced interior design throughout the home. The breezeway was reconfigured to become a cabana. Big picture windows and sliding glass doors open onto the pool, providing easy access to the new wet bar, fridge and ice machine inside.
“I did a mosaic marble tile in there because I wanted it to feel fresh, but not new. I didn’t want it to be trendy,” Adler says. The wrought iron furniture outside complements the iron light fixtures in the cabana. Other design elements throughout the home were selected for inside-outside compatibility.
“Because the living room is all glass, all around, you want it all to have the same personality,” Adler says.
The Adlers completed renovations in 2020, and the courtyard has become a favorite place to play. Their daughters have been known to turn the raised pool ledge into an impromptu stage, where they can sing and dance, and their dad loves to cook up a pan of paella as they entertain. This summer, as things open up after the year-long pandemic, they are eager to share their home with more family and friends.
“We’re dreaming about big gatherings with food and conversation and different ages and generations getting together,” Adler says.
The pool that didn’t exist has now become the gem of the Adler home.
Planning a Pool?
Innovation Pools owner David Perez outlines a few factors to consider:
Property – Existing trees with deep roots, the slope of your land or existing easements (which provide access to water, gas and power) may dictate the location, size and shape of your pool. Building plans may also require a retaining wall, depending on the layout of your property. Another thing to know about is the water table for your area, which will affect pool construction.
Materials – A designer and builder can help you select tile, caulking and other materials to best suit your home. For inground pools, Perez recommends installing a concrete pool over a vinyl liner pool because of Oklahoma’s weather and soil conditions.
Functionality – Your preferred pool activities will help you determine how wide and deep to build. Will the pool be used for diving, sports or exercise? In addition, consider the pool setting – what else you may want in order to foster the best outdoor experience. Will you need to designate areas around the pool for lounge furniture? Do your plans include landscaping or adding a fire pit, fireplace, kitchen, bar or cabana?
Budget – The more perimeter and square footage, the higher the cost. Depending on the pool setting you envision, you may need to budget for water features, lighting and outdoor speakers.
Views – Pool placement is important. Think about the views both from your pool and from your home. You may want a higher fence for privacy. You may want the pool tucked away, or in plain sight to watch children.
Team – Experience matters. Ask for a portfolio, and read customer reviews. A longstanding pool company will factor “what-if” situations into the process and cost. (For example, Oklahoma soil varies from city to city, and Edmond has lots of bedrock. An experienced company will know how to navigate that during construction.) Most importantly, your pool company, designer and builder must collaborate and communicate well throughout the project. Make sure you have a solid team working with you from the get-go.