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Designing a watershape to complement a dynamic fountain sculpture is mostly about viewpoints, writes Brian Van Bower. But fitting it into the context of a larger and equally vibrant entertainment space? As he discusses here, that calls for thinking theatrically as well.
Designing a watershape to complement a dynamic fountain sculpture is mostly about viewpoints, writes Brian Van Bower.  But fitting it into the context of a larger and equally vibrant entertainment space?  As he discusses here, that calls for thinking theatrically as well.
By Brian Van Bower

Through the years, I’ve come across all sorts of clients with unique motivations and interesting available spaces.  My task in collaborating with each of them centers on carefully evaluating the situation, sorting through various sets of possibilities and, ultimately, delivering a design that hits the mark on all possible levels.

This project, however, was a bit different from most:  The client had acquired

Working with sodium bicarbonate in starting up a newly finished watershape involves more than turning on a tap, concedes Kim Skinner. But once a barrel is prepared, the method is simplicity itself -- and truly kind to new plaster, quartz and pebble surfaces in pools and spas.
Working with sodium bicarbonate in starting up a newly finished watershape involves more than turning on a tap, concedes Kim Skinner.  But once a barrel is prepared, the method is simplicity itself -- and truly kind to new plaster, quartz and pebble surfaces in pools and spas.
By Kim Skinner

WaterShapes recently published a pair of my articles on techniques for filling newly plastered swimming pools with water and starting them on the path to a long, successful service life.  

In the second of those articles (click here), the focus was on the bicarb start-up method and the effect this approach has on the establishment of a durable plaster, pebble or quartz finish.  But rather than being a step-by-step description of how the bicarb start-up works on site, the article was about

Achieving perfection in an all-glass-tile pool/spa project is always a team effort. But in a project as elaborate as this one, notes Jimmy Reed, the nature of the material offers special challenges as he and his expert tile installers work to make the visual magic happen.
Achieving perfection in an all-glass-tile pool/spa project is always a team effort.  But in a project as elaborate as this one, notes Jimmy Reed, the nature of the material offers special challenges as he and his expert tile installers work to make the visual magic happen.
By Jimmy Reed

Every once in a while, the stars align and we’re given the opportunity to pursue and attain perfection in applying glass tile to a beautifully designed and built swimming pool and spa.  The project illustrated here is one such case:  Everything about it just snapped into place.

First, we were asked to join the design team at an early stage, so we had a good level of input on how the pool was to be laid out and its interior surfaces formed; second, the watershapes fit

10-year logoBy David Tisherman

‘A big part of properly designing watershapes to meet specific client needs has to do with understanding how they’ll be using the body of water,’ wrote David Tisherman at the start of his Details column in January 2006.  

‘I always explore this issue with my clients, which is why, for

A designer's responsibility for the look of a project doesn't vanish when a client has special needs when it comes to access to the water, writes Paolo Benedetti. Here, he runs through some options that ease the way while pleasing the eye.
A designer's responsibility for the look of a project doesn't vanish when a client has special needs when it comes to access to the water, writes Paolo Benedetti. Here, he runs through some options that ease the way while pleasing the eye.
By Paolo Benedetti

Designing swimming pools and spas for people with disabilities is a special calling for watershapers:  The process gets you involved with sets of capabilities and physical limitations that force you to think beyond the usual; it also puts you in gut-level contact with the needs of those who crave involvement with water and its potential to ease pain, make aquatic exercise possible and, via simple buoyancy, make gravity less of

Restoring the pool and adding a spa to a classic Mid-Century Modern home took care and restraint, observes Jimmy Reed, But his task was made easier by an insightful, cooperative client with excellent tastes, a eye for detail and a healthy spirit of adventure.
Restoring the pool and adding a spa to a classic Mid-Century Modern home took care and restraint, observes Jimmy Reed,  But his task was made easier by an insightful, cooperative client with excellent tastes, a eye for detail and a healthy spirit of adventure.
By Jimmy Reed

In the course of my career, I’ve worked with blue-chip clients from rock stars and professional athletes to Hollywood celebrities and business tycoons.  It may be my sparkling personality, but, realistically, I think it has more to do with the way I have with glass tile and custom mosaics associated with beautiful swimming pools.

My company, Rock Solid Tile of Calabasas, Calif., has worked all over Los Angeles through the years, taking its

When things go wrong with rooftop pools and spas, the potential for collateral damage is so great that things get urgent in a hurry -- a point Rob Holmer illustrates through two case studies in which basic errors led to big hassles in one instance and demolition in the other.
When things go wrong with rooftop pools and spas, the potential for collateral damage is so great that things get urgent in a hurry -- a point Rob Holmer illustrates through two case studies in which basic errors led to big hassles in one instance and demolition in the other.
By Rob Holmer

Rooftop pools and other similarly elevated swimming pool structures present unique sets of considerations that must be thoroughly addressed by anyone involved in their design and construction.

