It was during a vacation that Christina Anstead dreamed up her ultimate staycation. "We were in Cabo, loving the cabanas and how relaxing it was and how beautiful they were, and we wanted to bring that vibe home," the HGTV star explains. She was in the midst of remodeling her new home in Newport Beach, CA—which was featured on Thursday's episode of her design-meets-reality-show, Christina on the Coast—and knew the backyard could not be ignored.
"In California, indoor/outdoor living is a big thing," she says. It's her kids' favorite place to hang out, and—given how her rising fame has also caused an influx of paparazzi swarming the designer's every move—it made sense that their ultimate getaway could be right within their property lines. Right away, Christina got to work, dreaming up an outdoor oasis that'd satisfy her style and that of her husband, producer/author/car expert Ant Anstead (whose tastes skew a little more industrial than hers), as well as the needs of their four—soon to be five!—kids.
"The kids wanted a slide; they didn't care about anything else," she laughs. "I wanted the outside to feel very similar to the inside, so it flowed from one space to the next."
To create that cohesive look, Christina chose outdoor furniture in the same style as the pieces she used inside. Layered rugs and string lights were a nod to her romantic, boho tendencies, while crisp colors and clean lines played into Ant's love of modern design. But long before those decorative touches could be made, Christina had to overhaul the yard itself, and she turned to the team at JE Proscapes to make it happen.
"The original pool had a really small deep end, and we wanted to expand it," she says. "When you have kids over, they're all jumping in all the time, and it's scary with just a shallow end."
See How the Yard Looked Before—and After:
Early into the renovations, she hit the kind of roadblock you might expect from an episode of her other hit show, Flip or Flop: "The previous owner had put a pool on top of a pool," Christina says. Add to that a surprisingly rainy season, and you're "dealing with a disaster." The project wound up being much more labor intensive than the couple originally anticipated, costing them $15,000 more than they had expected to spend. (Stars, they really are just like us!)
Eventually, though, the bigger pool was installed, but the slide also presented its own challenge: Namely, how to add it in without it being a total eyesore. At her previous home in Yorba Linda, CA, Christina hid the slide in a giant rock formation. In their modern house, with their new pool design, that look wouldn't work, and she wasn't keen on staring at a giant, theme park-caliber water slide every day.
"How do we create a water slide without rocks?" she asked herself. After some back and forth, they landed on another way to hide it—building a giant spa that it could wrap around. The light wood matches the home's interior, and while Christina loves it for the way it masks most of the slide, her kids love being able to jump off the deck directly into the pool.
But the amenities don't stop there: There's an outdoor kitchen and dining area, and the Cabo-inspired cabanas, which Ant built himself. "We couldn't find one we liked online, so he decided to make it," Christina says. They used bamboo to give it a Bali-inspired look, adding white metal to give it more of a contemporary feel.
"It's cool and different, and it's unlike anything I've seen before," she adds. The same could be said for the entire space.
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