Sunday, February 5, 2012

Redesigning My Florida Pool

I'm a big fat liar!!!!
You just can't trust me!!!!
I replied to some readers asking to see more pictures of a yellow kitchen I did in Vermont, that I would be blogging about that soon.
 Today I want to start sharing with the class some of my exploits in renovating my home in Florida.

I love my house, I love my house, I love my house.
But it was really ugly when I bought it. 
The floor plan was GREAT!!
But the cosmetic aspects were UUUGGGHHH!!
So, I did what I always do and threw a whole bunch of money at it, hoping it would get better.

House prices in Florida are so much more affordable than Massachusetts, that I couldn't go as batshit as I did up there. Soooooo, I was somewhat careful in my plan of attack.
I will start with a picture of what it looks like today, because As everybody knows, in blogging the first picture is what gets posted on other sites.

(In case you keep wondering why I have lately been writing "as everybody knows", I am copying Phaedra Parks, from the Real Housewives of Atlanta. I am addicted, addicted, addicted I tell ya. I am a slave to all the Real Housewives shows. EVERY LAST ONE OF THEM!!!!! OY!)

Where was I.....
I keep going off on tangents......
OH, here's a picture of my pool!!!!

Now let me show you what it looked like when I bought this house.

Actually, this is NOT what it looked like. This is after I did some landscaping. But I wanted to show you the same angle as the picture above. 
OK, THIS is what it looked like.

Nice and sterile and BARE!!!!!
That's a raised spa with a waterfall.
There are a several problems with this design.
  1.  The sound of water running, makes me need to pee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  2. Since the spa runs into the pool, it didn't really get hot enough.
  3. It was too big for the space, making the patio feel too small.
  4. IT WAS REALLY, REALLY UGLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!
One night I was sitting by my pool.....
luxuriating in the reality that I was sitting by my pool!
Enjoying a cocktail. (Boy I wished I still liked to drink, I don't anymore, what the hell is the matter with me????)
Anywho, I was sitting by the pool, looking with pure hatred at the raised spa, when I thought to myself...
"Self, I wonder if I can have it made into a planter????"
Next day I got on the horn (that means telephone), and started calling pool companies. 

I found out that not only could they change it into a planter, but, they could cut the damn thing down to the level of the patio!!!!!
I went to the paver company and found a brick I liked, only it had chamfered edges (edges cut at a bevel). Well, Everybody knows that that ain't such a classy look. So I had the installers flip them over to the flat side, for a more traditional brick paver look.

This replaced the white concrete that the previous owners had put in CUSTOM!!

I REALLY didn't like the blue tiles that ran around the top of the pool, so I put on my investigative hat, and started trolling the Internet. 
I found a company that sold tiles that looked like Mexican tiles. It's hard to find an attractive tile for a pool, because of the extreme conditions to which the tiles are subjected. BUT I FOUND A SOLUTION. I was going to share my resource with you, but they seem to be out of business. In case you can find them, their name is:
Steuben Tile
But they may be just another victim of the Great Recession.

What a bummer.

Before I did all this, I had changed the landscaping alongside the screen house. 
I am totally telling this story backwards.
OK, let me start at the beginning.....
The reason I fell in love with the floor plan of my house, is because it forms a U that wraps around the patio that holds the pool. All the rooms, other than the den, open out onto the pool terrace.
Of course, with all the rooms looking out, having a really ugly space wasn't so great. In Florida, a lot of houses have screen rooms attached, so doors and windows can stay open to the outside. It's like a screen porch, only it has a screen roof too.
the pool and terrace feel like another room, not so much a side yard. WAY COOL!!!
This makes it even more important to create a pretty space (according to MOI)
(Great, now I sound like Miss Piggy!)
Back to the landscaping......
In my development, we have something called
 "Zero Lot Lines".
This means that the houses are crammed right on top of each other, with my property line ending at my next door neighbors outside wall. To keep us from killing each other, allowing for privacy, there are no windows facing my house. Soooooo, although they are right next to me, I have complete privacy. The wall of my next door neighbors house forms the fourth wall of my outdoor room. I wanted to cover this with lush vegetation. 
So I did.

 First, I had them rip out the bushes.

Then they started bringing in the fishtail palms.

By now, I was jumping up and down, I was soooo excited.
 This is how it looked after they were planted with areca palms set in between the fishtails.

My friends told me that in just a few years, the fishtail palms would be up to the roof of the two story house next door, but being a northerner, I couldn't fathom plants growing that fast. HA!!!
Look at them now!

This is eight years later. I LOVE THEM!!!
I am going to stop here, as this is taking all day to write, and if I don't finish, I will never post it, and you will never get to read it.
(I will continue this next week, as I have a LOT to share!)

Tuesday is the day I answer the questions!!!!
See ya Tuesday.


Linking to:  


Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

I just wish I had a pool to swim laps in. We had one at our other house, but we have granite running less than three feet down in our back yard so no pool here. Love the spa being turned into a planter.

Vicki V @ said...

Oh, how I wish I were by the pool in Florida right now, sipping a cocktail! Beautiful!

NanaDiana said...

