Living Poolside

Fire Features No. 1 Trend In Swimming Pool and Spa Design

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Mon, Jul 29, 2013

 Barrington Pools ChicagoThis swimming pool design and construction by Barrington Pools, Barrington, Illinois

There is no denying the element of fire adds a certain ambiance to an outdoor entertaining area and, following our 2013 Master Pools Guild Builder Survey,  we were not surprised to see that “fire features” topped the list of current trends in swimming pool and spa design. 

The ancient Greeks believed that fire was one of the four elements from which everything was made:  earth, water, air and fire.  The idea that these four elements made up all matter became the cornerstone of philosophy, science and medicine for more than two thousand years.  Isn’t it interesting that there are few places in which all four of these elements so easily co-exist as in a perfectly designed outdoor space?

The options for fire features are ever expanding, for example, in addition to traditional fire pits, fire tables offer a warm area to socialize and are ideal for spaces both large and small.  Today’s outdoor kitchen designs often include a brick oven as well as the traditional grill allowing an expansion of culinary creativity.   In addition to their aesthetic value, fire features are practical design &/or remodel additions.  Not only do they extend the outdoor season, often, they extend the daily possibilities for outdoor living which continues to increase in popularity.   Fire feature controls are simple to operate, with the push of a button, or swipe of your thumb, flames begin to dance beckoning all to gather near, stress to melt away and the day to last a while longer while you enjoy a bit of additional time, Living Poolside.

Get more information on our 2013 Top Ten Trends in Swimming Pool Design by clicking here.

Tags: In The News, Master Pools Guild Latest Greatest, Barrington Pools of Barrington Illinois, Swimming Pool Design Trends, Swimming Pool Design, Swimming Pool Builder Chicago, Barrington Pools

Master Pools Guild, Moving Forward With an Eye for ART

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Mon, Oct 08, 2012

The Master Pools Guild is excited to announce the launch of a new education program in partnership with Artistic Resources & Training, A.R.T., Founded by landscape architect Mark Holden in collaboration with a range of other design professionals (including David Tisherman, Kevin Fleming, Larry Drasin, Judith Corona, Eric Herman, Richard Lee and Eric Gerds), A.R.T will deliver instruction over a range of topics beneficial to those who work with decorative and recreational water and outdoor environments.   This initial course is entitled “The ART of Design & Materials” and will focus on the ART of selecting the right hardscape and softscape materials, a process that is essential to the creation of beautiful spaces. 


In a letter to the members of the Master Pools Guild, David Tisherman stated “It is time to embrace forms of higher education that encompass the power to, in effect, create a new industry of aquatic design professionals ‘. The leadership of the Master Pools Guild agrees and the first session of the A.R.T. program will be held prior to the Guild’s meeting in Vancouver, B.C., October 16-20, where the group will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. 

Dick Covert, executive director of the Master Pools Guild stated: “We have a group called Generation Next and that group really has been the driving force behind the launch of this partnership.  Part of the process of planning our 50th anniversary celebration has not only been a look back over all we have achieved, but also to look forward toward the Guild’s goals for the future. The Guild is proud of the reputation we have as leaders in our industry.  We plan to maintain that position and continuing education is a key component.  This new partnership with ART is a natural fit.”

Tags: In The News, Master Pools Guild Latest Greatest, Artistic Resources & Training, Master Pools Guild

Master Pools Guild, Breaking The Mold

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Fri, Sep 28, 2012

Breaking the mold… I could have just as easily titled this blog post “Thinking Outside the Box”, but wouldn’t that be exactly what everyone would have expected for the subject matter that I intend to cover?  Ideally, this will be the first of many short articles that I write urging people to honestly ask themselves what owning a swimming pool, renovating a swimming pool, or building a new swimming pool as an addition or with new construction means to them specifically.  For starters though, I’d like to talk about how the members of the Master Pools Guild work to break the mold of “pool builder” that the public has traditionally held.  I recently realized that this was still a necessity after my Grandma (insert obligatory, Southern phrase here…), bless her heart, asked me, “Boy, when are you ever gonna give up them swimming pools and go get you a job doing something else?” She’s asked me that at least a dozen times in the past ten years.  Granted, she’s 93, and didn’t grow up with a swimming pool.  Heck, she probably didn’t even know anyone with a swimming pool.  Still, despite realizing that she may never fully understand what it is that I do and not being bothered (too much) by that fact (that’s just Grandma, bless her heart),  I also recognize that her attitude towards the industry has been shared by more than a few of those outside of the industry that I’ve encountered over the years.  I’ve heard “pool guys” mocked as half wits and fly-by-nights, undeservedly suspected as shady individuals, and if the conversation drifted to “pool salesman”, even compared to “used car sales”… *gasp!  Unfortunately, these claims have sometimes been well founded for certain builders and certain markets.  Fortunately, the tides are changing on that perception.  Even more fortunate for you, as consumers, it’s easier than ever to figure out which company in your area is working the hardest to change that perception.  All you have to do is find the Master Pools Guild member nearest you.

