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The Green Scene in Pool and Spa News, July 2011

Scott Cohen has won the Masters of Design competition for this project

Pool And Spa News Masters of Design 2011 Kirschner

Scott Cohen has won the top industry award - Masters of Design from Pool and Spa News (Hanley Wood) for this Camarillo swimming pool and back yard remodel.

A simple renovation became an extreme makeover when designer Scott Cohen decided to completely replace the existing pool — a poorly positioned rectangle that didn't highlight the nearby golf course and orchards. "The pool was centered in the backyard, and an aboveground spa blocked the views," says Cohen, president of the Green Scene Landscaping and Pools in Northridge, CA. "The flow in the yard was terrible. The pool was too close to the house and split the yard in half — when you walked out, you were forced to the left or right."

A sweeping radius edge was chosen to guide the eye over the entire horizon. "They get a really great sunset view," Cohen says. "At the end of the work day, they enjoy going into the backyard, pouring a glass of wine, and watching the sunset. They showed me the best spots to view the sunset. A blue glass tile further enhanced the mirror effect.

A panoramic vanishing-edge pool, accented with a spa and fire bowls, pays homage to the picturesque view.

Swimup bar and fire bowls

After sunset, the homeowners can create a manmade spectacle by lighting fire bowls that flank the perimeter overflow spa. "When you look at it from different places in the yard, the spa becomes a sheet of glass, and the flames just lick right across the water," Cohen says.

The fire rings sit only about 1/4 inch above the surface of the overflowing basins, so water and flame appear combined, yet remain separate and the hardware stays dry. Crushed blue glass safely covers the fire rings and coordinates with the pool interior, while cobblestones fill the outer bowl. A small table sits discreetly in the middle of the spa so it doesn't interrupt the perimeter overflow effect. "It's just 1/8 inch below the water level, so you can put your cocktail glass right down there," Cohen says.

A covered kitchen near the pool provides first class entertainment while blocking the neighbors' view from the second floor. For added screening, the designer also placed some palm trees and a hedge of podocarpus, which is light on leaf drop and grows high without spreading out. "I like to screen views with layers — hardscape and plant material," Cohen says. Under the roof, the split level floor works with grade differences and accomodates a swimup bar placed 3 feet lower than the deck level kitchen with custom fireplace.

A fire pit with bench provides an intimate spot. "That area has the best view of the sunset," Cohen says. Flooring throughout the yard is made of vanilla and mocha colored travertine stone. A laser-cut, inlaid travertine trim accents the fire bowl pedestals, kitchen backsplash, and stuccoed fireplace.

outdoor kitchen with swimup bar