Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The pool design process

I frequently receive emails about old posts of mine, asking what I ended up deciding to do about various design decisions that I blogged about.  As the weather started to turn warmer in May, I began to get a lot of pool related questions, mostly about what color I chose for the walls of my pool.

I must admit, selecting the pool color was a very big decision!  I had never really thought about the fact that the color of a pool needs to be selected.  I wasn’t too involved in the design decisions about the shape and size of the pool (I deferred to my designer, architect, and landscape architect), as my clear request was clean and simple and rectangular, but once the pool color discussions began, I went into full force investigation mode. 
Posting about the pool color decision last year was incredibly helpful to me (click here to see original post).  I had all sorts of great comments from readers, as well as numerous emails with the experiences of people who had built pools all around the country.  I even got an email from a reader who lived within 2 miles of me, and she invited me to see her pool, which was one of the colors we were considering.  I took her up on the offer, and seeing her pool was incredibly helpful!

We were also able to see a few pools that our pool company installed, which was also helpful.  Although it is nice to be able to see pictures online of various pool colors, nothing really beats seeing a pool color in person.

In the hopes that my pool research and eventual decisions might help someone else, here are some pictures of my pool and some information on the design process that was involved in creating the pool.

Here is the same view that I posted in the fall, but taken yesterday in full summer mode!  The trees in the back and the elevation of the lot (Atlanta is a very hilly place) create a feel of complete privacy.  The lot is fully fenced and the pool is fully contained, but the fence is hidden behind shrubs and along the back perimeter of the property.  Since our children are strong swimmers,  we did not have to create a fence around the immediate perimeter of the pool.

The pool furniture is from my in-laws’ old house – it is Brown Jordan from over 25 years ago.  When we replace in the next few years, we will get Brown Jordan again, but probably the java color with the sling material. The plan is to have four chaises, two on either side of the grassy path to the lower yard, as well as a round table with chairs.

Things That Inspire pool 2
Here is a closer picture of the pool, as seen from the outdoor room.  As mentioned previously, the selection of the pool color was incredibly difficult!  We were primarily considering Pebble Tec, which is a product that has a pebbly texture and covers the surface of the pool, and comes in a variety of colors.  It also lasts a very long time.  In Atlanta, Tahoe Blue Pebble Tec seems to be the most popular color, but it was darker than what we had in mind.  We also strongly considered Pebble Tec Caribbean Blue and Blue Lagoon, but neither of these were quite right.  For a brief period of time, we thought about doing a simple medium gray plaster for the pool surface, but decided against this.

Things That Inspire pool 6
Our architect had recently worked on a project in Florida where the homeowners selected French Grey in the Pebble Sheen product, which is an upgrade and is a bit more expensive.  It has a smoother surface than the Pebble Tec, which had an immediate appeal to my husband.  Our pool installer located one Pebble Sheen French Grey pool for us (it doesn’t seem to be that common in our area), and as soon as we saw it we knew it was the perfect color for our pool.  Here is a good picture of the steps to the pool, which shows the different colors that the Pebble Sheen French Grey takes on at different depths. It was a medium gray when it was installed, without water – and as seen on the first step, that’s how it appears in very shallow water. However, when there is water at greater depths (which is the majority of the pool), the color appears a beautiful and sophisticated blue – not a greeny blue, but a turquoise blue that is not too shocking or over the top.  

The Pebble Sheen French Grey works perfectly with everything else we have going on the exterior of the house and the back yard; it looks wonderful with the limestone coping and the blue stone pool decking, and when looking at the pool with the house, it looks great with the Vermont gray slate roof and the neutral color palette of the house. 

Many of the pictures of the pool look more intense than it is in real life, but when the sun shines on the pool it is definitely a pretty turquoise color.  Overall I would say that Pebble Sheen French Gray is a sophisticated but beautiful blue, and people always comment on it when they see it. We are VERY happy with it!

Things That Inspire pool 4
We decided to do an elevated spa with a waterfall feature, even though some on our design team felt that this design was a bit dated or cliché.  It seems that more people are doing spas that are at the same level as the pool.  None of these comments had any influence on our decision – it might be cliché to someone who designs pools, but to us the sound of the water and the elevated platform of the spa is what we had envisioned for the pool.  Although this is not a pool designed for diving, the elevated platform of the spa is perfect for kids who want to jump into the pool!  (By the way, none of these pictures are photoshopped – this is just how the pool looked when I took pictures with my camera - some of them make the pool look intensely blue!).

Overall, the pool has clean lines and a simple design.  The tile on the edge of the pool is a basic slate-like color that balances well with the color of the pool and the color of the limestone and bluestone.

Things That Inspire pool 5
I’m also frequently asked about the choice of pool decking.  I have always admired bluestone pool decking, both for its beauty and its color.  I can’t remember the specifics about the bluestone, but we did not do the thermal bluestone or the select (although I think the stair treads are thermal bluestone – thicker and more uniform in color – as they needed to be a consistent thickness).  The decking is regular bluestone with most of the really orange pieces culled out.  We wanted some amount of variation in the look of the bluestone, but did not want it predominantly orange.  And yes – bluestone does get very hot when it is in the sun.  We have found that if you spray it off with the hose it stays cooler for an hour or so, but mainly it is not a problem – we either wear flip flops or move quickly when it is at the peak of the sun time.  The limestone coping is actually quite useful as it does not get hot, so it is easy to jump to that and walk on the limestone.  The front of our house faces west, so by the late afternoon the sun is behind the house, and the bluestone cools off almost instantenously once it is not in direct sun. (By the way, I think this picture is a very accurate portrayal of French Grey Pebble Sheen color – it is not a strong vivid vibrant blue, but rather a sophisticated and slightly grayed blue).

I hope some of you found this helpful!  At the very least, it is nice to look at pool pictures when it is hot outside.  Email me any time if you have more questions – thingsthatinspire@gmail.com.

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QD collage

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