A Unique Collaboration
This combination waterfall/spa and runnel was designed to mimic the industrial feel of the home. The structure was one of the most memorable projects these two firms have collaborated on in their 20 years of work together. “We did a lot of brain-bashing here,” recalls Billy Cribb.
Although Matt OttoSunderman played a pivotal role in conceptualizing the waterfeature and garden, Kim Conner attributes the project’s success to Cribb’s savvy engineering skills. He overcame the complexities of maintaining appropriate water levels and developed a plan for a dual recirculation system that pumps water to and from the separate entities. “The sheer descent spills over the spa and is recirculated through the runnel but it gives the illusion of coming from the spa basin,” Cribb explains.
The 60-square-feet gunite spa and basin for the sheer descent are finished in Black Pearl Pebble Tec. Aluminum flashing serves as the backdrop to the fire element, which complements the fountain’s composite I-beams and the recycled culverts that serve as planters.
A metal roof provides shelter for an open patio area. The fencing that sits atop a stucco wall features a custom design in powder coated iron and colored plexiglass. The steel reinforced concrete runnel, which extends 40 feet into the property, also is faced with 6-by-6-inch frost-proof porcelain tiles. It’s even surrounded on all sides by brown-stained recycled tire mulch and broom-finished concrete, further enhancing the industrial aesthetic.
Slate chips cover the area around the planters on the perimeter of the property. To complete the look, the homeowner supplied an oversized cog and gear for a sculpture that was erected after Aabstract’s grader welded the parts together.
“The space was originally a commercial site, and we found layers and layers of asphalt, drainage lines, old city piping and grading issues that we had to deal with,” Cribb recalls. They had to haul away the unwanted materials and work around what remained.
After removing the debris, the crew began work on the structure’s containment area, which measures 28 feet wide by 14 feet deep and is faced with a combination of tile and stucco. Once erected, the I-beams were set in place. Although they look like metal, they’re actually made of reinforced plastic. “That way, we eliminated any metals getting into the spa,” Cribb says.
Housing the equipment posed yet another obstacle. The road behind the structure’s containment area sits higher than the garden, and the pool equipment needed ground level. So the crew built a room behind the structure using one of the fence’s stucco walls and installed a ladder to access the vault.