Spaces

A Kansas City couple builds a summer retreat at their home near the Country Club Plaza

Kristen Ridler placed planters filled with lush greenery along one side of the pool. “I go out there every morning and water them,” she says. “It’s peaceful.” The lanterns are from Restoration Hardware.
Kristen Ridler placed planters filled with lush greenery along one side of the pool. “I go out there every morning and water them,” she says. “It’s peaceful.” The lanterns are from Restoration Hardware.

Kristen Ridler’s main reason for wanting a pool was not at all what one would expect.

“We were building the new home on a really small lot, and we wanted something low-maintenance,” she says. “Our pool takes up the whole backyard, and we love that.”

The sleek modern pool surrounded by sculptures, umbrellas and chaise lounges is an urban oasis just around the corner from the Country Club Plaza. Filled with salt water that’s turned into chlorine, and protected by an electric cover, Kristen and her husband, Chris, barely have to lift a finger to keep it looking pristine.

Gone are the days of painstakingly skimming the surface of the water with a net to remove leaves and bugs, then carefully calculating sanitizing chemicals so as not to burn swimmers’ eyes or turn their hair green.

“We just open and shut the cover, and with the robot that cleans it, there’s not much more to do,” Kristen says.

The Ridlers — she’s an interior designer, he owns and manages several local Mexican restaurants — worked with Swim Things, of Blue Springs, to make their pool dreams a reality. They knew they wanted a dunk pool, which means the water is 5 feet 4 inches at the deepest end.

“Since our yard was small, we wanted a lot of ambiance so it has three fountains spraying into it, and we wanted a shallow area for sunbathing and for our friends who have kids,” Kristen adds. “That part is 10 inches deep. They call it a sun shelf.”

A large concrete sculpture of a head by Phillips Collection sits near one corner of the pool. Meanwhile, Bob, a life-size black sheep sculpture... well, he moves around the perimeter of the pool depending on the whims of the Ridlers. He looked like he was drinking from it early one morning when we visited.

The pool is just outside the home’s walk-out basement, which was also part of the pool project. It has the same modern style as the rest of the home, but with artwork referencing swimming. The interior space comprises three areas for media, billiards and dining. The latter has sliding glass doors, making it an indoor/outdoor room for al fresco dining.

The billiards room features Kristen’s parents’ old pool table. She had its top recovered in royal blue felt to match a rug beneath it and the swimming suit in a large framed photograph on a nearby wall featuring a woman and chimpanzee sunbathing.

The media room features a fireplace that makes it cozy during winter months, but also alludes to summertime fun with two huge photographs of people floating in aqua blue water hanging above a red leather bench.

Kristen says the pool has changed the way they live.

“It definitely gets us outside more and makes us want to entertain more,” she says. “I know it makes both of us happier. Even at night the reflection of the water goes up the outside of the house and even on the ceilings inside. It’s really beautiful.”

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