Palm Springs Saltwater Pool
To offer a respite from the desert heat, Caroline Lee added a saltwater pool to her dreamy Palm Springs retreat. Parquet-inspired tile stripes peek above the waterline, subtly nodding to nautical style.
First, can you each tell me a bit about yourselves?
Caroline: I'm a bit of a try everything kind of person, I'd say... I'm a photographer, producer, podcaster... I love how trying new things teaches me new lessons. So, being a homeowner in the desert was a 'natural' next step.
Anne: I've loved design since I was a kid and my mom let me pick out striped Laura Ashley wallpaper for my bedroom. Now, I manage a lifestyle blog that I started 11 years ago, as well as all the related social platforms, and also do interior design and styling!
How did you two meet?
Where all BFFs meet, of course! In Vegas at sunrise in the lobby of a hotel as we left for a photoshoot in the desert. That was 2011, so life looks completely different for both of us now...but we wouldn't change a thing.
Fun fact #1: These two friends are owners of The Light Lab in LA and used our tile here too:
Fun fact #2: The A-frame that Caroline bought (where this pool was built) was originally owned by her friend and designer Sarah Sherman Samuel and our tile was already installed in both the kitchen and bathroom:
What areas of the A-frame did you want to update or change?
Well, when we bought it, part of my pitch to my husband + brother (the other co-owner) was, "It's basically done already!" ... turns out, putting in an in-ground swimming pool, finishing 2 rooms that hadn't been done before, and completely re-designing the rest of the home took an entire year, and a whole stack of blood/sweat/tears/money, but it is finally at the 'We can actually use + enjoy it now!' phase, which feels really nice.
How was it working on this project together?
Caroline: I mean, Anne + I work together on a daily basis anyway, so I loved this. I remember texting Anne while I was in Africa and saying, "This decision is timely... I'm about to lose service for a few days... I trust you!" and I totally did. She knows me + I know her, and we work really well together. It's a life gift/highlight for me, to be sure.
Was this pool a new addition to the property? What type of look or aesthetic were you going for?
It was absolutely an addition... and let me just say, the learning curve of 'baby's first swimming pool' was steep..! There were so many decisions..! So much money! So many permits to pull! Words to learn... like coping?! I thought coping was something I talked about in therapy, not around the edge of my pool. But, back to the question, I wanted clean, desert vibes.. and my brother specifically asked for a pool that was so deep he could do The Graduate in the deep end. He's over 6', so, the pool is ridiculously deep. Apparently most pools are 5'5", but not ours'. haha.
What other materials did you use for the pool area? What made you decide to use tile for the waterline?
Using Fireclay around the edge of the pool was a no-brainer! There's Fireclay throughout the rest of the house, and so it felt right to carry the most gorgeous tile into the outdoor spaces, too. There are terrazzo pavers around the edge (ahem, coping) of the pool, and then a tiny pebble covering the inside of the pool.
What made you choose the 6x6 tiles in Tusk + 2x6 in Skipping Stone? Well! This is a story. The learning curve I mentioned had a lot to do with the hurry up and wait elements of the pool. By the time we chose a contractor + finished the design, then it was about the permits, and then it was about waiting for the contractor to have space in his calendar to do our pool.. basically, the first steps moved so slowly, and since it was our first rodeo, we didn't realize that we would one day receive a call, "Permit was approved... digging the hole tomorrow... we'll need the tile for the edge of the pool by next Friday or we won't be able to finish your pool for 5 months." Ummm, nbd. We're just in the Democratic Republic of Congo right now and aren't in California or anywhere we could possibly handle this. Enter: Fireclay, Kali + Anne. I was literally in a group text with the dream team saying, "I trust you!" and then losing service for days, wondering what the pool would look like when we came back out of the bush.
Turns out, it is STUNNING. We couldn't be more in love with the design, or more grateful to Fireclay for being able to show up with such stunning results in such a short amount of time! Also, Anne. What a hero. Obsessed.
Pattern play: Anne + Caroline played with our two sizes 6x6 and 2x6, creating a striped meets parquet pattern.
Pool Design tip: The standard pool waterline is 6" tall. Make sure to choose a tile shape and size that will best fit these dimensions.
Lastly, any Fireclay products are you dying to use in future projects?
Caroline: The Glazed Thin Brick is calling my name!!!
Anne chose our Glazed Thin Brick in Olympic for her kitchen backsplash:
Anne: I'm obsessed with the matte glass tile that Fireclay recently released, the colors are sublime!
Tile Shown: Our Glass Tile