As was discussed in the first article in this two-part series (“Elevated Engineering,” click here), it is common for these watershapes to be constructed inside a concrete vault or supported on a concrete structural slab – either of which is usually

5-yrsBy Dave Peterson

‘There is no doubt that the recent wave of legislation, codes and standards regarding suction entrapment has caused confusion – not just in the pool and spa industry, but also among lawmakers, inspectors and contractors as well as pool and spa owners.’  That’s how Dave Peterson opened his Currents column in November 2010.  

‘Our firm and others have been retained by numerous owners, contractors and maintenance companies to

Five years ago, Kim Skinner wrote about what was involved in making pool plaster durable. A lot has come to light and been studied and evaluated since then, he says -- more than enough to warrant preparation of a detailed, side-by-side update on the subject.
Five years ago, Kim Skinner wrote about what was involved in making pool plaster durable.  A lot has come to light and been studied and evaluated since then, he says -- more than enough to warrant preparation of a detailed, side-by-side update on the subject.
By Kim Skinner

In December 2010, WaterShapes published “How to Make Durable Pool Plaster,” an article filled with what I knew about making reliable, discoloration-free pool plaster – including basic information about both proper and improper plastering practices.

It should come as no surprise that, since then, research has continued and our understanding of issues involved in the proper mixing and application of these cementitious finishes has continued to grow.

This article will cover these developments, discussing in greater detail the

Rooftop swimming pools and spas offer breathtaking views, writes Rob Holmer, but they also tend to come with an array of unique challenges. Here, he discusses how knowing the forces at work on elevated concrete shells will help when it comes to getting things just right.
Rooftop swimming pools and spas offer breathtaking views, writes Rob Holmer, but they also tend to come with an array of unique challenges.  Here, he discusses how knowing the forces at work on elevated concrete shells will help when it comes to getting things just right.
By Rob Holmer

I had a college professor who was fond of saying, “There are only two types of concrete in this world:  The first is concrete that is cracked, and the second is concrete that is going to crack.”  

That’s a good laugh line, but the tough thing about it is that it’s also true.  This is why the engineering design procedures for all reinforced concrete (pursuant to ACI 318 and 350, which are the key American Concrete Institute standards for concrete structures) allow for

If there's one big mistake on a pool/spa installation, writes Scott Cohen, correcting the situation can be painful. But if there are seven major errors -- as there were in the ill-fated project discussed here -- you can bet the pain will also include close encounters with attorneys.
If there's one big mistake on a pool/spa installation, writes Scott Cohen, correcting the situation can be painful.  But if there are seven major errors -- as there were in the ill-fated project discussed here -- you can bet the pain will also include close encounters with attorneys.
By Scott Cohen

The lessons we’ve covered in this long sequence of articles have typically revolved around single, key errors and have generally called for commonsense (and often simple) remedies.  In the world of pool construction, however, there are situations in which the problems are far more complex, often rising from multiple missteps and clusters of intertwined failures.

This is one of those situations, and it has to do with a basic pool/spa combination in a brand-new housing development.  Although the pool contractor charged only $35,000 for the installation, the associated legal

'Breathtaking' is the best word to describe both this project and the leap Jimmy Reed took in persuading the client that the tile-installation part of this huge job -- which was to involve application of thousands of square feet of glass tile to ten unique pools -- was just a piece of cake.
'Breathtaking' is the best word to describe both this project and the leap Jimmy Reed took in persuading the client that the tile-installation part of this huge job -- which was to involve application of thousands of square feet of glass tile to ten unique pools -- was just a piece of cake.
By Jimmy Reed

Several years back, the luxury car maker Lexus described its corporate mission as the relentless pursuit of perfection, and I’m willing to step up and say that working with glass tile on the shapely, detailed interior surfaces of swimming pools and spas is just that sort of pursuit.

That’s not saying we hit the mark with placement of every single piece of tile across surfaces that frequently cover thousands of square feet, but we have

When he builds custom pools for fully engaged homeowners, Randy Beard usually has no problems with setting and exceeding expectations. But here's a case where the client just couldn't absorb a key message about how to use the pool -- and therein hangs a tale.
When he builds custom pools for fully engaged homeowners, Randy Beard usually has no problems with setting and exceeding expectations.  But here's a case where the client just couldn't absorb a key message about how to use the pool -- and therein hangs a tale.
By Randy Beard

This project is wonderful in so many ways that it’s tough to believe our clients could be anything less than perfectly satisfied – but, surprisingly, they’ve had a bone to pick with me.

It’s just gorgeous:  A great shape, beautifully detailed tile, a perimeter-overflow system augmented with a vanishing edge, underwater speakers, lush landscaping – a perfect Hawaiian-style plunge for

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