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The life aquatic: cool pools in New Orleans 

4 pools that say 'wow'

click to enlarge The T-shaped pool offers a sweeping view of Bayou St. John, while the surrounding deck allows for plenty of seating and sunbathing. A highlight of the pool is the aquatic bar. - PHOTO BY GREG MILES PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Photo by Greg Miles Photography
  • The T-shaped pool offers a sweeping view of Bayou St. John, while the surrounding deck allows for plenty of seating and sunbathing. A highlight of the pool is the aquatic bar.

Scenic waterways

Despite busy careers, Jimmie Woods Sr. and Regina Bartholomew Woods will find precious spare time this summer to relax in their spacious T-shaped pool overlooking picturesque Bayou St. John.

 Regina is a judge for the Louisiana Fourth Circuit Court of Appeal, and her husband Jimmie is vice president of Metro Service Group. They have lived in their Bayou St. John home for a year.

 Their pool provided respite from the heat for decades before the couple moved into the home. It was designed in 1963 and completed in 1965. Last year, Charles Elfert of Pleasure Aquatech Pools updated the pool and its amenities. Now the aquatic space features a bar that seats seven, a fountain, a hot tub, four waterfall jets and a heating system.

 Regina says the pool will be a popular spot for their guests this summer.

 "It's a place where my family and I gather often to swim and socialize," she says. "We love hanging out at the pool. We love to invite our friends over, especially during the hot summer months."

click to enlarge The pool and spa area are easily accessible from the family room and the master bedroom. - PHOTO BY GREG MILES PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Photo by Greg Miles Photography
  • The pool and spa area are easily accessible from the family room and the master bedroom.

Uptown elegance

Tucked into the side of a picturesque backyard, this pool and spa area has delighted the homeowners as their daughter came of age. The home was purchased in 2003, and is mere steps from iconic St. Charles Avenue. The homeowners immediately commenced an extensive renovation that took four years to complete. While reimagining the residence, they enlisted the help of landscape architect Rene Fransen to complete their customized pool and spa area, while architect John Chrestia took care of the main home's updates as well as those of the two-bedroom pool house. Chrestia also designed an outdoor kitchen that features a seating area under a covered pavilion with a ceiling fan.

 The design of the pool area corresponds to the Georgian-inspired architecture of the home, Fransen explains.

 While tackling the project, Fransen designed four outdoor "rooms": a lawn and terrace area, a space with a fountain adjacent to the master bedroom, a rose garden and the pool and spa area. Seating near the pool offers a view of the garden.

 Fransen put great thought into the pool's design, which was built by Reid Richardson of Gulf South Pools, and kept the homeowners' growing daughter in mind. Fransen says she was quite young when the home was purchased and used the pool almost daily, making safety features like a wading shelf essential to the pool's remodel. The wading shelf is now used more for relaxation than safety, because guests can bring lounge chairs into the pool and sunbathe in the water.

 "We wanted the spa at the house level for easy accessibility," Fransen says. The pool and spa are visible from the family room.

 The homeowners wanted to keep the foliage surrounding the spa area simple but elegant. They didn't want to plant deciduous trees that would shed leaves into the pool. Instead, Fransen chose planters filled with low-maintenance flowers, including an Anderson Crepe hibiscus, that give the area some pops of color. The homeowners also planted a citrus tree near the outdoor kitchen.

 Fransen made pool maintenance easy, too. "There is a caretaker system built into the pool," he says. It consists of a sprinkler system and a drain to make cleaning a breeze. There's also a leaf trap at the pool deck.

 Special features include fountain jets surrounding the pool area and white lights for evening swim sessions. All can be activated by a switch in the pool house. "The homeowners can also heat up the Jacuzzi and activate features from a phone app," Fransen says.

click to enlarge Chance Miller believes the pool is the highlight of this newly constructed home. The contemporary design complements the transitional, French Provincial-inspired style of the house. - PHOTO BY GREG MILES PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Photo by Greg Miles Photography
  • Chance Miller believes the pool is the highlight of this newly constructed home. The contemporary design complements the transitional, French Provincial-inspired style of the house.

A clean slate

Fourth-generation contractor Chance Miller of Miller Building Company Inc. recently revealed his latest project: a brand-new, five-bedroom Old Metairie home built in a French Provincial style, which currently is on the market.

 Miller is especially proud of the home's outdoor area, which was designed with social gatherings and relaxation in mind. During the design process, he focused on creating an aquatic space with "understated appeal."

 He enlisted the expertise of Brian Sublette of Daly-Sublette Landscape Architects to create the sleek swimming pool, as well as an outdoor kitchen.

 "I was looking for clean lines and a very contemporary feel to complement the transitional style of the home," Miller says. "Outdoor living is becoming more and more essential to the new construction demands of my clientele."

 He considers it a "cocktail pool" that enhances backyard gatherings with soothing fountain noises and water features. "It's specifically a point of architectural interest and serves as more of a gathering place to host guests or family members who are socializing in the rear yard," he says.

 The heated 15-by-34-foot pool promotes "social bonding with family and friends" and is "the cherry on top" of this new home, Miller says. Maximum depth is five and a half feet, so most guests can comfortably walk around in it. It's a saltwater pool, which, Miller notes, is easier on skin and bathing suit fabrics. It's also low-maintenance and "user-friendly."

 "There are fewer chemicals that need to be added to the water," Miller says. "The pool features a cartridge filter that is easy to maintain. You pull them out, hose them off and put them back in, and you're good to go."

 The pool also contains multicolored programmable LED lights. "You can do a light show or do all blue, or all red — there are crazy amounts of options on that," Miller says.

 The homes in this neighborhood are built close together, so Miller created a "living screen" out of sustainable, 18-foot-tall nonclumping bamboo plants for privacy.

 Surrounding the swimming pool is a spacious deck for socializing, and the state-of-the-art outdoor kitchen features a grill, ice maker, refrigerator, sink and garbage disposal, along with stucco cabinets and granite countertops. These elements combine to maximize the home's outdoor living experience.

click to enlarge Landscape architect Rene Fransen designed the space so the homeowners and their guests can sun themselves in the pool or take a relaxing break in the shade. - PHOTO BY GREG MILES PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Photo by Greg Miles Photography
  • Landscape architect Rene Fransen designed the space so the homeowners and their guests can sun themselves in the pool or take a relaxing break in the shade.

Relaxation is par for the course

Rene Fransen designed this saltwater pool with an infinity edge in English Turn in 2007 as part of a two-story addition to the main house. The homeowners have lived there since 1985, and frequently are visited by their grandchildren, who live next door.

 A unique feature of the pool deck is the tri-colored blend of flagstone.

 "We rarely do that," Fransen says. It's "60 percent blue and 20 percent New York red and 20 percent Pennsylvania Green, which is unusual, but the homeowners felt that it matched the home," which features traditional Acadian-style design.

 The shelves in the pool are used for tanning as well as socializing and provide safety for the homeowners' grandchildren. Fransen notes that the pool is spacious enough to swim laps.

 "The infinity edge overlooks the lagoon of the English Turn Golf and Country Club, so you get a great view of that," Fransen says.

 In keeping with the Southern aesthetic of the home, Fransen and his team planted cypress trees along the lagoon area. Fransen also included four raised planters with 80-year-old Camellia sasanquas in the deck design.

 Fransen designed a fence to separate the pool area from the nearby golf course. The high brick wall provides privacy and complements the overall aesthetic of the outdoor space.


click image Cover model's hair and makeup by Aimee Carr for Voodoo Makeup

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