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Fading colored plaster is quite common, note Kim Skinner, Que Hales and Doug Latta. But it can be prevented with relative ease, they add, through awareness of a handful of factors driving color loss -- the first step in making sure problems don't arise with your clients' pools.
Fading colored plaster is quite common, note Kim Skinner, Que Hales and Doug Latta.  But it can be prevented with relative ease, they add, through awareness of a handful of factors driving color loss -- the first step in making sure problems don't arise with your clients' pools.
By Kim Skinner, Que Hales & Doug Latta

Having a beautiful pool with a colored surface, especially one with a quartz or pebble plaster finish, is a popular choice among pool owners, and understandably so. The color adds ambiance to the setting and can make the water wonderfully attractive and inviting. That’s why pool owners are willing to pay extra to have that special color enhance their water and by extension the entire backyard.

With that investment in aesthetics, consumers rightfully expect the attractive appearance they’ve paid for to last a long time. In turn, builders, remodelers, and plasterers are motivated to provide colorfast surfaces that endure the dynamic swimming pool environment. Unfortunately, as we all know, that’s not always the case – colors do sometimes fade.

Because the interior pool surface is such a dominating

Typical of Scottsdale, Ariz. this project featured a stunning contemporary design in an ultra high-end neighborhood. The watershapes included an eye-popping rooftop pool/spa combination, a massive entryway-reflecting pond and a host of precise construction details. Making it all work, explains Rich Chafey, required detailed computer modeling, and multiple layers of waterproofing.
Typical of Scottsdale, Ariz. this project featured a stunning contemporary design in an ultra high-end neighborhood. The watershapes included an eye-popping rooftop pool/spa combination, a massive entryway-reflecting pond and a host of precise construction details. Making it all work, explains Rich Chafey, required detailed computer modeling, and multiple layers of waterproofing.
By Rick Chafey

Elevated watershapes present challenges you don’t typically encounter on inground projects. That was certainly the case with this ambitious residential installation where the rooftop pool and entryway waterfeatures were all integral to the home’s luxurious, ultra-contemporary design.

We were part of a project team that included a custom homebuilder, a company we had known of for years but had never worked with before because of a long working relationship the company had with another local pool builder. This project was unlike any that the pool company had ever tackled before and was

Solving tough technical challenges often takes cooperation and collaboration in a team setting, says builder William Drakeley. Here, he explains how this award-winning project required innovative solutions to overcome a set of uniquely tricky hurdles.
Solving tough technical challenges often takes cooperation and collaboration in a team setting, says builder William Drakeley. Here, he explains how this award-winning project required innovative solutions to overcome a set of uniquely tricky hurdles.
By William Drakeley

It’s a swimming pool that doesn’t exist anyplace else, one that stretched our skill sets to find creative solutions to surprisingly steep challenges. Last year, the project was awarded the Northeast Swimming Pool Association Outstanding Achievement Award, a source of pride given the project’s high level of difficulty.

The project is located on the Connecticut coast overlooking Long Island Sound on a beautiful 10-acre property in an upscale neighborhood. The house is brand new, built the same time as the pool. We were brought into the process by

Chemistry may be the big concern for service techs, but it's builders who determine the method of treatment during the equipment selection process. Builder/servicer (and former chef) Steve Kenny believes those decisions set the table for creating what he calls 'gourmet water.'
Chemistry may be the big concern for service techs, but it's builders who determine the method of treatment during the equipment selection process. Builder/servicer (and former chef) Steve Kenny believes those decisions set the table for creating what he calls 'gourmet water.'
By Steve Kenny

As a designer/builder I openly admit that I am completely obsessed with water quality. A big part of why that’s so is because I started out servicing pools. In fact, I really only moved into building them because I was so appalled by how builders in our area completely ignored the treatment side of the equation.

It was so bad that I’d say the majority of pools we serviced had some form of shortcoming in the system that impacted water quality – undersized filters, only one skimmer, no chemical treatment technology, etc. – all which made

This all-glass-tile project was about to start on the wrong foot, notes Jimmy Reed. But he became involved at a point when changing directions was still possible -- and the results are not only beautiful but gave his design-oriented clients just what they'd been after from the get-go.
This all-glass-tile project was about to start on the wrong foot, notes Jimmy Reed.  But he became involved at a point when changing directions was still possible -- and the results are not only beautiful but gave his design-oriented clients just what they'd been after from the get-go.
By Jimmy Reed

This was a project that might easily have run off the rails.

First, the glass tile selected by the interior designer wasn’t appropriate for pool applications. It might have been lovely as a backsplash in an interior kitchen or bathroom, but it came with no solid information about its source or pedigree that would have made it a wise choice for use in a critical outdoor application.

Second, the tile was rectangular and, at one-and-a-quarter by five inches, was too big for its intended use as an all-tile finish for a complex pool and spa – particularly given

Set atop a mountain on a beautiful bump in the Atlantic Ocean, this project jumped countless supply hurdles and survived two hurricanes while under construction -- thereby proving to Shane LeBlanc that anything is possible if you step back and learn to live with 'island time.'
Set atop a mountain on a beautiful bump in the Atlantic Ocean, this project jumped countless supply hurdles and survived two hurricanes while under construction -- thereby proving to Shane LeBlanc that anything is possible if you step back and learn to live with 'island time.'
By Shane LeBlanc

In recent years, I’ve become increasingly focused on landing projects on St. Thomas, St. John and a bunch of other paradisal surface eruptions off the east coast of North America: I like the people, enjoy the climate and truly love the laid-back island culture I find even among the high-end clients who call on me to design their poolscapes.

