tips for installing tile in your pool, and a look into a california desert oasis

by clé tile | published: Jul 31, 2019

A house with a pool decorated with moroccan-style tiles.

we love sharing amazing installation shots using our tiles, and sometimes, the story is just as compelling as the image.

we have asked the designers and owners of desert wild, a vacation rental property in joshua tree, california, to share their process of selecting and installing tile for their recent pool renovation.

lou and natalie — from chicago and sydney respectively — moved to joshua tree to create their dream desert getaway. when designing their pool, they reached out to clé immediately because of the style of the home, which demanded a traditional moroccan-style pool edge.

A clé zellige tile in cindered olive color.

how did you choose the tile that you installed? what other tiles did you consider?

we chose our tiles based on the moroccan influence that is throughout our home. the zellige tiles complimented our house, creating an organic yet simplistic feel. we chose shades of green to mirror the desert flora: a bold cindered olive square zellige tile for our pool waterline to make an impact against our pink flagstone pavers.

we did consider a patterned moroccan zellige tile in terracotta but ultimately, we decided that we didn’t want a pattern to distract from the beauty of the desert surroundings or create too much busyness.

A pool with an edge decorated with cindered olive zellige tile.

what were your design goals?

we took major design inspiration from our travels to morocco, italy, mexico and santa fe, new mexico. we wanted to bring our favorite styles from these locations and blend them together with our own flair to create a calm and unique oasis in the desert of joshua tree.

our colors are very tonal and reflect the desert’s natural color palette. it is beautiful to watch the interior and exterior landscape change colors from sunrise to sunset.

tell us about the installation process. any tips?

the installation process was simple. because we spaced out our zellige tiles, there was no need for cutting. we wanted the square zellige to remain in the same pattern without cuts.

this made the installation process very easy and with no mess. we recommend sealing both the tiles and the grout for the pool in order to protect and maintain the tile.

how did you choose your grout color?

we matched our pool waterline grout to the sandstone pavers that surround our pool. we wanted the grout to blend so that the tiles took “center stage”.

anything you would do differently?

no. during the process there is always doubt as to whether you have made the right decision, especially with so many beautiful tile selections. we stuck with our gut and we love the outcome of our design and the tiles we chose.

take a look at more images of desert wild, including a unique installation of clé zellige in riverbed above the kitchen stove range.