Write At Home

Posted online: May 2015

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We moved to Ojai because—let’s face it—I was becoming somewhat of a joke. All the years that I lived in Los Angeles, I had chickens in my backyard and horses at a nearby ranch. It was like I was pretending to live in the country. For decades, I was trying to reach back for the idyllic places that Malibu and the English countryside were in the 1970s when I was raised.

Ojai became our home because of the wonderful community and space it offers. Finally landing in a more natural setting has enlivened our creativity and enjoyment of life as a family. Even my 21-year-old son, Wolf Fleetwood-Ross, loves to spend his weekends here with us.

I’ve manifested a space that enables artists—including myself—to Screen Shot 2015-04-15 at 11.58.00 AMcreate and expand, relax and enjoy. We pretty much have an open-door policy, so I am able to enjoy friends who come here to find peace and, of course, take part in the hilarious adventures—or rather, misadventures—that come along with having a small farm. I am fortunate to have had a myriad of artists, painters, designers, writers, and musicians stay with us, which makes for an interesting exchange as they take advantage of the special things that this environment has to offer.

 

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 WATER WORKS

If a somewhat eccentric and animated Englishman by the name of Anthony Archer-Wills, archerwills.com, calls inquiring whether you’d like him to design a natural pool for your home, you’d be well-advised to say “Yes, please.” Archer-Wills was the subject of an Animal Planet reality series The Pool Master, which followed the globally recognized water garden designer who’s known for crafting waterfalls, authentic-looking streams, and pools that blend into their surrounding environment. The producers of the show were searching for anyone who was game to let him work his BCP_2445-Editmagic, and Amelia Fleetwood was willing to take the plunge. “He’s sort of a genius,” she says.

The Pool Master chronicled the construction of Fleetwood’s backyard swimming hole, which is fed by two separate but connected filtration ponds, a design that both eliminated the need for chlorine or saline to purify the water yet still maintained a pristine swimming environment. “I was wary at first, because I thought having a natural pool meant I would be swimming in reedy or grassy water, like a lake,” says Fleetwood, who didn’t wish to swim with flora, “but the way it’s designed, the filtration areas are two separate ponds that are stocked with vegetation and small, algae-eating insects that clean the water.” The result is unconventional, beautiful, and organic. “Out here in Ojai, water is precious,” she says. “And this pool feels incredibly special.”

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[SPRING 2015]

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