For Barry Vineberg and Dario Valencia, a tough design challenge is an opportunity for ingenuity. “When a customer comes to us with a special request, we put our heads together and manage a few modifications,” says Vineberg, president of Long Island Swim-Pool Service in Oceanside, N.Y.
Over the years, Vineberg and his partner/vice president, Dario Valencia, have gained recognition for their rare, aboveground-pool add-ons such as spillover spas and inground acrylic steps. It all began when a client approached the pair about accessibility options for her elderly mother.
“She said her mother would love to use their pool, but she couldn’t get up the regular aboveground ladder,” Vineberg recalls. In addition, he says the other available options for aboveground steps were too narrow or unstable at the time.
With a little imagination, he and Valencia created a design that modified a set of inground acrylic steps from the manufacturer. The duo attached an A-frame to make the steps a permanent feature of the pool. The result was a wider, sturdier set of stairs that allowed the customer easier entry to the pool.
“Since then, we’ve gotten to be pretty good at it,” Vineberg says. “We’ve been offering these [add-ons] ever since.”
For this Long Island project, the client wanted an aboveground pool with all the accouterments, but it needed to blend well with the surroundings. Vineberg and Valencia suggested using a custom black vinyl liner to complement the gray deck while capturing the dark tones of the Reynolds Channel waters below.
“We wanted everything to work with the existing ambiance and landscape,” Valencia says.
When construction began, the builders also needed to contend with the property’s rocky terrain. But rather than excavate the large boulders, Valencia integrated the rocks into the design by building the pool and two-tiered deck around them. This way, the rocks became part of the decoration that utilized the natural elements of the landscape.
To continue the motif, Valencia laid a path of bluestone from the upper tier of the deck to the lower one. The color of the stones, Valencia points out, were a natural choice to unify the deck with the setting.
“There’s not all that much you can do with an aboveground pool,” Vineberg says. “But if you can build a beautiful deck and are putting in these spas and steps, you’re getting the image and all the features of an inground pool for a lot less money — and a lot less in real estate taxes.”