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Shea McGee has officially decided to make the most of life at home: She’s putting in a swimming pool. The Studio McGee designer, who is still in the beginning stages of the process, shared a snapshot of a crew breaking ground in her family’s backyard earlier this week. “It won’t be completed until around Halloween,” she shared on her blog. “We’re so excited I’m sure we’ll jump in even if it’s freezing.” 

Deciding where to dig the hole is just step one. Choosing all the materials to build it out of is another feat. So we asked McGee to walk us through some of her options and where she landed on them. According to the designer, there are four main sections that need to work together when designing a pool. 


Temperature was a deciding factor for McGee. Porcelain, while it offers the most diversity in colors and comes in modern, large-scale sizes, gets extremely hot in the sun. Concrete, the most cost-effective option, on the other hand, doesn’t absorb as much heat, but the texture tends to be rougher (McGee compares an acid-wash version to sandpaper above). “At the end of the day, I just kept going back to the timeless beauty of limestone,” she says. 


This is the part that separates the swimming pool shell from the surrounding pavers and helps protect the pool structure. While the designer notes many people like to go with coping that’s different from the main pool deck, she plans to continue the limestone to the edge for a uniform appearance. 

Waterline Tile

Mosaic is a popular pick for the 6-inch band that lines the perimeter of a pool and helps prevent pollen and body oils from creating a yellow line at the top. But staying true to her vision of a simple, streamlined aesthetic, McGee will opt for a large natural stone tile for this section.


For the final coating that will be applied to the concrete base, the designer has her eye set on a dark gray quartz finish called hematite, which will give the water a deep blue-gray tint. Even in the fall, it will look like a dreamy lagoon.  

Introducing Domino’s new podcast, Design Time, where we explore spaces with meaning. Each week, join editor-in-chief Jessica Romm Perez along with talented creatives and designers from our community to explore how to create a home that tells your story. Listen now and subscribe for new episodes every Thursday.