Backyard Oasis

Create the ultimate staycation  with Huntington Pools’ designs

By Kamala Kirk
Photo submitted

Since the pandemic, swimming pools have become the recreation of choice. Many people have been investing in their homes and transforming their backyards into relaxing escapes with the addition of swimming pools. 

Since 1988, Huntington Pools Inc. has designed and built custom swimming pools, spas and outdoor living spaces for homes in Los Angeles, including Pasadena, San Marino and La Cañada Flintridge. Using a combination of engineering, form and fit, they create outdoor living areas that complement a home’s overall landscape and architecture.

When designing a pool for a client, founder and President Jeff Lokker says that there are two important factors.

“First is the architecture of the house, which is the driving force behind a pool design,” Lokker says. “Second is the client and their intended use for the pool. Are they an older couple looking to exercise or a young family with kids? These are important details that help us create the ideal swimming pool to match each client’s lifestyle and needs.”

According to Lokker, it’s important to design a swimming pool to complement the home, particularly if the house features a significant architectural style.

“It all starts with the house,” Lokker says. “When we go to a property to interview a client, if they live in an early 20th century Spanish-style home, we tend to gravitate toward that style of pool, which has elements such as raised walls with water features that feed back into the pool and hand-painted Spanish tiles that are appropriate to the period. If it’s a midcentury modern house, a pool design is going to be sleeker and more geometric. The materials we use for midcentury modern houses tend to be more monochromatic with white plaster and simpler concrete decking.” 

Lokker mostly designs pools for Spanish, midcentury modern, contemporary and Craftsman homes. Each type of home calls for a variety of details and materials for pool designs. 

“There is a large market of these types of homes in the areas we service, and we are lucky to get to work with all of these architecture styles,” Lokker says. “If we’re working with a contemporary house on a hillside, we’ll often design an infinity edge or overflow pool. We’ve worked on Greene and Greene Craftsman houses, and those pools tend to be more free form but also rectilinear. We also use a lot of brick with Craftsman-style pools, along with darker and earth tone colors in our decks, plaster and finishes.”

Aside from incorporating more interesting and exotic finish materials, such as hand-painted tiles into pools, Lokker says that shallower pools have also become more popular.

“Pools used to be 8 or 9 feet deep,” Lokker says. “And now more people are OK with that being in the 5- to 6-foot range. Cocktail pools are also popular because they’re smaller, have one depth and can fit into limited outdoor spaces. In Palm Springs, a lot of smaller condos have individual cocktail pools. Not everyone has a backyard that can fit a large swimming pool, but having a smaller pool still adds interest and excitement to a space and provides a place where you can submerge and cool off on hot days.”

Baja bench or an in-pool chaise lounge are also popular. Common in resort and hotel swimming pools, Baja benches are extended steps that create a shallow area in the water for lounging and relaxing. In-pool chaise lounge chairs are made from sturdy materials and are partially submerged in the water.

“Having a shallower area in the pool is a popular safety feature, especially for families with young kids who are starting to venture out and learn how to be around water,” Lokker says. “It’s a good learning spot for kids, but it’s also a nice feature for adults who just want to lounge. Pools have progressed a lot over the years. In the 1950s and 1960s, pools had diving boards and it was all about swimming. Nowadays people want to relax and lounge by their pools.”

Approximately 25% of the installations that Lokker does include automatic or retractable pool covers, which offer numerous benefits.

“They’re great devices because they provide a higher level of safety, especially if a family has young kids and pets,” Lokker says. “Pool covers also help regulate the water chemistry and temperature, and help to prevent evaporation.”

Important features also include healthier sanitation systems and more energy-efficient options.  

“Ultraviolet (UV) and ozone pool water systems can be combined together or you can get them independent of each other,” Lokker says. “They’re able to reduce the levels of chlorine in the water, which is great, especially for those with skin that is sensitive to chlorine. We’re installing more UV and ozone sanitation systems for maintaining water quality. The pools we remodel are using old pump technology, and it’s a federal mandate now that all pools have variable speed pumps. So when we’re remodeling pools we also upgrade their pump systems as well as their lighting systems to LED lights, which are more energy efficient. LED lights also can be placed in different areas of the pool to create a fuller light effect.”

Saltwater pools offer numerous benefits, including being gentler on eyes and skin, and help to promote healthy breathing and reduce allergy issues. 

“Saltwater pools are great, and a lot of people love them because they’re more conducive to our body chemistry and it doesn’t hurt their eyes as much,” Lokker says. “But some things to keep in mind are that the saltwater can be more corrosive, so you have to put sealers on your decks to protect the saltwater from penetrating.”

Lokker says the time it takes to build a pool depends on the complexity of the project, but it can range anywhere from two to six months. Adding a swimming pool is a great investment that enhances the quality of his clients’ lives and their recreational time at home with families.

“There has been a dramatic uptick in requests for swimming pools, and we’re fielding more calls over the last year than we have in the 20-plus years that I’ve been in business,” Lokker says. “People have been spending more time at home and with their families. Having a swimming pool enhances your home and backyard, providing a place for fun, enjoyment, relaxation and connection with friends and family.”

Huntington Pools Inc.


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