Written by: Hilary Daninhirsch/Photos by: Joe Traina
A famous animated fish once said, “Just keep swimming.” At Todd Siegel’s residence in Largo, that directive is easy to follow. With multiple swimming options, there are enough activities to keep mermaids and their human counterparts happy all year long in the predominantly tropical Florida climate.
In the swim of things
Perched regally at the summit of a terrace is Todd’s majestic 9,000+ square-foot home. Steps lead down to the terraced backyard area, starting at approximately 20 feet above sea level; Todd believes this is a unique set up for a property such as his that has quick access to the Intracoastal Waterway.
Another set of steps run down to the dock and private boat slip; a covered lift protects his boat from the elements. The pools are placed at the top tier level of the terraces and include a family pool, a lap pool and a hot tub. Jeff Knight, sales manager with Curtis Pools, whose firm installed the pools, says that they are on the cusp of being maintenance-free. “They’re all automated and all self-cleaning,” he adds.
Todd took the term “custom-fitted” to a whole new level. Wrapped in plastic, he immersed himself in the wet cement in the main pool, making a contoured outline to create four built-in lounge chairs. “This was designed in a way that was more upright, so your knees are more raised and contoured for the small of your back and neck,” he says, adding that the design makes it less likely to float off them and provides an additional measure of comfort.
A sun shelf, also known as a tanning shelf, immersed in six inches of water, was incorporated along the entire back of the 34×15-foot wide main pool, which Knight says is a very popular feature. “In this case, we’ve taken the steps and made it the full width of the pool,” he adds.
The bubbly spa, which contains two strong motors and two separate blowers, was raised up slightly and incorporated into the center of the sun shelf. “We wanted it to have a lot of therapeutic capability, so we made sure it had enough horsepower to do that,” says Todd.
The adjacent lap pool is 55 feet long and 7 ½ feet wide, providing plenty of space for swimmers, along with enticing views of the water on one end and the back of the house at the other.
Water flows out of the infinity-edged pools, so named because it gives the illusion that the water is being spilled over into the Intracoastal Waterway, due to a wall that is slightly shorter than the water level. In actuality, the water is being caught in a basin and recirculates into the pool. “Not every back yard is conducive to an infinity-edge application; you need some slope and elevation change,” says Knight, but Todd’s tiered back yard fit the bill.
The pools can also be enjoyed well into the evening, as each is equipped with multi-color changing LED lighting.
When you want to be near the water but not quite a part of it, the Siegel back yard has plenty of other options. For example, you could relax on the travertine deck in a lounge chair by the family pool. Or perhaps walk down a few steps and sit by the custom fire pit on the semi-circular deck, all while taking in the views of the boats in the waterway.
Florida’s climate is ideal for year-round outdoor entertaining, and Todd has comfortable seating for 18 people in the areas above the pools. “The house was designed in a way that the back terrace opened up contiguous to the major common areas of the house,” he says. An indoor-outdoor bar can be accessed via an accordion door, providing a pass-through area to the terrace.
The lanai is home to an outdoor kitchen with an alfresco grill and an outdoor fireplace. Todd chose Jerusalem stone, directly from a quarry in Jerusalem, for the kitchen, the front and back porches, and all of the terraces. The cedar-covered box beam ceiling and comfortable outdoor furniture encourage guests to mingle. A central audio/visual system allows the outdoor television and sound system to be in sync throughout the backyard space.
In addition to the lights from the pool, Todd installed up lighting off the trees, creating a moonlighting effect. The outdoor landscape lighting doubles as nighttime security lighting.
Native to Florida
Todd says he was really going for a Florida look with the landscaping, and the back yard indeed showcases native plants and trees. The palm trees, goldenrod, jade and birds of paradise were thoughtfully placed. “I tried to keep clear of anything deep rooting, so the oak around the pool wasn’t affected; the idea was to not block the view from the terrace down to the waterway,” he says.
A bronze pelican perched on a log at the base of the steps from the back of the house has a special meaning for the homeowner, as it reflects his love of rugby. “It represents the logo of the local Pelican Rugby Club,” Todd says with a laugh. “I found it in the store where I purchased materials for my dock/deck and convinced the owner to sell it to me.”
Resources: Architect: Oliveri Architects; Builder: Bollenback Builders; Pool: Curtis Pools; Interior designer: Studio M; Landscape: Booth Design Group