Over the past couple of my now 20 years in the swimming pool industry I’ve noticed an increase in the number of people who tell us that the reason they chose us, Gress Inc., to build their pool was two -fold: first, we listened to them.  It still surprises me to hear that a competitor has come in to a customer’s home, spent time with them, and then showed them a proposal that didn’t have any of the features that they wanted.  Although I am always excited by the fact that the customer recognizes that we care enough to listen, it’s the second half of their statement that I’m really proud of.  It usually comes out something like this, “Your design gives us everything we wanted, but it also incorporates some really good ideas that we hadn’t thought about.”  I began to wonder why none of our competitors were catching on. Our clients would always assure us that our competition (at least the ones who were still in the running) had nice designs that met their “needs”, but few had taken the architectural style of the home, the slope or other site constraints, or more importantly, the unspoken desires seriously enough to take a chance by offering the client anything other than a replica of a picture that they pointed to in a book.

The more I’ve thought about this difference and asked myself why our competition hasn’t stepped up, the more convinced I’ve become that the only possible answer is that they are scared.  You see, I’ve run across these guys in almost every aspect of my career… Employers in my early years who would lose their cool anytime someone asked them “why” they did things a certain way when there was obviously some shortcoming in the method they used.  Co-workers that I would routinely have to follow behind making plumbing repairs because, “I’ve been doin’ this for 30 years, and ain’t never used no pipe cleaner”.  Employees (former employees, that is) who wanted to argue about an extra half hour being added to the job every time they were told that they needed to change a certain construction practice as new materials or techniques were being developed.  They were stuck in their tradition and afraid of change.

Custom Swimming Pool Design by Gress, Inc.

About a year or so ago, in an effort to come up with the easiest way to distinguish our company from the likes of those above, I began referring to them as “Traditional Pool Builders”.  Traditionally, swimming pools required a lot of maintenance.  Traditionally, swimming pools were painted or plastered white and surrounded with concrete decking.  Traditionally, swimming pools required toxic chemicals to keep the water sparkling clear and bacteria free.  Traditionally, the cost of running the pumps alone could be enough to turn people away from the idea of owning a pool.  None of these hold true today so why would you want a traditional pool builder to build your pool?

That’s the thing about the Master Pools Guild that makes it such a great organization.  None of our fellow members could ever be deemed “Traditional Pool Builders”.  Membership alone is proof that you are dealing with a company that cares enough to stay up to speed with current technology, construction practices, and yes, even design possibilities.  Don’t get me wrong, we might build a few traditional designs here and there (I’ve always said, “I’ll build any design you want.  I’m going to give you my honest opinion about it, but in the end, they all look good from my back yard”), but we’re still NOT going to do it as “traditional pool builders”.  Our approach will always be that of Masters of our trade who are lifted up and elevated by like minded builders from all over the world.  I’m proud to say that we are not “traditional pool builders”, but not nearly as proud as I am to say that we are a Master Pools Builder. I’m proud to be a part of an organization of fellow builders who are equally dedicated to breaking the mold.

 This is Master Pools Guild!!!

 More thankful than proud,

Tony Carter

Gress’ Incorporated

New Hill, NC

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Tags: In The News, Master Pools Guild Latest Greatest, Swimming Pool Design, Master Pools Guild - Meet Our Members, Gress Inc. North Carolina, Master Pools Guild, Swimming Pool Technology, Gress Inc.

Master Pools Guild Member, Huber Pools, Receives Award

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Wed, Sep 12, 2012


Master Pools Guild is proud to share that, for the 4th time,  Huber Pools has once again been honoroed by the Pacific Business News as one of the “Fastest 50” businesses in Hawaii. As the first Overall winner from Maui in 2007, Huber Pools has continued to see their business increase even in a struggling construction market overall.

In achieving success and growth in a down market, Hans Huber, owner and president credits “Opening a highly visible storefront showroom in Kai Ani Village on S. Kihei Rd, as well as hiring quality new employees both in the office/showroom and in the field has made a big difference in how we manage jobs. We are more efficient, more professional and are providing exceptional service to our customers.”


Notable projects in the past year include the completion of the new oceanfront pool at the Kauai Sheraton at Poipu, a complete remodel of the pool, spa and decking at the Maalaea Banyan, as well as the new pool and spa for the Courtyard by Marriott near the Maui airport.

TeamHuberHuber Pools specializes in gunite swimming pool construction, water features including natural and faux rock, pool remodels and renovations and decking/hardscape construction, and has not only the c49 specialty swimming pool license, but also the C23 Gunite license as well as the “A” General Engineering and “B” General Building licenses.  Huber Pools is an always present member in the Gold Award category at the Master Pools Guild annual Excellence Awards, many of which are featured in our Photo Gallery.


