THE CANVAS: A tight, elevated lot overlooking Horseshoe LakeTHE PALETTE:Meticulously honed bluestone, black granite in multiple textures, a clear sheet of water with glass railings to matchTHE MASTERPIECE: An aquascape so precise it seems to have jumped off a draftsman’s table
THE CANVAS: A tight, elevated lot overlooking Horseshoe LakeTHE PALETTE:Meticulously honed bluestone, black granite in multiple textures, a clear sheet of water with glass railings to matchTHE MASTERPIECE: An aquascape so precise it seems to have jumped off a draftsman’s table

When you look at this project, you can easily imagine the draftsman leaning over a piece of graph paper, T square in hand. It’s all planes and grids that perfectly fit the space.

Then, of course, there’s the water — and the sky reflected on it.

This luminous study in geometry required superb precision and forethought. It started with a tight, well-defined area overlooking Horseshoe Lake near Vancouver, British Columbia. Simple, straight lines on the home and zinc flashings on the overhangs called for similarly contemporary pool styling.

“They wanted the pool to be almost like you were stepping on a sheet of glass,” says Rob Danieli, a sales and estimates specialist at Alka Pool Construction Ltd.

With these parameters in mind, the designers crafted a linear, slot-overflow pool with monochromatic, yet highly textured, materials.

Contemporary gem

The vessel itself is quite simple.

Danieli and his team made the slot-overflow opening 1 inch wide to accommodate wave action from the swim jets they installed.

“We were pumping 300 gallons of water into the pool, so our biggest concern was whether it would overshoot the slot on the opposite end,” he says. “But we didn’t want to make it wider and create a tripping hazard.”

Atop the vanishing edge and perimeter-overflow slot, the designers placed 8-inch pieces of black granite, honed slightly rough to prevent people from slipping upon entering the pool. Every piece had to be mildly canted and level within a millimeter.

Six-inch squares of the same material, only polished, were installed on the back of the vanishing-edge wall. This provides a textural contrast with the weir material.

The deck is composed of 18-by-18-inch pieces of bluestone installed by the home builder, Busselton Construction of North Vancouver. While obviously a natural material, the stone has consistent coloration and was polished almost smooth to fit in with the contemporary design.

The deck’s grid pattern looks as if it pre-existed the pool. Each piece was individually set on “chairs” — components that prop the material so water can drain directly below it. With no grout joints, the result was as clean as possible.

“The pool had to fit so that all the lines of the bluestone were true,” Danieli says. “We could not be off by 1/4-inch. It had to be perfectly squared-off.”

For added texture, the team lined the vanishing-edge catch basin in flat, black Japanese pebbles. Specially engineered glass railings add a contemporary touch and allow a completely unobstructed view.

In thinking about the project, Danieli says, “We sweated blood. It was not an easy job to do because of the precision [it required]. “Everything was meticulous.”