This homeowner had a design challenge for our team. They were looking for something completely unique and special for their back yard. In a neighborhood with “nice” pools they didn’t want something ordinary. Our designer/builder, Al Curtis, proposed something completely new. He proposed a swimming pool, built freeform, gunite, with a raised waterfall spilling, finished with the same quartzite coping as the pool, over into the pool, with a swim in grotto and a boat as a seating area at the deep end of the pool. His original idea had him taking an actual boat, reclaiming and reusing it to create this custom feature. The homeowners had other ideas once they heard his crazy cool idea, and asked if he could build it out of concrete. Of course, Al and our entire team was thrilled with the challenge, and hand crafted the boat you see entirely out of concrete, hand shaped, sculpted and molded the cement to form with such attention to detail that you can’t tell from a distance that it is not a real boat hovering at the deep end of this pool! The boat was finished with a few reclaimed details from the actual boat it was modeled after…since details are just a part of the surprise and delight in a Legendary Escape, they add just the right elements to make this a very real experience.

The homeowner also asked for a different type of coping next to the raised spillover gunite spa, to create the illusion of a swim up bar on the edge of the pool. The pool guy took this idea, raised the pool wall, added a custom poured concrete bar, and added a swim up ledge and in-pool bar stools with seats created out of concrete and stainless steel stands. The perfect custom features, finished with the thermoplastic of ecoFinish, the newest and best trend for a smoother more comfortable swimming surface for gunite pools, spas, sun ledges and seats that we use on our Michigan custom swimming pools, whether hybrid (vinyl liner/gunite combo) or all gunite swimming pools and spas.

With the boat in place, it only made sense to create the outside of the grotto as if it were the boat house, for this one of a kind speedboat. The waterfall coming over the face of the grotto has two speeds, fast and warp speed…so jumping off, swimming through the waterfall, or heading down the slide from the dock/wharf patio area adjacent to the boat is a terrific way for kids and adults to enjoy this pool!

Swim into the grotto and you are immersed in a 3-dimensional cave, with carvings of fish in vibrant color hand sculpted and painted by Karen, one of our on the job artisans who is instrumental in helping bring our sculptures and always surprising elements to life. Karen has an artistic whimsy, though she is also precise and accurate as she specializes in placing the coping just right and always making sure the tile is just right on every project.

To complete this project landscaping, the homeowners looked to Jodi Cook, of Naturally Jodi to create a landscape that blended with the pool area to create a unique feel for the space. She used a variety of plants, ornamental trees, and even created pillars like you would see at a marina to complete the look. Once her landscaping was in, Al added a surprise element at the end of the dock – a lifesize alligator with a fishing rod catching a fish – as just one more detail to this project. Al, and his entire team aim to create a magical environment, where around every corner is just one more surprise that completes the awe and inspiring joy when visiting on of our Legendary Escapes!

To say the homeowners are delighted just may be an understatement. Their kick off party included visits from superheros and Disney characters – enjoying all the elements of this backyard retreat in Rochester, Michigan.

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