Bring De Stijl to Your Own House!

Did you know that your pool would turn into a pond if you don’t filter and treat it? I didn’t, but I discovered this after we bought the current house. There was a gap between the previous owner’s pool company and ours. The pool did, indeed, become a boggy brown pond. This and the falling down pool equipment shelter made for a fine afternoon in the sun. After we re-plastered, re-tiled, installed a new heater and filter, and connected the gas line I was still left with a dangerous looking equipment shelter. Many people freely gave me ideas for the shelter. Many of these ideas required vast amounts of money and multiple permits. Fortunately, I am a great fan of vintage Sunset Books. These are a treasure trove of good ideas.

I was tempted to build the wall myself. But I tend to injure myself almost every weekend with house projects. So I wisely left the construction to people who know how to do this. The wall is incredibly simple. I took the idea of the “neighbor-side” of the fence and reversed it. The support is exposed and creates the grid. The marine-grade plywood is attached on the backside. I selected a few colors, and was left with a Piet Mondrian, or Partridge Family equipment shelter. If the wall could talk, I’m sure it would say, “A whole lotta lovin' is what I'll be bringing. Come on get happy.”

Freestyle Swimming

I’m a pushover when it comes to biomorphic shapes. There’s something about a kidney shaped coffee table or a boomerang shaped desk that is miraculous to me. I have a swimming pool shaped like a rectangle with a bulge. If I could build a new pool, it would definitely be kidney shaped. Thomas Church’s design of the Donnell Garden, “El Novillero”, in Sonoma is a perfect example. He designed the garden and pool in 1948. This was right after the war, and the California economy was booming. As part of the idea of “California Living” Church created a space that merged indoor and outdoor, and created places to entertain, relax, and swim.

To be more analytical, the biomorphic forms incorporated forms from surrealism. Adaline Kent (1900-1957) created the sculpture in the center. She was a member of the group the West Coast Surrealists. The sculpture serves as a tiny island (for drinks I assume), and a focal point in the pool. The pool is remarkable, and spawned the thousands of kidney shaped pools across the country. Why they went out of style and people now prefer the fake rock and waterfall pools is beyond me.