For an active family of four, the decision to leave their idyllic Southern California home—situated just a few minutes away from the beach—to move back to the Midwest, was not an easy one. The lure of the Pacific Ocean, palm-tree-lined streets, and weather which beckoned them outdoors, were all perks that were tough to ignore. But ultimately, the desire to be closer to family was the tipping point for Kelly and Joff Moine.
Joff is originally from the Columbus area, and Kelly grew up in Norwalk, Ohio. With much of their extended family living in Ohio, including cousins to their daughters Madison and Taylor, the couple made the decision to relocate from Santa Barbara to the Mason area in the summer of 2020. Their choice was made despite the fact they were uprooting themselves from a community they loved.
“We made such good friends out there,” says Kelly. “It was really hard to leave our friends, the beautiful year-round weather, and the nearby ocean.”
Another strong factor in favor of the move, Joff adds, was the idea that Taylor and Madison would attend high school in Greater Cincinnati. “We have really great schools in this area,” he says. “You don’t really appreciate them until you move elsewhere.”
Even though they were leaving the draw of the western coastline behind, the Moine’s knew they still wanted outdoor living to be a big part of this next chapter of their lives.
So, when they were shown an expansive home with contemporary vibes and a spacious back yard that bordered Mason’s Heritage Club, they got excited about living on the club’s golf course. Joff is an avid golfer and Kelly is currently learning her way around the links.
Back to the water
Even before they moved into the home, the couple began plans to transform their back yard into the oasis the family desired. They contacted Chris Raines, owner of Garden Path Landscaping, the firm who designed a pool for Joff’s business partner. As luck would have it, Raines and his crew were the landscapers for the home’s previous owners and they knew the layout of the property. Starting with phone conversations, the Moine’s communicated their wishes, and Raines got busy with the design.
Going for a streamlined, modern look, Raines planned for an L-shaped pool and a paver pool deck that leads to a stone seat wall, which doubles as a retaining wall that was needed due to the tapered slope of the lot.
“Chris took control of everything,” Kelly says. “He designed the entire area, and even came up with a design and colors for the pool’s liner.”
“The things we are able to do today with pool liners are incredible,” Raines says. “We can customize the color, the pattern, and do just about anything we want.”
Raines goes on to explain that choosing a vinyl liner is often a cost-driven decision, often resulting in a savings of about 50 percent compared to gunite. But with the high-quality durable liners available today, he says, “It’s kind of an even swap. Both require a similar amount of maintenance.”
Should a family invite a dog into the pool, as this family did with their dog Maverick, nails aren’t a problem as long as the dog can easily walk out of the pool, rather than scratch its way up the side walls.
So with that in mind, in the shallow end of the pool, a sundeck with water just a few inches deep, was created to accommodate Maverick. “We didn’t know if he could swim,” Kelly says. “It turns out he’s a great swimmer.”
“Sundecks are hot right now,” says Chris. “We rarely build a pool without one.
A tropical touch
Plans called for a raised bed planter which holds something included specifically to remind the family of their previous home—a palm tree. With dramatic uplighting, the tree contributes to the space’s tropical, resort style. It won’t survive harsh Cincinnati winters, but Joff feels strongly enough about its charm, that he says he’s happy to purchase a new one each spring.
Launching with a luau
Construction began in early 2021 and wrapped up mid-July. One week later the family christened the pool with a luau party for 75 friends accompanied by musicians on steel drums and an acoustic guitar.
The family plans to keep the heated pool open each year from early spring until the beginning of November. And all four members have no doubt it will be well used during those months.
Joff and I love to entertain,” Kelly says. “The more the merrier!”
On dive-in movie nights, family and friends float on rafts in the pool while movies play on a projection screen placed nearby.
Following in her parents’ social footsteps, shortly after the pool was completed, 16-year-old Taylor hosted her entire field hockey team for a poolside party. Both daughters are active in school athletics. Madison, 14, runs cross country and track and plays on the volleyball and basketball teams. Taylor is on the field hockey and track teams.
Even when it’s just the four of them, the family takes great pleasure in their backyard oasis.
“It’s nice to be able to walk out the back door, swim, tan or just hang out—in any weather,” Taylor says. And her sister adds, “We do a lot of our schoolwork out here.”
Plus, both the girls want to stick around for the evening’s entertainment: Dad doing cannonballs.
Joff, who in previous years has been known to paddleboard in the Pacific, with the occasional shark nearby, closes out the night with a series of high-splashing cannonballs off the diving board.
Even though they’re using a different type of board these days, this adventurous family has found a way to gather with friends and family and create all kinds of splashes in their own backyard.
Landscape and design Garden Path Landscaping
Pool construction Westside Pools
Pavers Oberfields in Storm, from Reading Rock
Stone for planters Stonecraft from Reading Rock
Lighting LED by Sollos
Firepit chairs Watson’s
Article by Karen Bradner | Photos by Corrie Schaffeld
Article originally appeared in March 2022