Plunge Into This Patterned Swimming Pool

Prior to launching his Seattle-based firm Best Practice Architecture in 2011, Ian Butcher was part of the team that designed a local private home. It’s that history that made Best Practice, well, the best candidate for a new project in the tidy 1,300-square-foot rear yard of that residential site: “Lil Dipper,” aka the name Butcher’s crew gave to the heated pool that, at 11 by 28 feet, and only 4 1/2 deep, is just big enough for swimming laps or inviting grandchildren over to splash around. 

“It was important to remain respectful of the original architecture and landscape,” Butcher recalls, referring to such choices as ipe for the boardwalk to coordinate with the house’s exterior detailing. “But we also made it unique to our client.” As the client is a collector, Best Practice literally integrated art into the pool with the aptly named Liquid Center, a commission from the late sculptor Jim Melchert and his grandson Galen of ceramic tiles down the center and one side, their pattern mimicking wavering swim lines when viewed from the water’s surface. 

They can also be seen from the new grassy turf—populated by additional commissions from Jeffry Mitchell and Mungo Thomson—or the poured-concrete bench built into one end of the pool. Elevated 18 inches, it’s the perfect perch for dipping toes. 

feet dipped into a swimming pool
lit up pool

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