comments

Boulder vision

Giant rocks provided the answer when planning this pool in Penryn
By: Jane Rounsaville, Special to Home & Garden
-A +A
When award-winning pool builder Jim Chandler and his wife, Liisa, built the ultimate pool for their 2.5 acre home in Penryn, they only had to look as far as their own back yard for inspiration. “We wanted it to be close to our house,” Jim said. “However, we did not want to cut down the beautiful oak trees or level any of the majestic rock outcroppings that we could see from our home view. Finally, I saw the spot — two towering boulders that said ‘waterfall’ to me.” They began designing the pool in January 2004, and started digging in April of that year. “We were very patient and moved on to each phase after getting just the right effect we wanted,” Jim said. “It was very rewarding for me as a pool builder to finally build my dream pool.” “When the tractor showed up on the first day of excavation, I was very excited,” Jim said. “Of course, I have built many pools, but when it’s your own you do get very excited. When the crane showed up to set the rocks, it was a real rush to see 5,000-pound boulders moving up and across the pool.” Jim calls it his “River Pool.” He and Liisa spent many hours choosing just the right stonework, decking, deep blue and green “Emerald Bay” Pebble Tec interior finish and coordinating turquoise tiles, for a natural looking river effect. Even the network of pumps and other pool equipment is hidden behind a stone wall, to blend in with the surroundings. The pool’s Intelliflo pumps are the same type of permanent magnet motors used in hybrid cars, and save the Chandlers about 30 to 90 percent off their energy bill, Jim said. The variable speed pumps, plus digital controls and custom programming, save energy by using slower speeds for each application. The pool’s purifier uses ordinary table salt to create its own chlorine. Unlike traditional methods, there is no chlorine odor, and it doesn’t irritate the eyes. Jim also installed an in-floor cleaning system that heats the pool by circulating the top 18 inches of surface water that has been warmed by the sun. According to Britt Gregrich of Pacific Coast Builders, more people are looking for ways to make their homes, pools and landscaping more energy efficient. “It’s great to have a pool,” Gregrich said. “But it is going to cost you a lot to keep it. It’s not just the cost of the pool — it is the cost of running the pumps, doing all that. If you can say to somebody, ‘Hey, we can put solar in,’ or ‘we we can cut down on the maintenance of your pool, your waterscape, your pond, or Jacuzzi,’ that is something that is attractive to people, too.” Jim said the most exciting parts of the project were watching the water truck as it filled the pool, and the first time they saw the water flowing over the vanishing edge. The Chandlers finally took their first swim in August 2005. The finished in-ground gunite pool is about 36-feet by 18-feet in diameter and holds about 23,600 gallons of water. “I have two fiber optic lighting systems that light the waterfall boulders and the vanishing edge catch pool,” Jim said. Fiber-optic lighting uses less power, and the colors are amazing. “It’s like a light show,” he said. They swim in their pool almost every day, and love to entertain friends and family. People frequently comment on how unique and beautiful their pool is. “We hear ‘Wow’ a lot, he said. “Everyone really likes how it fits into the rocks and looks like nature, as it had always been there.”