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The clients wanted to add a pool to the existing features of their large backyard. Kurt Kraisinger was happy to oblige, but he had a grander vision for reorganizing their entire space around a core fire feature and had to figure out a way to persuade them to come along for the ride.
The clients wanted to add a pool to the existing features of their large backyard.  Kurt Kraisinger was happy to oblige, but he had a grander vision for reorganizing their entire space around a core fire feature and had to figure out a way to persuade them to come along for the ride.
By Kurt Kraisinger

It’s been my good fortune through the years to have worked with some wonderful clients who’ve inspired me to take the extra step, think in different ways and do everything possible to make them happy.

This family was on that level: They love entertaining friends and relations, yet more than anything, the four of them enjoy spending time together – a throwback to the “Leave It to Beaver” spirit of the 1950s and ’60s. At every turn, they were easygoing and patient in ways that made

When the homeowner suddenly (and completely) changed his mind about this project's direction, it was easy to slide into a new groove, says Andrew Kaner, simply because the fresh start offered so many opportunities to transform the pool, deck and views from so-so to spectacular.
When the homeowner suddenly (and completely) changed his mind about this project's direction, it was easy to slide into a new groove, says Andrew Kaner, simply because the fresh start offered so many opportunities to transform the pool, deck and views from so-so to spectacular.
By Andrew Kaner

Did you ever have a client who knew exactly what he or she wanted in a project, only to change direction once he or she heard the price? That happened with the poolscape discussed in this article – but with an unusual twist.

The homeowner, a prominent South Florida businessperson, had purchased the waterfront property with its existing pool. And he wasn’t finished: He also purchased two neighboring homes, flattening one to make way for a sculpture garden and setting up the other as staff housing. When we saw the site for the first time, the main residence was

Taking a chance with someone who wasn't yet his client, Skip Phillips sketched up an alternative to a proposed pool renovation and ended up completely transforming a large backyard space. It was suddenly a major project -- and then came a long list of efficiency-oriented details!
Taking a chance with someone who wasn't yet his client, Skip Phillips sketched up an alternative to a proposed pool renovation and ended up completely transforming a large backyard space.  It was suddenly a major project -- and then came a long list of efficiency-oriented details!
By Skip Phillips

I’ve noticed through the years that, from my perspective at least, some of my favorite projects come with the best stories. The poolscape seen here is definitely one of these.

The client started things off by purchasing a house in an ultra-high-end neighborhood, then personalized it with all sorts of details, materials and finishes that turned the existing house into an extremely comfortable Country French-style estate. The one element it lacked, he figured, was a nice swimming pool.

While he was considering his options, the home next door – one with

Working on a steeply sloping site above a Texas lake, Mike Farley ran into a bizarre local rule that knocked him back a couple steps -- literally. But that episode didn't keep him from providing his clients and their kids with more fun and features than they had ever imagined possible.
Working on a steeply sloping site above a Texas lake, Mike Farley ran into a bizarre local rule that knocked him back a couple steps -- literally.  But that episode didn't keep him from providing his clients and their kids with more fun and features than they had ever imagined possible.
By Mike Farley

One of the important lessons I learned as a young watershaper is that I am not a surveyor.

Working on a pool design in the hills south of California’s Napa Valley many, many years ago, I found myself on a sloping lot, broke out my line level and figured I could, with some patience and care, map all of the relevant elevations and develop a suitable design based on my observations of the contours.

As it turned out, I was

The pool and its spa may have simple shapes, says Jimmy Reed, but when they're finished as boldly as these are with glass and stone tile and custom-cut granite edging, you learn fast that basic contours pose unique challenges when it comes to producing visually flawless surfaces.
The pool and its spa may have simple shapes, says Jimmy Reed, but when they're finished as boldly as these are with glass and stone tile and custom-cut granite edging, you learn fast that basic contours pose unique challenges when it comes to producing visually flawless surfaces.
By Jimmy Reed

If I’ve learned anything through the years, it’s that a successful, truly satisfying project generally requires a good client and, quite often, a great project team.  What the good client was after in the project discussed here was pretty simple – that is, an oval-shaped pool to go along with a large, oval-shaped shade structure another contractor was to install alongside it.  

Making a fine start, the client called in Skip Phillips of

5 2 farley video artBy Mike Farley

Safety is never far from my mind as I design for my clients, but as important as it is, it’s seldom the only thing on my mind as a project comes together.

In fact, balancing the need for features we must include for safety’s sake with our everyday passion about never compromising on aesthetics is something I consider with every detail.  Whether it’s the extent to which

The position and basic shape of the pool may have been predetermined, writes Scott Cummings, but the visual drama he added with his finish selections and a perimeter-overflow/vanishing-edge design made all the difference in optimizing the site's cool water-on-water views.
The position and basic shape of the pool may have been predetermined, writes Scott Cummings, but the visual drama he added with his finish selections and a perimeter-overflow/vanishing-edge design made all the difference in optimizing the site's cool water-on-water views.
By Scott Cummings

When we get involved in backyard projects, it’s rare these days that we don’t have a fairly high level of creative control:  We’re the ones who figure out where to place the pool, what shape it should have, how it should be finished and what should surround it with respect to the hardscape and landscaping and even the furnishings. 