You can visit Huber Pools at their beautiful showroom in the Kai Ani Village Condominiums at 1367 S. Kihei Rd Suite 3-110 Monday-Friday 8-4, or online anytime at


Again, congratulations to Huber Pools!  Your fellow Master Pools members look forward to seeing more of your inspiring designs.

Tags: In The News, Huber Pools, Master Pools Guild - Meet Our Members, Master Pools Guild, Hans Huber of Huber Pools, Swimming Pool Design Hawaii

Falcon Pools, Ltd. - Swimming & The London Olympic Tradition

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Thu, Aug 09, 2012

The London 2012 Olympic Games mark the third time London has hosted the Modern Olympics.  Prior hosting by London includes the Games in 1908 and 1948. The 2012 Summer Olympic Games will make London the only city in the world to have hosted the Games three times. Londoners are very proud to hold the sole title of Three Time Olympic Hosts, and I have to say the whole country is buzzing at the moment; it’s incredible how much sport can lift an entire nation!

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1908 Olympic Swimming Facility London

With such a longstanding history of Olympic tradition, London has played a major role in the evolution of the sport of Olympic Swimming.  At the first few modern Olympic Games, Swimming events were held in open water. At Parisin 1900, for instance, they took place in the River Seine. However, the rules were formalized in 1908, when the London Games staged the first Olympic Swimming competition to be held in a pool.

London 2012

2012 Olympic Swimming Facility London

While the venue for the sport may have changed, the excitement and support for this sport and the Olympic experience is at an all- time high.  With more than 130 world leaders gathering in London for the Opening Ceremony, Prime Minister David Cameron said it was an opportunity to show the world “the best of Britain”.

“It's very exciting ... I think it's a great opportunity to show the world the best ofBritain, a country that's got an incredibly rich past but actually a very exciting and vibrant future.”

I agree with the Prime Minister however, while we wish all the athletes’ success in their individual games and hope all enjoy visiting our city, Falcon Pools Ltd. & myself, have to say we have been cheering on Team GB! I am certain all the Master Pools Guild members have been cheering on their respective teams as well. 

It is good to see Team GB up high in the medal table, and with swimming close to our hearts we have to mention Michael Phelps – a true Olympic Legend!

I hope everyone has enjoyed watching the games as much as I have, and I am proud to say the atmosphere for all the events has been electrifying!

Lee Woodhams

Falcon Pools, Ltd.

For over 38 years Falcon Pools has been designing and building bespoke swimming pools in Surrey, Middlesex and the surrounding areas.  Their awards & accolades are too numerous for us to list here.  The Master Pools Guild is proud to count them among our membership & grateful for their contributions to our organization & our industry.

Tags: In The News, Olympics, Falcon Pools Ltd, London, Master Pools Guild, swimming

Master Pools Guild Founder Passes Away

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Sat, Oct 01, 2011

Master Pools Guild Founder Passes AwayMoment in history: Bill Hanousek, a founding member of Master Pools Guild, takes the podium at the group's 40th anniversary celebration...

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Tags: In The News, Master Pools Guild

Master Pools Celebrates Golden Anniversary

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Sat, Oct 01, 2011

Master Pools Celebrates Golden AnniversaryNext year will mark 50 years since the inception of the Master Pools Guild, and the group has a slew of activities to commemorate the occasion.




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Tags: In The News, Master Pools Guild

Master Pools Guild

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Sat, Oct 01, 2011

The article shows what makes the members of this Guild so good. See just how beautiful some of these pool and landscape masterpieces are and you will understand why they say these Master Pools Builders build some of the finest pools in the world. They were described in Luxury Pools Magazine Fall issue 2011.


Tags: In The News, Master Pools Guild

Innovative Trends

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Sat, Oct 01, 2011

MoreheadMorehead has 50 years of experience combining aesthetic beauty with cutting-edge technology as shown in these pools. See the feature pool with its large rock creation with two waterfalls that a magical sound of flowing water as well as mesmerizing beauty. As profiled in Luxury Pools Magazine, Spring and Fall 2011.

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Tags: In The News, Morehead Pools of Shreveport LA

A Selection of Master Pools

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Sat, Oct 01, 2011

A Selection of Master Pools The pool styles are as varied as are the locations of the Master Pools Builders who created them.  You will appreciate the design inspiration from the home’s Spanish architecture in the feature pool. Just as impressive is a Hawaiian pool that portrays the exotic nature of the islands in complimentary night and day settings. By contrast but just as appealing is the comfortable luxury estate home in Georgia and a rustic natural pool environment in North Carolina that is an entertainers dream. 

Luxury Pools Magazine, Spring 2011

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Tags: In The News, Master Pools Guild