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Reveling in the Dreamy Blues & Greens of Swimming Pools

by Caitlin Kelch

Believe it or not, it’s nearly mid-August and I have not set foot in recreational water of any kind. I live 5 minutes from a clean, safe river and I have a kid. It’s almost embarrassing. Honestly though, I’m a pool person, preferably a pool with no one else enjoying said pool. Even when I have the opportunity to lounge poolside, that’s pretty much where I stay. I’ll dip my toes in, but unless it’s the temperature of a warm bath, I rarely go full-body swimming. Here’s why: I get hypnotized by the pool’s dizzying array of reflections, light and colors. Pools have always had a certain dangerous allure for me ever since I repeatedly failed to get past the Minnow stage at my YWCA as a child. Truth be told, I couldn’t do the Survival Float. Boy, if they could see me now — I’m a survivor!

I have no idea if I’ll make it to the pool this summer, but I’ve found myself enjoying all types of pool imagery and the range of colors that remind me of the many swimming pools I’ve been lucky enough to sit beside. I’m seeing a lot of deep true-blues and indigos emerging for fall, and well, the mint craze is still raging on as we all know. I, however, think there is not a blue or green as captivating this time of year as the shades that make up the iconic pool landscape, filled with the texture of concrete and the promise of a round of Marco Polo. I’ve made some admittedly very me image collages (they’re not your usual product round-up look) to satisfy my need to grab a piece of the pool experience and bring it into in my home and wardrobe. Click through and take a dip with me. –Caitlin

These deeper turquoise and green shades are reminiscent of the heady seduction one feels while gazing at the deep end of a swimming pool. Images clockwise: , , , , .
This Farrow & Ball interior is like a swan dive into the pool. The hallway is Dix Blue No.82 and woodwork is Pointing No.2003.
I love the darker shades of water, with their almost murky mystery. Images clockwise: Poolside photo via , , , , , .
This shot of a smiling Marilyn Monroe shows off a red and green color combination that is anything but Christmas-y.
I've never visited the famed in Palm Springs, but this pool, with its palm trees and mountainous backdrop, is pretty magical.
This color collection is closer to the quality of water when the sun is shining at its peak -- everything takes on an ethereal, white-washed tone. Images clockwise: , , .
This dish by Franco-Russian designer explores the porcelain in its liquid state and feels like a stylized version of a natural pool.
I love this with its color-blocked blues. Images clockwise: , , .
by Colorhouse for Crate & Barrel is such a calm shade of blue green.
This modern beach house works with blocks of color in a grid-like pattern -- including the chaise cushions without a frame. Image via
Sofia Coppola's film poster for "Somewhere" captures the classic juxtaposition of pool color next to lush greens.

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  • There’s a whole science around which color to make the pool walls/bottom in order to get a certain color of water.
    A beige pool gives you pale green water.
    A blue pool gives you that bright aqua water typically associated with pools.
    A black pool gives you dark blue/green water.
    Black pools had a moment about 10 years ago. Depending on the climate, they can heat up and have maintenance issues.

  • Fun! I’ve always loved the colors and changing light and reflections on swimming pools. (I also like swimming in them.)

    Caitlin, are you familiar with David Hockney’s paintings with swimming pools? He did a whole series of them with detail of the reflections on the water.

    • Oh gosh, Karen! You’re so right on the Hockney’s. I’ll have to revisit them since I haven’t indulged since art school. Forgot all about them! THANK YOU so much for the reminder :) It was nice that you took the time. I appreciate it!


  • Hi Caitlin,
    I just stumbled across your site! Love it, and love your blog about swimming pools as inspiration. Karen is right, David Hockney’s series called Paper Pools is inspirational, you’ll really enjoy them, there is an entire book called Paper Pools. These are prints, I believe.

    • Wow! I’m very excited Laurie and Karen :) It happens to be my birthday and this will be my birthday gift for myself. Thank you so much for making my day even more special with a self-treat of art.


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