Colleen Bennett - Sotheby's International Realty

THE REAL DIRTT: The Spa That Keeps on Giving …

October 27, 2016
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Rainbow Falls, near Mammoth Lakes, provides everlasting refreshment and renewal.

Rainbow Falls, near Mammoth Lakes, provides everlasting refreshment and renewal.

I have always loved pools, and the deeper and darker the better. I search them out on every vacation. For instance, when traveling to Mammoth, I seek out the many hot springs that bubble and gurgle near the tiny Mammoth airport. Immersing myself in their thermal waters while wistfully gazing out to the saw-tooth formations of the Sierras is my sure-fire antidote for coping with the hustle and bustle of living in Los Angeles.

So when my wife Colleen and I had the opportunity to build a swimming hole in our La Verne backyard, we turned to nature (and lots of magazines and Instagram) for inspiration.

Life Lessons of a Harvard Reject

Colleen was really the one who spearheaded this project. She sketched out the design, hired the contractor (Kramer Construction in Upland, Calif.), researched the tile (Tap N Tile in Pasadena, Calif.) and oversaw the landscaping.

What was supposed to take three months to construct turned out to be nine months. Both Colleen and I, along with our contractor, were guilty of wreaking havoc with the timeline, but we were seeking perfection. None of us would have been happy with just another pale blue hole in the ground. We wanted a sanctuary. While we had a plan, we weren’t afraid to deviate from it. When we found ourselves with extra pieces of tile, for example, we decided to inset them in the cement between the flag stone that made up spa’s floor.

It’s been about two years since we decided to dig our backyard spool – half pool, half spa — and I can tell you that after every refreshing dip in summer or soothing plunge into the sauna in winter, I am reborn again. I close my eyes and the Mammoth mountains become breathtakingly close, no longer a 250-mile drive to reach.

Here are some photos from the construction:

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