Quite often, the settings are the far side of spectacular, too, with views of multi-hued coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean stretching out for miles, often interrupted by

As soon as he arrived on site, Jason Brownlee knew the project would be all about the amazing views. But his clients had more on their minds, asking him focus just as much on entertainment and distinctive gathering spaces as on maximizing the home's obvious visual assets.
As soon as he arrived on site, Jason Brownlee knew the project would be all about the amazing views.  But his clients had more on their minds, asking him focus just as much on entertainment and distinctive gathering spaces as on maximizing the home's obvious visual assets.
By Jason Brownlee

From the start, this project was all about the view: The property sits above Lake Moumelle about 30 minutes outside Little Rock, Ark., in a small town called Roland. The lake serves as the primary reservoir for the state capital, so the waters are as serene and pristine as can be – no fishing, no boats, just thousands of acres of uninterrupted serenity.

We at J. Brownlee Design (Nashville, Tenn.) had been asked to design the exteriors for a new home that was then under construction on the site. The homeowners, a couple with two children, and wanted a space that would be

The yard was quite long and narrow, and so was the tightly confined access path. But Scott Cohen has enough experience in dealing with compact backyards that he's always ready, as he demonstrates here, to deliver a design that suits the space -- and his client's expectations.
The yard was quite long and narrow, and so was the tightly confined access path.  But Scott Cohen has enough experience in dealing with compact backyards that he's always ready, as he demonstrates here, to deliver a design that suits the space -- and his client's expectations.
By Scott Cohen

It’s a class of projects I’m coming across more and more often these days: Clients with homes in new developments want swimming pools and spas for their backyards, but the buildings are so big and consume so much of the available real estate that finding places to put worthy watershapes is a real challenge.

The difficulty, of course, is that these homeowners are just like the owners of larger properties in wanting more than just pools and spas these days: They’re thinking about generous seating and dining areas, outdoor

As a veteran watershape engineer, Dave Peterson has reviewed plans for countless vanishing-edge projects. Along the way, he's developed a preference for a specific approach to angling the top of the edge wall, offering guidance here that applies in nearly every case.
As a veteran watershape engineer, Dave Peterson has reviewed plans for countless vanishing-edge projects.  Along the way, he's developed a preference for a specific approach to angling the top of the edge wall, offering guidance here that applies in nearly every case.
By Dave Peterson

There are two common options when it’s time to design the wall for a vanishing-edge swimming pool: cut it in or cut it away.

With a cut-in approach, the top of the wall is cut down into the pool so that the water surface extends to the outside edge of the wall – effectively submerging it even when the water is not flowing over the edge. By contrast, a cut-away wall is one where the top of the wall angles down and away from the pool so that the water surface terminates at the inside edge of the wall. This results in the

When these clients originally made contact, they were after a renovation. But once Ryan Hughes saw the site and the plan and considered what the homeowners really wanted, he persuaded them to start from scratch and work with him in creating the bayfront poolscape of their dreams.
When these clients originally made contact, they were after a renovation.  But once Ryan Hughes saw the site and the plan and considered what the homeowners really wanted, he persuaded them to start from scratch and work with him in creating the bayfront poolscape of their dreams.
By Ryan Hughes

This project started with an unexpected phone call.

The clients, who live in Iowa much of the year but have a second home on the water’s edge in Tampa Bay, had spotted a Wall Street Journal article in which a photograph of a swimming pool with a “floating” fire pit had been included. They loved the look and figured they could use it to dress up the poolscape that had come with their Florida retreat – if only they could find a local company to do it!

Looking through the text, she spotted a reference to the fact that we at Ryan Hughes|Design|Build had designed and competed the project that

Presented with great views, willing clients and a nearly blank slate, Rick Chafey took full advantage of the opportunities the site offered while also providing the homeowners with one-of-a-kind details that captured the essence of their ambitions for a new hilltop home.
Presented with great views, willing clients and a nearly blank slate, Rick Chafey took full advantage of the opportunities the site offered while also providing the homeowners with one-of-a-kind details that captured the essence of their ambitions for a new hilltop home.
By Rick Chafey

There are three things I particularly like about this project: The first is that it was a referral through Skip Phillips, a co-founder of Genesis and one of my mentors as I’ve gained experience as a watershaper. He had worked on a project for the clients in Canada, and they asked if he knew of a good pool company in the Phoenix area. Backed up by our portfolio and reputation, Phillips’s recommendation made us the right choice.

The second is that the site had so

Called in to clean up a mess made by another pool contractor, Grant Smith found that the problems were worse than met the eye. But he still managed to save the day, pulling together a lovely pool, spa and deck that aligned closely with the client's original desires.
Called in to clean up a mess made by another pool contractor, Grant Smith found that the problems were worse than met the eye.  But he still managed to save the day, pulling together a lovely pool, spa and deck that aligned closely with the client's original desires.
By Grant Smith

In the course of my watershaping career, I’ve come to divide remodeling projects into two distinct categories.

The first is what I call cosmetic refurbishing. Here, all a homeowner usually wants is a superficial updating of a pool’s or spa’s appearance or performance through application of a new interior finish, some fresh waterline tile, maybe new coping and decking and, often, new equipment or perhaps a poolside waterfeature. I avoid these projects as energetically as possible because, typically, the challenges are thin and there’s little room for creativity.

The second category encompasses what I call

12 4 farley video artBy Mike Farley

I could easily have done a whole sequence in this video series about materials used to line the insides of pools, spas and other watershapes. From plaster and paint to pebbles and hydraulic terrazzo (and more), there are many paths my clients can take in deciding what to do with interior surfaces.

But really, there’s only one finish I want to discuss as these What Is It? videos hit

'ASK THE MASTERS' SHOWCASE

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