Photo courtesy Diamond Pools

The Canvas:Rocky site, steep elevation, five species of bambooThe Palette: Centuries of stone, an arcing mosaic, church lightThe Masterpiece: A hint of old Europe, pitch-perfect curves, a project that reminds us everything has shades of gray

Pool builder John Dubyoski had no idea what to do with the piles of stones that his latest clients had collected from a 200-year-old, demolished library. While his team prepared the Connecticut backyard, Dubyoski, president/owner of Diamond Pools, LLC, in Shelton, Conn., looked for ideas.

Eventually, he found inspiration in an unlikely place: a nearby church. “While I was there, I noticed some nice stonework, so I showed [the homeowner] the texturing, the lighting and the way it bounced off the stonework, and he liked it,” Dubyoski says. “So we took the design format and texture and reproduced it with a little more depth and dimension than they had in the church.”

Divine intervention or not, the result is awe-inspiring … and historical. The colonial stone has been incorporated into everything from the large fireplace, which hides a shower, to the decorative koi pond with its multicircuit lighting system.

Creating this masterpiece was not easy. The site was rocky and because of a steep, 45-foot elevation drop, only one-quarter of the lot was usable. Constructing a space large enough for the pool and entertainment area required grading the property with 1,800 tons of backfill, thereby expanding the lot’s size. Boulders the size of cars were used to build the retaining wall.

“The rough site work took about two weeks, and the whole project took around six months,” Dubyoski says. “We had to build a giant wall to support the patio. There were trees that had to be removed; all the library stone had to be moved so it wouldn’t be contaminated with dirt.”

Once the site was readied, the 380-square-foot fiberglass pool was installed, followed by the raised, stone-encased spillover spa. Dubyoski then began turning this technically impressive project into a work of art.

“We wanted to make the fireplace a corner unit at the lower level of the property so you’ve got a nice view,” he says. “The fireplace lines up with one of the gates, and the koi pond lines up with the other. That way, there’s a clean, attractive line of sight from every entry into the yard.”

The detailed masonry adds “more character to the property,” Dubyoski says. Each piece of the 6-inch-thick granite trim used above the fireplace and five-level waterfeature, which spills into a formal pond, weighed approximately 1,000 pounds. They were so heavy that minicranes were necessary for the installation.

In addition, innovative landscaping included five species of bamboo, California redwoods and weeping hemlocks. Combined with a subtle lighting scheme, it gives the scenery flair.

“There’s recessed lighting in the wall and in the pavers to accent the brickwork,” Dubyoski says. “There’s also indirect lighting — splash lights up on the walls — to accent all the different levels of stone. In the fireplace, for example, there’s an arch with a mosaic-style setting of stone inside it.”

These creative effects were exactly what Dubyoski wanted to achieve. “We have a slogan that says, ‘We don’t build pools. We build art,’” he says. “And we follow that.”

Photo courtesy Diamond Pools