Hey Betsy, When we lived in FL we had an L shaped house that was built by Rutenberg and all opened up into the pool area. The glass doors all slid right back into the walls so it was like open air living. Loved it. Back then we had the BLUE POOL with Chatahoochee decking around it. Remember that stuff? Anyway, to give ourselves some privacy we went all around the perimeter of the screen cage with that bamboo matting comes in rolls and we put it up sideways. That was so rich looking and we loved it. We planted one corner full that had a separate sunken area, too.

Love what you did here. Where are you in FL? We were in Palm Beach Gardens with that house. I miss Florida! xo Diana

Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

The changes that you made to the pool really made a difference. Love the lush tropical feel created by the plants.


Connie said...

Not only do you have a lush tropical look, you have a private oasis of green which looks cool and soothing.
Brillant idea!

Amy Chalmers said...

Well those trees sure did grow fast! The pool area is so much nicer with all the palms around it. YOu have lots to share and I am soaking it up.

Shirley@Housepitality Designs said...

Your pool area looks 100% better!...So miss the lush palms and the way things grow so quickly in South Florida...I always have a small palm tree in the house to remind me of the Sunshine State, especially when we are experiencing cold weather now...:( I always knew when my hubby finished cutting the lawn..when I heard the big splash in the pool!!..Enjoy the great weather by the pool!

Katie @ Wildwood Creek said...

You've created a beautiful, tropical paradise--love it!

2LittleFishies said...

HAAAA!!! As I sit here with 15 yellow swatches in front of me, I was just thinking, "I hope Betsy discusses that YELLOW KITCHEN soon!" Soooo, when I read your first few lines I did have to smile although I was thinking, "Ughhh!!"

Anyway, your pool area is quite BEAUTIFUL! And what a transformation : )
I'll be waiting....

Deserae said...

Your pool area is gorgeous! I would never want to leave such a fabulous area...ever! I am also your newest follower on glad I found your blog :o)

Mary said...

I love the transoformation from plan and boxy to lush and inviting. Just became a follwer via email. I love your writing style and sense of humor. Mary

SheilaG @ Plum Doodles said...

Your pool area looks gorgeous. I've never liked to sit in bathtubs/hot tubs with other people, so I'm all for turning it into a planter.

Anonymous said...

Love the pool ! This is NOT the Bad Ass Cottage anymore I am guessing ?

Kim said...

Really stinks that I've been missing out on this blog for so long. I'm gonna have to go back and take a look around some more. Might need a bigger cup of coffee though. Love it!!

Robin said...

Those plants make the pool look like a beautiful tropical retreat. I have been in FL a year and a half and I have now witnessed how quickly things grow! My husband thinks if you put a planter inside your lanai in you will get bugs. Is he right? Thanks for the pool post since I am always looking for ideas for mine.

Kathleen said...

Hey Bets - I live in Houston and the climate is very similar to South Florida. Thank you for the great ideas, which I will shamelessly steal. "As everyone knows", you're the oracle for interior and landscaping design. Love your blog, love your design sensibility, love your rapier wit!

Heaven's Walk said...

Ok....I'm really trying not to be jealous over here, Betsy. Your pool looks absolutely amazing - and so cozy! LUV what you did! Now I want to move to Florida..... :)

xoxo laurie

Alison @ The Polohouse said...

It looks so great Betsey!
We should have bought a small Florida house years ago
when I think of all the rental dollars we have spent through the
years! Your pool area is stunning.
Can't wait to see your next post on it!

Breck Mom said...

I just found your blog and am in heaven! Great Color and Pattern is one of my all time favorite design books and I refer to it often. I HAD to track back and read all of your old posts, so now I will be blaming you when I have trouble getting out of bed tomorrow morning! I have a question about some of the photos you have posted. I use Pinterest to keep track of all of my favorite inspirations but I don't want to pin anything of yours without permission. The pins would credit you and lead back to your blog. Is this something that you would be ok with? (Pinterest is from the devil and will suck you down a rabbit hole that there is no escaping from. I dearly love it!)

Tina said...

Love the pool area. Oh how I wish we had one. (sigh)
Love your blog!

Following you on Linky follower gadget would love for you to follow me back.

Have a great week.

very merry vintage style said...

Florida weather sounds fabulous about now to me! Great transformations--Thanks for linking up to Share the Love Wednesday!

SLR said...

love the changes you made to your pool...especially the tile! i think the palm tree is my favorite tree, and yours by the pool are awesome...a tropical paradise of which i could use some of right now! damn chicago winters.

Donna D said...

Heavenly! Can't wait to see more posts from Florida!

Honey at 2805 said...

Great tranformation and the landscaping is beautiful and lush. Thank you for sharing at Potpourri Friday!

Fran Sarmousakis said...

WOW, can't believe the difference in that bland house that you bought with all those "features" that you have turned into an inviting, cozy space for yourself and guests. Love everything that you did and enjoy all the commentary. I hope you don't start charging for all this free advice. Fran

Linda @ it all started with paint said...

I'm dreaming of a beautiful pool surrounded by palm trees now ... instead of our blow up kiddie pool surrounded by out of control weed trees.



A girl (okay, I'm way beyond being called a 'girl') can always dream ...



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