That’s why it’s a bit funny that this is the second in a pair of projects we’ve recently published through WaterShapes in which many of the fundamental shots were called by others – in this case by a talented home-construction firm that brought us in after the footprint for the pool and spa had been

Working atop a rocky prominence through a harsh winter on a short schedule? It was enough to make Kurt Kraisinger take a unique approach to the project, drawing support from near and far to get things done -- from extensive site preparation through to on-time completion.
Working atop a rocky prominence through a harsh winter on a short schedule?  It was enough to make Kurt Kraisinger take a unique approach to the project, drawing support from near and far to get things done -- from extensive site preparation through to on-time completion.
By Kurt Kraisinger

It’s strange how things can work out with a project.  

In this instance, we were called in to design the outdoor environment to go with a couple’s weekend/vacation home on the water of Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees in northeastern Oklahoma.  It was a beautiful, inspiring setting, with the home situated at the end of a peninsula that reached out into the lake, and it quickly became a favorite gathering spot for a couple generations of a fun-loving family.

We developed the design based on a few parameters offered by the clients as well as the nature of the incredible site and the distinctive

This wasn't one of those cases where a popped pool could be coaxed back into place. Instead, Shane LeBlanc had to remove not just one, but two old shells -- and set up a new system while easing any fears city officials might have had about their watershape ever moving again.
This wasn't one of those cases where a popped pool could be coaxed back into place.  Instead, Shane LeBlanc had to remove not just one, but two old shells -- and set up a new system while easing any fears city officials might have had about their watershape ever moving again.
By Shane LeBlanc

There are few things in the world of watershaping as dramatic or devastating as a popped pool.  On their way up out of the ground, they’ll shatter decks and coping, break pipes and conduits and, often, leave cracked shells behind and generally make a terrible mess.  They also lead to one big first question from the owner:  “So can you make it go back down?” 

I’m pleased to report that none of the pools I’ve built has ever risen above its assigned grade, but I live and work in the south, often in areas where

The unique, Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home had a lot going for it, but it needed a truly daring addition to reach its full potential. William Drakeley was more than ready to meet the need -- despite a steep slope, a tricky stone ledge and a bold, multi-phase approach to construction.
The unique, Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home had a lot going for it, but it needed a truly daring addition to reach its full potential.  William Drakeley was more than ready to meet the need -- despite a steep slope, a tricky stone ledge and a bold, multi-phase approach to construction.
By William Drakeley

The masters of 20th-century residential architecture have a profound influence on design to this day. From Charles and Henry Greene through to Frank Lloyd Wright and on to John Lautner and many others, these giants of design continue to push modern interpreters on to new levels of excellence in concept, form and execution.

Among all of the spectacular houses these architects built, few speak to us with greater energy than Wright’s Fallingwater, a spectacular home he designed in 1935 in Mill Run, Pa. Cantilevered over a stream flowing to a dramatic waterfall, the project has inspired envy among generations of architects and homeowners who’d love to capture even a portion of its special magic in another setting.

This is a tale about one such attempt, a house built about 20 years ago with

12 6 17JC0For years, John Cohen has dedicated himself to meeting the needs of clients averse to using traditional sanitizers.  As he reports in this compilation of three recent articles -- gathered together here for your forwarding convenience -- his quest is all about mirroring natural systems.

 

 

It's not how he usually works, notes Ben Lasseter. But on this occasion, the opportunity to bring someone else's exceptional design to fruition made taking a secondary role the right move -- even with the awkward scheduling, unusual access issues and a few tricky alignments.
It's not how he usually works, notes Ben Lasseter.  But on this occasion, the opportunity to bring someone else's exceptional design to fruition made taking a secondary role the right move -- even with the awkward scheduling, unusual access issues and a few tricky alignments.
By Ben Lasseter

In most of our projects, we do the lion’s share of the work related to our clients’ backyards. We’ll design and build the pool and spa, set up the landscape and take care of all of the components of outdoor living from laying decks to installing outdoor kitchens.

We like having that level of control over exterior environments, and our clients seem to appreciate the single-source service we’re able to provide. Every once in a while, however, we’ll come across a project so outstanding that we’re perfectly happy to join a great team, interpret someone else’s plans and

Perfection in tile application is an attainable goal, writes Jimmy Reed, but as a look inside this magnificent project conveys, achieving that ambition takes time, patience, skill, precision and a day-to-day awareness on site that every last detail can (and will) make all the difference.
Perfection in tile application is an attainable goal, writes Jimmy Reed, but as a look inside this magnificent project conveys, achieving that ambition takes time, patience, skill, precision and a day-to-day awareness on site that every last detail can (and will) make all the difference.
By Jimmy Reed

Many of the projects we work on could best be classified as show-stoppers: big, elaborate installations with undulating surfaces, multiple planes intersecting at odd angles and elaborate mosaic patterns – interior finishes with a level of technical difficulty that makes lots of tile applicators head in the other direction at a rapid clip.

We at Rock Solid Tile (Calabasas, Calif.) enjoy just that sort of technical challenge. It’s why we invest so much time in training, take our work so seriously and keep expanding the range of what we can accomplish for our clients. But truth be told, we occasionally like tackling installations where

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