HGTV -Million Dollar Rooms inground swimming pools from Platinum Poolcare Part II

HGTV -Million Dollar Rooms inground swimming pools from Platinum Poolcare Part II

This is Part II of long article which was originally featured in a 2009 issue of Watershapes Magazine. They ran the lengthy treatise in two large parts: The first one outlined the planning and actual construction of this elaborate project, and the second took more of a photographic look at the finished product. We will feature excerpts from these articles as a 13-part serial. We will include an embedded video in each of the serial postings of HGTV’s Million Dollar Rooms, in which the project was featured.

hgtv swimming poolShell Games




©2009 WaterShapes. Reproduced by permission.



The process of building the indoor pool was complicated by the fact that, in addition to the shell for the pool itself, we were also setting up the adjacent spa and wading pool as well as the swim channel and the support for a clamshell detail of an as-yet-undetermined nature. It was, simply put, a complex forming process and shoot

Coming to Terms 

As one example of just how creatively ambitious she could be, one of the bathrooms in the pool house is painted from floor to ceiling with a mural of a fox hunt: Every person in the painting is a family member,with the visual space separated between the living and the departed. This level of expression reaches throughout the project, as evidenced by another spectacular detail in the form of a ceiling painting above the indoor pool that features accurate renderings of constellations lit with fiberoptic stars.

But the pool house also was to have a utilitarian side, including a full kitchen, laundry facilities, vast amounts of custom woodwork, 18th-century stained-glass windows imported from England and an elevator. Suffice it to say, this was a client who observed no limits when it came to doing as she pleased.

At first, our scope of work was limited to an indoor swimming pool to be installed inside the pool house as well as a freeform outdoor pool. But that was just the beginning, and before long the project grew to include multiple watershapes and a long list of design details. Even for a firm that specialized in outsized projects, this soon became one of the most challenging we’d ever tackled: Truly, it pressed us to our creative and technical limits.

In addition to the two pools,we eventually were engaged to design and install an indoor spa, wading pool and fountain as well as an exterior wading pool and spa, an outdoor hot/cold therapy pool, a waterfall, a swim-in sauna and a sliding acrylic door that was to separate the indoor and outdoor pools – this last being by far the toughest single element of the project. The outdoor pool was to have a vanishing edge, extensive rockwork and various sculptural, lighting and fire features. The vanishing-edge basin alone became so large that it is essentially a watershape unto itself.

And those were just the key physical features: In addition to those large tasks,we also tackled a seemingly endless string of small details, from extraordinarily elaborate tile mosaics including a coral reef and “cave paintings”in the sauna to a massive, all-tile clamshell that cantilevers over one end of the indoor swimming pool.

All of this had to be engineered and built by a company familiar with complex structural issues, construction techniques and hydraulic efficiencies. And everything was made even more challenging by the fact that success was a moving target: The project went through numerous design iterations through the years, and those of us who stuck with the project for the duration (basically us and the general contractor) had to deal with a steadily changing cast of contractors and subcontractors.

.Picture 001

 Once we were done with the shell of the indoor pool and its associated waterfeatures, we stepped aside so the pool house could be built over and around what we’d done.

Picture 012

Celestial Eclipse

The first element we worked on was the indoor pool, an elliptical watershape that was a fixed part of the design from the very start. Measuring in at 18 by 40 feet, it’s large by residential-indoor-pool standards and was meant to be big enough for lap swimming. On either side of the indoor pool nearest the outdoor pool are a spa and a wading pool, both with radii that follow the contours of the pool and appear somewhat like the fins on a rocket ship. The indoor pool itself is fairly standard: We built the shell during construction of the pool house, then stepped away once the shell had been shot to allow for completion of the structure around it. When we moved back into the space some months later, we started on a tremendously ambitious pool interior that includes a mosaic by Craig Bragdy Design (Denbigh,Wales): Spun off a similar design they’d done that gives the impression of having a chiffon scarf draped over the steps and part of the pool bottom, it’s a beautiful image that suited the space perfectly. But we’d built the shell early in the process and hadn’t known at the time about the tile treatment, so the steps weren’t shot and trimmed with anywhere near the precision required to accommodate the mosaic. As a result,we spent many days brown-coating the steps, building them out to match a newly defined set of dimensions.Fortunately, we were privileged to work with topnotch craftspeople: When the time came to install the tile, it all fit like a glove. The handrails were another challenge: The client had seen some beautifully curvaceous rails in a hotel in San Francisco, took a picture and let us know what she wanted. Naturally, these were not basic, stock items, so we had to find a fabricator who could make them from stainless steel to precise tolerances. The only vendor we found that was willing to tackle the job was Spectrum Products of Missoula,Mont. As elaborate as were other details, the waterline was a basic six-by-six-inch ceramic tile in Gothic Blue from Noble Tile of Tempe,Ariz. The owner chose the color to match a tile-topped table from India that she had us install as a medallion in the floor at the entrance to the pool house: Its beautiful lapis color was something she wanted to match with the waterline treatment. We then completed the picture by harmonizing the tile selection and the blue of the scarf mosaic with a complementary Diamond Brite pool plaster from Southern Grouts & Mortars (Pompano Beach, Fla.). Before we could tackle this finish work, of course,we had to step aside and let the general contractor and the painter complete their overhead work. When all was finished with both these phases of the project and all the fiberoptics were in place, the “stars”reflected on the surface of the pool took on a magical appearance– a subtle, truly spectacular effect.

Look for our next installment in this series which will discuss two of the most challenging and unique aspects of this project:  The shell, and the moveable pool passage door!