By Dave Hoffman
I’d hazard the guess that most experienced pool designers and builders have run into this scenario: The clients want a pool, and they also want a spa – but not just any spa will do.
Through the years, these clients have been in the attached spas of friends’ inground concrete pools, but this is not what they want. That’s because they’ve also experienced portable spas and prefer their performance: superior jet action, diverse seating arrays and options, more features and
By Shane LeBlanc
Sometimes, things come together in just the right way.
I’d been called in to a multimillion-dollar property with a large, three-year-old house on it, right next to the Chattahoochee River on the northwestern fringe of Atlanta. There was an existing pool, but the homeowners wanted something new – a composition that befitted the home’s elegance and said more about
By Brian Davis
As a general contractor, I am steadily bombarded by information about new products that claim they will forever change the way I look at whatever category the novel gizmo occupies. This sort of marketing has turned me into a skeptic whenever I see something new come along, basically because experience and communication with other contractors have showed me that few of these novelties ever fully live up to the hype.
Some contractors respond to this slippery situation by sticking solely with what they know, which, in my view, is
By Jimmy Reed
Through many years of applying small pieces of tile to the complex sorts of surfaces found in pools, spas and other waterfeatures, I find most of the challenges (and opportunities) come in figuring out intersections – that is, places where planes meet, contours change and, in general, a whole lot of attention needs to be paid to getting things just right visually.
We at Rock Solid Tile (Calabasas, Calif.) have been fortunate to find ourselves involved in many projects in which
By Que Hales, Doug Latta & Kim Skinner
There are few things prettier than the classic sky blue that results from the combination of white plaster and clear water. In recent times, however, amazing and even startling colors and color combinations are appearing within swimming pools and other watershapes courtesy of either integrally colored plaster, white plaster paste coupled with colored aggregate or colored paste with a colored aggregate.
Various textures are also available courtesy of these finishes, with surfaces ranging from
By Kurt Kraisinger
As a landscape architect, I generally approach projects with a balanced view of a space’s potential. I weigh all of the possible elements in the prospective design, envisioning pools, spas, decking, lighting, shade structures and plantings as well as the flow from the inside of the home out into the backyard and the uses to which the homeowner intends to put the space.
Every once in a while, however, the unique features of
By Ian McGregor
The modern concept of “outdoor living” took hold a long time ago – the very first time a homeowner set up a barbecue grill somewhere near the backyard pool, then figured out a way to enjoy a family meal al fresco.
This sort of casual and mostly seasonal approach held on for decades, but approaches to outdoor living took a giant leap forward in the 1990s, when swimming pools started being joined in increasing numbers of backyards by
By Paolo Benedetti
For quality watershapes, there’s nothing like a finish made up of mosaic glass tile: The material has a great look and a spectacular texture, comes in amazing colors and offers a full range of visual effects, from complete transparency to shimmering iridescence. It’s the perfect crowning touch for an outstanding project if the budget is right – and that’s where the trouble often starts.
Through the years, I’ve inspected more than 40 projects in which
By Tanr Ross
It’s a small backyard with a Texas-size easement – and a good thing that I like challenges, because designing a project for this outdoors-loving family in Katy was an exercise in making a whole bunch of ideas fit comfortably within an unusually constrained space.
As we learned, their gated-community property is separated from the street directly behind it by a tall boundary wall. This meant that there was no backing parcel to share
By Jimmy Reed
Even after years of operation in the tile-application business, we still find fresh challenges and new sources of pride in what we do. I think it’s primarily because we spend so much of our time focusing on fine details – the little touches that turn routine work into creative exercises and repetitive tasks into ongoing sparks of inspiration.
A case in point is the huge job on display in this article: The three watershapes encompass vast square footage that includes fields of
By Brian Van Bower
Working on a wide range of projects in a wide range of locales for a broad range of clients is an interesting way to make a living, I have to say, but in some cases the projects we participate in are so high end that we know we’ll only ever experience the finished product in pictures.
A case in point is the Ani Villas, a resort property in Dikwella on the southern edge of Sri Lanka, a large island off the southern coast of India. It’s a water lover’s paradise, with 270-degree views of the Indian Ocean as well as grounds dotted by multiple watershapes: two large main pools, numerous small private plunges for certain guest rooms, a pair of pools for kids, a weeping wall to greet visitors and a river/cascade system through portions of the property.
It’s an amazing place, and I’m proud to say we
By Ben Lasseter
When outsiders think of Texas, they very often assume that it’s flat as a pancake with no topographical distinctions to consider. That may be true in some parts of our big state, but where I live and work in the vicinity of Austin, there are areas that offer great views and have attracted developers who are intent on using those prospects to full advantage.
The spec home featured in this article is an example of this trend: It’s in Westlake Hills, a small neighborhood within Austin’s city limits that affords some amazing views of