Fall may be in full swing, but we’re still thinking about lazy days of poolside lounging — ideally with a cocktail or two in hand. And, even though they’ve become an icon of wealth and luxury that reflect the latest design trends or an interest in health and fitness, that wasn’t always the case.
Swimming pools originally became popular in the United States during the mid- to late-19th century at a time when most residences did not have bathrooms. Their designs remained simple and rectangular, especially because keeping the water clean and sanitary was an issue until modern filtration systems and chlorination were possible. As time went on, though, swimming pools slowly became more elaborate, often clad in white ceramic subway tiles associated with cleanliness in the 1910s and 1920s. They were primarily used for exercise and bathing until Hollywood films of the 1940s and 1950s portrayed them as places of leisure and luxury, where famous actors and actresses casually basked in the sun or took an afternoon dip in glamorous swimsuits.
Pools became even more popular in postwar America, when newer technologies like gunite, a spray-applied mixture of concrete and sand, made pool construction easier because of the reduced chance of leaks — not to mention the flexibility and options in form that it enabled. Soon, backyard swimming pools were popping up across the country and taking new shapes and sizes, with curved kidney-shaped pools becoming all the rage. Even today, pools have remained a hallmark of high design and a must-have in just about every celebrity property or vacation home.
So we’ve gathered together some of the most exciting celebrity-owned pools that run the gamut, from ones that emulate the style of the main homes — complete with Spanish tiles and terra cotta elements — as well as inspired contemporary designs that incorporate infinity edges and minimalist detailing.