alex proba artist

Sunken Treasure

The mural of the story is a playfully painted pool.

Lisa Marie Hart Current Digital, Home & Design, Real Estate

alex proba artist
The angled pool behind a midcentury home shows a freshly painted face for 2020.

Large, looming shapes appear to have slipped down the sides of this Rancho Mirage pool and stayed there, cooling off under the water and changing in hue and profile as the sun moves across the sky. The painted forms define the deep end’s sides and bottom, transitioning into a scatter of smaller shapes and brighter colors toward the wide stairs and tanning shelf at the other end.

“We wanted to inject color and pattern into the space to make it playful and inviting,” says Jillian Sassone, who owns the 1957 home designed by Donald Wexler with her husband, Tim. The couple turned to Bells & Whistles, an L.A.-based interior design studio, to cultivate Wexler’s clean-lined blank canvas into a family retreat and second home.

For the soft-edged artwork that would juxtapose the sharply angled existing pool, Bells & Whistles commissioned New York-based German artist Alex Proba, whose murals have enlivened commercial and residential walls, ceilings, tabletops, and custom rugs along with a retail storefront and an 8,500-square-foot pool deck in Manhattan.

“The painting was a brilliant idea on their part,” says Sassone, the founder and lead designer at Marrow Fine Jewelry. “Alex’s use of color and freeform shapes was a perfect choice for this project. Being poolside at dawn or dusk feels pretty magical. We couldn’t love it any more.”

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