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In our previous post, Shawn discussed the hip ailment that forced her to quit running and start swimming. In this post, we look at the planning process behind the Performance Endless Pool® in her basement.
"We didn’t want it to look cheesy," says Shawn, and that's an entirely reasonable desire when adding the state-of-the-art Performance Endless Pool to a Vermont farmhouse. Fortunately, Endless Pools offers a graphic rendering service that helped Shawn and her wife, Melissa, to visualize the pool … before they'd even tidied their basement!
"We wanted the finished product to look like it belonged here," she notes. "We wanted it to look rustic, but elegant and classy and beautiful, like it had been part of the plan of the house that was originally designed and built." If that order isn't tall enough, Shawn adds, "And we wanted it to be cost-effective."
"I need images," Shawn admits. "I can’t just imagine something. My wife is better at that. I need to see it." That's where Jill Timm comes in. She's Endless Pools' Architectural Designer.
The couple submitted a photo of their chosen location: the basement of their home. In the photo, the basement is still filled with vintage furniture. Not a problem – Jill digitally removed the clutter.
"We explained what we were looking for" – an above-ground pool, cornered and skirted in reclaimed wood planks – "and she turned it around and said, 'What do you think about this?'" By 'this,' Jill meant the scale model she'd created of the Endless Pool in the virtually emptied basement.
The couple found the visual pool rendering to be "super helpful," Shawn recalls. "It gave us something to look at and get excited about. You could look at that picture and say, 'This is what we’re working towards.'"
Before Jill created the rendering, Shawn and Melissa "spent a lot of time talking about materials." They wanted the finished pool "to be cost effective and also make it look like it belonged there."
They smartly chose to repurpose planks of black locust wood "left when another barn had been built. They’d been in storage undercover, but over the years, wind and rain had weathered these boards." Black locust wood is noted for its natural rot-resistance, anti-fungal properties, and most importantly, water-resistance.
To protect the surrounding walls, many people choose ceramic tile as they would for most any wet area. The women instead chose galvanized steel roofing material to echo a nearby window well. "Then we painted the ceiling with waterproof paint."
Shawn remains "so grateful to have had the resources" for their Endless Pool. She also appreciates the pool's low-maintenance systems. "It’s really quite easy to make the water clean and clear," she finds. "It’s not time consuming. A little goes a long way."
If she could do it all over again, there's only one thing she'd change.
They locally sourced the coping, which is the perimeter shelf at the top of the pool. On one end, it had to be "extra wide, so it’s very comfortable to sit and swing your legs around into the water." Unfortunately, "the coping cost us a ridiculous amount of money. That was a mistake. Everything else we did for material selection was good."
"I wish we had put that money into the automatic cover." The Automatic Retractable Security Cover is an Endless Pool option that lets you secure your pool with the turn of a key. Shawn opted for the Manual Cover instead. Now she says, "Budgeting in a way that would allow the automatic cover as opposed the manual is a smart way to spend money."
Of course, the Endless Pool was primarily for health reasons, not aesthetics. Shawn doesn't forget that.
"There are days when I’m exhausted and I really don’t want to go swim," she admits. "But I’ll make myself go do it. And then you’re in it, and you’re like, ‘How can I not want to be in this every day for, like, 10 hours?’
"We really love the way the pool looks. It’s warm, it’s inviting. We love looking at it, and we love being in it."