Winter Swimming in a Wisconsin Pool Room

A Welcoming Space for Fitness & Friends

"We wanted it to be warm and inviting," Rick says. He's talking about his recently completed pool room. It was the final phase of his new Wisconsin home, all of which he personally designed. This multipurpose room lets him swim in the winter and entertain year-round. He adds, "It’s a lovely space," as the photos clearly attest.

Besides the Endless™ Pools Original model, installed partially in-ground, the comfy, lower-level room features "a television and seating area. There's a Precor® [home cardio equipment] and a game table."

Rick punctuated his clean, modern design with bold splashes of color. "The orange definitely takes a very stark white room and turns it warm. And when the sun comes through the orange skylight, it gives the room an orange glow.

"The teak helps add a level of warmth as well," he says of the wood decking around the pool; the rest of the floor is metallic black.

Emerge from your swim in this Endless Pools Original model, and you can look out over "11 acres of rolling hillsides," reports homeowner and designer, Rick. He chose the color scheme so "when the sun comes through the orange skylight, it gives the room an orange glow."

And of course, there's the deep blue of the pool. Rick chose a vinyl liner with a blue-tile print, and he remains impressed with its depth and vivid color. "You'd be amazed at the number of people who come in and say, 'Oh my god, did you tile that yourself?'"

He included plenty of windows for gorgeous views from his sunroom pool. "We overlook 11 acres of rolling hillsides and deep 100-foot-drop ravines. When the trees' leaves are gone, we have a skyline view. During the summer, it's all leafed out and private, and nobody can see our house from the street," he notes with satisfaction. "It's a great room."

Unexpected Inspiration

The idea for the pool came during a social call. "My friend had a house in Indiana that had an indoor [Endless Pools installation]. That was my first experience with them," Rick recalls. Clearly, it was a memorable one.

"When we designed the house, we designed it specifically to include a pool," he recalls. "It's lower level. We designed it to be a separate room adjacent to the house." He just goes downstairs and through sliding doors for a warm-water swim.

"The teak helps add a level of warmth," observes Rick of the custom deck around his partially in-ground Endless Pools installation. He and his spouse use it for indoor swimming in warm water through the Wisconsin winters.

Rick selected one of our secure pool covers. When in place, "It will hold 95% of the humidity; it's true," he acknowledges. Given the amount that the pool is uncovered, he took an extra precaution.

"The room has its own HVAC system, and also it's tied into the radiant floor heat for the whole house. We set it up like a true natatorium."

Swimming When it Snows

Rick's Endless Pools Original model is "mainly just for swimming for exercise" by Rick and his spouse. "It's for winter exercise, because you can't really do much for exercise in the winter out here," he notes dryly, "unless you want to dress like the Abominable Snowman."

The climate necessitated an indoor pool for his central Wisconsin property, about 100 miles east of Minneapolis. "Outdoor pools, you have a three-month season," he reports. "It doesn’t seem worth it."

While Rick enjoys swimming during the traditional pool season too, "We normally spend time at our lake house in summertime, so we're not here a lot."

Rick chose an indoor pool to swim as winter exercise. "You can't really do much for exercise in the winter out here," he notes, "unless you want to dress like the Abominable Snowman." He adds that for "outdoor pools, you have a three-month season."

Finding the Best Pool Value

Even though Rick had been inspired by a Modular Endless Pool, he still researched other options. "We looked at the Michael Phelps swim spa," Rick recalls, "but they looked kind of generic. It looked like a great big bathtub."

With the Endless Pools Modular Pools, he had a lot more flexibility for its look and feel, starting with the customizable size. He opted for a 54-inch depth, one foot deeper than standard, so it would feel more like a traditional pool "and less like a piece of exercise equipment. That's why we also made it wider," eight feet instead of the standard seven.

Rick chose few other options. "Our pool is relatively very simple." And that simplicity kept the price under control, which Rick also appreciates. "You can't put an outdoor pool in for that [price]," his research confirmed.

The Pool Builder's Nephew

"I actually built and installed the pool myself," Rick says. "My uncle owned a pool building business, so I was familiar with the process. It's pretty straightforward.

"And the liner – the way it fit! There wasn't any stretching; it literally fit like a glove. Everything about it was a very nice, easy assemble," he found. "You're only nervous when you're drilling through the wall" of the steel-panel pool, a requirement for the current and water quality systems.

For other DIY pool builders, Rick suggests, "The DVD is what you really need to watch, and you need to watch it start to finish. Then, you need to watch it as you're building."

The pool kit comes standard with sheets of insulation, though he used those only for the side with the mechanicals. On the other three sides, he opted for costlier spray foam insulation. "We were foaming the roof and everything, and the foamers were there," so it was a convenient investment to make.

He also took advantage of Endless Pools' option for remotely locating the hydraulic power unit. "The motor is in a separate room away from the pool, so you can't hear it."

"It’s a great product," Rick assesses. "The machine works well. It looks very impressive." And for a design professional, that's the ideal – form plus function – that he wants in his home.

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