THE CANVAS: A
handsome estate, textured landscape, Colorado’s Roaring Fork
Colorado buffstone, an inset grotto, a foreground of wild mountain
MASTERPIECE: A secret spa and sublevel terrace that segues into
the native mountainside
Nestled in the tall shadows of a chateau, this spa design
utilizes a private panoramic view of the Colorado
“When you’re in the spa, it almost feels like
you’re sitting on the side of a mountain,” says
Marshall Foote, a partner at Colorado Poolscapes Inc.
“It’s the idea of being isolated, away from everything
else going on in the house.”
The short length of the terrace shielded the spa from
higher-level views, but also meant some alterations were
“We had a very tight building envelope, so we enlarged
the terrace by moving the [spa] underneath the wall,” says
Gyles Thornely, an associate at Design Workshop
The resulting overhang adds a unique touch to the project,
creating a little nook on one side of the spa. It’s
highlighted by tumbled Colorado buffstone cut into squares for a
more tiled appearance. There was enough room in the remaining area
to accommodate full-length recliners, which offer sunbathers an
additional mountainside vista.
To match the formal surroundings, the designer selected silver gray
for the shell. The spa features LED lighting, 39 jets, a waterfall
and four headrests.
Foote says the biggest issues he faces with self-contained spas
are providing appropriate access to the equipment and creating a
To solve the first problem, he designed a teak access vault
that was light enough in color to mesh with the cream-colored
But the project called for a slightly different kind of user
interface. With automated controls managing four waterfeatures
spread throughout the grounds, the homeowners asked Foote to
customize the spa for remote access using the same
“They had us basically rip out the circuit boards and tie
the [customized] controls into the spa,” Foote says.
“From the house, you can check and change the temperature,
determine filter cycles, and turn on the
This voided the manufacturer’s warranty, so the installer
backed it up with a guarantee of his own.
Foote also had to rewire the spa’s heater and jet pumps
to coordinate with the new remote.
With a modicum of modern technology, the spa can be remotely
readied for a backyard retreat.