A few years ago, I was called to a potential clients home in Portland’s west hills area. They had recently found their dream home and put an offer on the house the within an hour of viewing it. They loved the homes architecture, surroundings, off the beaten path location. Everything about the home minus one; it had a swimming pool. In the back yard. With no safety cover. And they have two small children. And cats who like water(?). What were the options?

I was the third pool guy that they had called. A referral from a friend of a friend kind of thing.

The other three company representatives all had the same option: on deck track system for an automatic safety cover, with the cover in a wood box at one end of the pool. Done. The clients are well educated people with an eye for the aesthetic. A big box at the end of the pool with weird on deck tracks just wouldn’t do. What to do? What to do?

When I arrived, the husband later said it was the best and worst day of his life. Thanks Shawn. The best because I offered a solution that would work great and look even better. The worst because it would cost a small fortune. I went about my backyard voodoo dance of looking at the pool from all sides and from the perspective of the owner. What were the most important issues surrounding the pool in their minds. Safety first, aesthetics second. Fine. Let’s reshape the pool.

I pulled out my notebook and quickly made a sketch of what I had in mind. We lower the top of the pool by a few feet, leaving the bar intact. Widen the pool at the largest hip. Narrow the pool on the inside radius. Thus creating a rectangle over the top of a kidney shaped pool. By widening the pool at the hips, we used the shape to create a long sun-ledge bench down one side of the pool for the little ones to play. We shallowed the pool from nine foot of water depth to six feet to discourage diving and installed a new main drain suction line with an unblockable main drain. New skimmers were added to the pool as well as all new circulation piping. By making the pool a rectangle, we were able to install an automatic pool cover with encapsulated track system, with a hidden mechanism and walk on vault lids. While we were at it, the owners decided to add a raised spa at the deep end with a sheer descent waterfall to the pool. A complete new equipment set was installed (VF pump, UV system, heat pump, etc.). Clearly I had gone over the initial ‘budget’ that was given on the first meeting.

Now for the part that makes me really happy; they love the pool. They use it constantly and they still consider me a friend. That’s pretty cool.

Can we reshape a pool? Oh yeah. We do this sort of thing all of the time. Is it cheap? No. But as the saying goes: cheap work isn’t good and good work isn’t cheap. All told, the first budget given was around $30,000.00 All said and done? Neighborhood of $120,000.00 About the price of a new pool.