"Vanderpump Pools" – Inside Tom & Ariana's Vibrant Backyard Transforma — Boxhill & Co., LLC
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A pool deck day bed overlooks a pool with fountain and two in-pool chaise loungers.

"Vanderpump Pools" – Inside Tom & Ariana's Vibrant Backyard Transformation

In 2020, Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix, standout personalities from the reality TV show "Vanderpump Rules," embarked on a mission to revitalize their basic backyard into a vibrant, multifunctional social haven. Known for their distinct yet complementary styles, the couple aimed to design a space that not only reflected their unique personalities—Tom's penchant for bold, dramatic elements juxtaposed with Ariana's preference for zen, tailored aesthetics—but also catered to their social lifestyle. Despite the challenge of a compact area, they envisioned a backyard that feels spacious and open, perfectly suited for hosting their friends from the entertainment community. The design needed to seamlessly integrate indoor comfort with outdoor accessibility, ensuring that the space could accommodate large gatherings without sacrificing the intimate, cozy atmosphere they cherished. Their goal was to create an outdoor area that was both a reflection of their stylish personas and a functional landscape capable of bringing their vibrant social engagements to life.

Design Challenges and Solutions

Transforming a Wide Open Space into Functional Areas

The expansive backyard initially offered little in terms of structure or designated use areas, making it underutilized. The solution was to segment the space into distinct, functional zones tailored to both entertainment and relaxation, catering to the diverse needs of the homeowners and their guests. Strategic placement of landscaping elements and furniture created natural divisions that maximized the usability of the space without the need for extensive structural changes.

Blending Distinct Styles of Tom and Ariana

Merging Tom’s preference for bold, theatrical elements with Ariana’s zen, minimalist style required a thoughtful approach to design. The key was to find balance—incorporating striking features that captured Tom’s dramatic flair while maintaining the serene and orderly aesthetic Ariana favored. Choices in color schemes, materials, and decorative accents were carefully curated to reflect this harmony, ensuring that both styles were represented yet cohesive.

While it was a challenge to navigate these style differences, the result was a dynamic, strong design. For example, in the living area adjacent to the house, the initial plan was to install two love seats and a smaller fire pit, aligning with Ariana’s preference for symmetry and understated elegance. However, Tom advocated for a more dramatic setup. He pushed for the largest L-shaped sofa and the biggest residential fire pit available that the gas line capacity could safely support. This bold move transformed the space into a striking focal point that far surpassed what might have been achieved with a more conservative approach. The result was not only a testament to their individual tastes but also a vibrant expression of their combined personalities, creating a design that was stronger and more engaging than initially envisioned.

Navigating Product Sourcing and Coordination During a Pandemic

The pandemic posed significant challenges in terms of product availability and shipping timelines. Boxhill’s role was crucial in communicating effectively with vendors to source the right products that met design specifications and timeline constraints. The flexibility and proactive coordination by Boxhill ensured that despite the global disruptions, the project moved forward efficiently. This included adapting to changing delivery schedules and maintaining open lines of communication with the clients, who were located out of state, to keep them updated and involved in the decision-making process.

Key Features & Design Elements

Outdoor Kitchen and BBQ

The outdoor kitchen is equipped with a high-quality BBQ integrated with a gas line, ensuring ease of use and consistent performance. This area is designed to be not only functional but also a focal point of the backyard, suitable for both family meals and larger social gatherings.

Outdoor Living Space with Fire Pit

Adjacent to the house, this key feature acts as a fluid extension of the indoor living space, thanks to fully retractable sliding doors. In designing this area, we collaborated closely with Tom & Ariana's interior designer, Lucinda Pace, to ensure a harmonious integration between the outdoor space and the interior design. (Designer Tip: The secret to creating an outdoor space that feels like a natural extension of your home is to draw inspiration from the interior design. By mirroring key elements such as color schemes, materials, and styling cues, you can achieve a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor living areas.)

The area includes a partially covered setup with a large, elegant fire pit surrounded by comfortable seating. This careful coordination results in a versatile environment where the indoors merges seamlessly with the outdoors, not only extending the living space but also creating a cozy and inviting spot for evening socials. This integration ensures that both the visual and functional flow between the indoor and outdoor areas are maintained, making it a perfect extension of the home's overall design theme.

Pool Area and Adjacent Lounge

The pool area is intentionally designed as the centerpiece of the backyard, boasting a tanning ledge and an integrated pool deck bar that perfectly suits hosting. Adjacent to this, the lounge area enhances the setting with additional seating options, offering a space for relaxation and conversation that complements the vibrant pool activities.
The design seamlessly integrates functionality with Tom and Ariana's entertaining style. Guests can lounge on the sunbed, positioned just far enough to provide a sense of privacy yet close enough to keep conversations flowing with others in the pool. This thoughtful arrangement emphasizes both comfort and connectivity, allowing for both intimate moments and social interaction.

Tailored to the couple's professional background as renowned bartenders, the pool area includes thoughtful additions like in-pool loungers on the tanning ledge, accompanied by an innovative in-pool tall ice bucket side table. This clever feature doubles as a side table and a cooler for beverages, optimizing the space for relaxation and refreshment. The addition of a pool deck bar with in-pool bar stools transforms the pool edge into a dynamic bar counter, ideal for mixing drinks and entertaining guests. This not only makes the pool area a hub of activity but also highlights Tom and Ariana's flair for hosting memorable gatherings.

Achieving Design Harmony

This project is a prime example of how thoughtful design can integrate contrasting elements into a cohesive narrative. By selecting materials and colors that mirrored both Tom's bold style and Ariana's preference for serenity, we crafted a space that not only met their lifestyle needs but also expressed their personalities. This approach serves as a benchmark for designers looking to balance client preferences with functional design, ensuring a space that is both beautiful and practical.

Reflecting on this successful collaboration highlights the importance of adapting and creatively executing designs that meet the specific needs and styles of each client, regardless of their profile. This project stands as a testament to the effectiveness of combining detailed planning with client-focused design.

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