THE CANVAS: A severe slope, traditional suburbia
THE PALETTE: Earthy tones of the Adirondack Mountains, mesh of steel and concrete, the interplay of light and shadow
THE MASTERPIECE: The seamless blending of day and night, a translucent and ethereal escape
When everyone in their neighborhood was buying pools shaped like mountain ponds and lakes, Mike Giovanone’s clients wanted something traditional … but with a twist.
The president of Concord Pools Ltd. delivered as promised, designing a modified Roman, L-shaped pool with an elevated entertaining area ideal for year-round living.
After enlisting the help of 30-year pool veterans Rich Fenwick, Concord’s vice president of construction, and Forest Smith, vice president of operations, the construction team began work. The clients were opposed to a barren retaining wall, so the designers were forced to find another way to support the live load of the elevated rockscape.
“We proposed something that is unusual for a vinyl pool, which is a standing beam,” Giovanone says. “You can only succeed in doing that by properly sub-structuring the pool. We brought 20 feet of bracing perpendicular to the pool wall and put a structural mat on top of the braces. We built the standing beam directly on the wall using our patented I-beam brace system.”
In addition to structural integrity, the project is full of grace and detail. The vinyl overlay on the steps and in-wall bench are crisp and tightly executed. Three raised sheer descents add drama to the space. Dark rail goods blend in effortlessly with the subtle tones of the deck.
Rich tan stone harvested from the local Adirondack Mountains frames the pool and is complemented by earthy pavers. The same stone trims the fireplace, while stained concrete with integral coloring trims the patio.
For Giovanone, one of the most critical design elements in creating this entertaining space was the lighting. The pool features perimeter and underwater fiberoptic lighting, yet the water is intentionally not the star of the backyard.
“One of the biggest enemies for a vinyl-liner pool is shadowing,” Giovanone says. “The shadowing will show any minor imperfection in the pool floor. Light needs to come from all directions. We’ve also examined the effects of shadowing from lights coming off the home.”
Low-voltage lighting along the pathways, stairs and in the elevated lanterns lent the outdoor area warmth. “Uplighting around any pool really enhances it,” he adds. “It draws your eye. You can walk in this yard at 10 p.m., and it’s illuminated. It almost feels like half-day, half-night.”
A final touch of landscaping helps the pool function all year. “The most important thing for backdrops in this area is that you have a lot of evergreen,” Giovanone notes. “Then you want to add the local seasonal colors of reds and purples and pinks to make it less sterile. It’s important to always find a little color around the pool.”