Mid Mod Pool

Atomic Ranch - - Contents - Styling by Jickie Tor­res • By Sarah Jane Stone Pho­tog­ra­phy by Bret Gum

With sum­mer on its way, it’s time to re­turn to this mid­cen­tury sta­ple.

How a back­yard can be­come a retro par­adise.

ALONG-FORGOTTEN POOL LEFT IN SORRY SHAPE WAS WHAT PRE­CEDED THIS STUN­NING MID­CEN­TURY-IN­SPIRED BACK­YARD. As the out­door liv­ing space to Ken and Holly Schoolmeester’s Char­lotte, North Carolina 1960 home, it only made sense that the cou­ple wanted their back­yard to re­flect the same style as their care­fully re­stored home.

GAME PLAN

In 2015, the cou­ple went to Mod­ernism Week in Palm Springs hop­ing to gain in­spi­ra­tion from other out­door mid­cen­tury spa­ces. “We’ve had a few land­scape de­sign­ers cre­ate plans; how­ever, MCM land­scapes are typ­i­cally more min­i­mal­is­tic, and they kept overde­sign­ing and ad­ding in the tra­di­tional ‘B’ word (box­wood) into the plans,” she says. Not satisfied with the mis­matched de­signs, Ken and Holly cre­ated their own plans.

Need­ing to re­move the ne­glected pool, Ken and Holly de­cided to re­design the en­tire space to bet­ter cap­ture their mid mod dreams. They re­duced the size of the pool, opted for a clean, mod­ern shape and did away with the deep end. Now, they call it the “party pool” be­cause swim­mers can walk in with a cock­tail in their hands from one end to the other, all while stay­ing above wa­ter.

That wasn’t their only big change. “I love how mid­cen­tury [de­sign] seam­lessly flows from the in­side to the out­side,” Holly says. “So in ren­o­vat­ing the back, we took the op­por­tu­nity to raise the ground level so that we when we step out from our sunken liv­ing room, [the yard] is at the same level.” With their slid­ing doors fully open, the match­ing lev­els make the back pa­tio feel as much apart of the house as the liv­ing room.

BIG DE­TAILS

For the fenc­ing, they turned to block with breeze­block de­tail—but strug­gled to find the ma­te­rial in their area. The ex­tra ef­fort was well worth it, as Sally says that peo­ple are of­ten sur­prised to find that the walls are not orig­i­nal. “That makes us happy as we feel we stay­ing true to the in­tegrity of the home and it’s mid­cen­tury roots,” she says.

The back wall of the fence fea­tures a raised planter, which they chose to vis­ually break up the long ex­panse of block as well as to raise the land­scap­ing so the back hedge will feel more es­tab­lished sooner. “We es­ti­mate that in two to three years we’ll have a com­plete, dense hedge that will be about 9’ tall and block the neigh­bor­ing house,” Sally says.

A mid mod back­yard isn’t com­plete with­out the proper out­door fur­ni­ture, and the Schoolmeester yard is no ex­cep­tion. An orig­i­nal Knoll ta­ble with Tulip Chairs hosts sum­mer soirees, while vin­tage Ber­toia Lounge Chairs take their right­ful place pool­side.

“Luck­ily the back porch is very big and thus the ta­ble and chairs are com­pletely pro­tected from the el­e­ments. It’s lit­er­ally like an ex­tra room nine months out of the year,” Sally says. “How­ever, like any good piece of fur­ni­ture, we clean and protect them fre­quently.”

Ken and Sally now have a back­yard where mod­ern meets play­ful and func­tional meets fun—which is ex­actly what they wanted.

FOR MORE, VISIT ATOMIC-RANCH.COM.

“WE WANTED THE POOL AREA AND PORCH TO HAVE A FUN VIBE, SO I CHOSE A MORE VI­BRANT MCM COLOR PAL­ETTE TO HELP WITH THE PLAY­FUL AM­BI­ENCE. THE SUNBREALLA FAB­RIC WAS THE MOST DURABLE OP­TION FOR OUT­DOOR CUSH­IONS,” SALLY SAYS.

NORTH­ERN SEA OATS GROW IN GRAY PLANTERS ALONG ONE SIDE OF THE BLOCK WALL. “MY HUS­BAND IS RE­ALLY THE GREEN THUMB, AND HE CHOSE THEM FOR THEIR TEX­TURE, MOD­ERN AP­PEAL AND STRIK­ING BRIGHT COLOR AGAINST OUR DARK HOUSE,” SALLY SAYS. “IN THE WIN­TER THEY TURN A L

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