When you're floating in Ruth Hunter's dark blue pool surrounded by palms and orchids, it's easy to forget you're in Los Angeles. "You feel like you're drifting through a Hawaiian lagoon," she says. And that was the whole idea. Though Hunter, her husband, Sean Daniel, and their son, Quincy, visit Hawaii several times a year, she never gets enough of the island paradise. Part of her heart is always in the tropics. When the family returned from one of those trips, Hunter said to herself: "Why not re-create the tropics in my backyard?" So what if the house was more English Tudor than grass shack? "I decided my traditional garden bored me. I wanted something more lyrical and fantastic."
Hunter imagined a pool that would remind her of the fishponds encircled with lava rocks she saw as she drove through the Islands. She also wanted a tin-roofed surf shack like the one depicted in her favorite Hawaiian watercolor. "I've always loved shacks," says Hunter. "Their simplicity makes me feel safe and secure."