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Hearth & Home April 2016

The rich blue color of the pool highlights the Sphinx, pyramid, obelisks and columns. It was achieved by finishing the pool’s interior in purple.

Parting Shot: Fit for a Pharaoh

Photos Courtesy: ©2016 Ryan Hughes Design.

Who wouldn’t love to bask in the decadent splendor enjoyed by Egyptian Pharaohs of long ago? Or, if you’re like Ryan Hughes, you might prefer building such a dream space.

In 2013, Hughes, who specializes in building sophisticated Outdoor Rooms, was asked to submit a design as an elaborate bid to build the outdoor portion of a major project in Florida.

“When we became involved,” he says, “the existing home was in the midst of an extensive interior renovation featuring a luxurious array of Egyptian-inspired features.”

The owner is a (very successful) Canadian entrepreneur, and he was in the process of building Pharaoh’s Palace that would serve as the home of Pharaoh’s Daughter’s Modeling Agency. It would be the temporary home and training facility for aspiring models.

We asked Hughes to describe the project.

(There is stone everywhere.) “The type of stone is tumbled travertine pavers.The interior surface is an exposed aggregate ‘Mauve’ from StoneScapes. It’s a purple color with black pebbles. In this case we included flex of abalone that give the finish a rich sparkling quality, which complements the iridescence of the tile and the rich purple fabrics used throughout.

“In the pool, we knew that the purple interior finish would read blue – given that water absorbs the red part of the color spectrum – but it’s a rich blue that creates a welcoming and soothing hue. On the sun shelves, the red comes through the shallow water providing a subtle and sensual contrast.

“We used LED lights from Nexuss, called the Savvy Melody. All of the circulation equipment in the project comes from Zodiac-Jandy Pool Systems including two 540 sq. ft. cartridge filters, variable speed drive pumps and two Aqua Pure chlorinators.

“We knew we wanted a long, rectilinear pool that directs the eye toward the sphinx and the pyramid in the backdrop. That’s the first major focal point. On the right we have the spa area and on the left the fire pit. The space covered by the project encompasses about a quarter acre. There are five fire elements in the space.

“We were able to locate key suppliers that either had what we needed already – as was the case with the Sphinx, which came from a statuary firm in Chicago – or could manufacture the elements we needed in a timely fashion.

“For the obelisks and columns, we located an amazing precast manufacturer that was able to make everything we needed and could do so in the short time frame, which was only three months from start to finish.

“As it turned out, the Sphinx became the key design element, especially in terms of scale. We knew it was seven-ft. long by four-and-a-half ft. wide, and we knew it would be the central visual element. So everything was scaled based on those dimensions. We didn’t want the Sphinx to be too big for the surrounding structures, but also not too small. It all had to fit visually.

“The project was completed well under the three-month time frame.

“Since its completion, I’ve attended two events at the site; one I staged for clients and business associates. We were extremely gratified by the positive comments and especially so watching people use and enjoy the space. All in all, it is indeed a place fit for a Pharaoh, and his ‘daughters.’”

All eyes go straight to the Sphinx, a seven-foot long replica that provides a royal touch.
Nighttime atmosphere is created with well-positioned landscape lighting and many fire elements.

For more information contact: Ryan Hughes Design, 4769 Juniper Drive, Palm Harbor, Florida 34685. Phone: (727) 940-2653, or visit

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