Living Poolside

Why Consider A Plunge Pool?

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Mon, May 09, 2016


It may be the luxurious feel of soaking in absolute privacy or possibly the convenience of not having to fight for the perfect lounge chair or the pristine blue water calling to you night and day with the relaxing sounds of water in motion.  Whichever appeals to your senses most, it is clear that the plunge pool has graduated from a luxury perk at exclusive resorts to the focal point of many top properties.  


In new home construction as well as home remodels,  the plunge pool is a sought-after feature known to enhance the indoor-outdoor lifestyle.  It is often a critical component of large-scale renovations integrating with entertainment spaces and visible from as much of the interior of the house as possible.


Contributing to the rise in plunge pool popularity is the challenge of space for many homeowners. Today's backyards often lack the space needed to accommodate larger pool designs.  But bigger pools don't necessarily mean they are more beautiful.  We are finding that homeowners often like to leave space in their backyard to add other outdoor living options - outdoor kitchens and larger outdoor living spaces for entertaining.  Smaller pools, like the plunge pool, can make room in one's budget to opt for upgrading pool and hardscape materials...i.e. addition of water features, upgrading lighting etc.  Add a "swim against the current" system in your pool and therapy jets - your plunge pool becomes a fitness and therapy pool - functional and beautiful and uniquely designed to add a new level of luxury and convenience to your every day.  


There is no denying the ambient beauty and the tranquility of a body of water, and innovative and stylish home design that taps into that resource serves to enhance a home's aesthetics, functionality and adds a unique level of luxury.   Advances in engineering, technology and design have forever changed the plunge pool's place and purpose and has today's homeowner opting to take that plunge. 



Tags: Swimming Pool Design, swimming pool trends, outdoor designs for small spaces

Considering A Lazy River or Swim In Place: A Must Read

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Thu, Apr 30, 2015

Considering a lazy river or a swim in place water flow system for your pool?  Check out this except from a recent release on Riverflow Current Systems:

For river swimmer Mimi Hughes, taking on a challenge is nothing new. “I like doing open water swims in the lake or in the ocean. I meditate while I swim, that’s my quiet time. That’s how I get through swimming 8 hours at a time.” Hughes said.

Hughes, an accomplished and revered open water swimmer from Tennessee has made open water swimming a part of her life. From swimming the Bering Strait between Alaska to Russia, to conquering the foreboding waters around Alcatraz through the San Francisco Bay to the mainland then tackling the Tennessee River in her quest to raise public awareness about the river’s polluted conditions Hughes is no stranger to a variety of water current and unusual conditions. “I was worried when I was trying out the Riverflow Pump system that I would get bored. But I was wrong, very wrong.”

Within the current of the pool, Hughes found her comfort zone, her swimming rhythm and worked with the current. “I actually like the feel of a water current as opposed to just a swim. For someone like me who loves open water swimming, I didn’t think I’d like the confinement of the pool. But, the Riverflow current gave me the feeling of being in the open water. I truly felt like I was there. ” Hughes explained.

However, Mimi was not the only challenger in the Riverflow try. Tesla Hughes, Mimi’s daughter also has a lengthy list of swimming accolades. A former Michigan State University swimmer and an Olympic trial candidate, Tesla was ranked 27th in the world for the mile freestyle in the early 2000’s.

Now, an established police officer, Tesla continues her training to compete in the World Police and Fire Games, where she has brought home a number of gold medals. “I felt like I was getting a really good workout in. We turned up the current and I could only maintain my speed training for about a minute.” Tesla explained. “ I was completely surprised by the Riverflow system. I’m always judgmental about swim-in-place type of training pools and honestly had my doubts. I was worried it would be a leisure swim and I wouldn’t be able to work on my speed, that wasn’t the case with Riverflow, I was very impressed.” Tesla said. So impressed, she is hoping to put in her own Riverflow system. “My husband and I have already spoken about it, open pool times are difficult and my work schedule is hectic, having a Riverflow system available to me at all times would be ideal.” 

For more information/resources on swimming pool design, visit our online resource center!  Here's to a lifetime of wellness & memories Living Poolside!

Tags: swim in place, Riverflow Current Systems, Living Poolside, Swimming Pool Design Trends, Swimming Pool Design, Time To Build A Swimming Pool, Master Pools Guild, Family Fitness, Lazy river

Can Glass Fencing Be Used Around My Swimming Pool?

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Mon, Jun 09, 2014


Glass Pool Fencing The photo above supplied by Aquaview Fencing

When it comes to fencing options, swimming pool designers are excited to discuss frameless glass fences with their clients. Frameless glass pool and patio fences are growing in popularity as a contemporary and elegant design element for new construction and renovation.

Stylish and secure, frameless glass fencing enhances the aesthetic nature and value of the property. Its simplicity in design and luxurious nature sets frameless glass fencing apart from others. 

Frameless Glass Fencing The photo above supplied by Aquaview Fencing

A modern innovation in architectural landscaping and pool safety, frameless glass pool fences offer maximum protection with minimal intrusion. Glass fencing maintains unobstructed views of your outdoor living area, providing a seamless flow from indoor to outdoor space, and enhancing the water feature of your home. 

Whether utilized for swimming pools, spas, patios or decks, frameless glass fencing is a great addition for your next residential or commercial project.

Glass Swimming Pool Fence The photo above supplied by Aquaview Fencing

For more information and additional photos click on the links below:

If you would like to speak with a swimming pool design professional click here to find the Master Pools Guild member builder nearest you. 

Tags: Frameless Glass Pool Fencing, Swimming Pool Remodeling, Swimming Pool Design Trends, Swimming Pool Design, Aquaview Fencing, Swimming Pool Terminology, Swimming Pool Technology, Glass Fencing

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, 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.

Memphis Pool - Generations Of Swimming Pools & Memories

Posted by Master Pools Guild on Wed, Aug 15, 2012

Every Sunday growing up, I would take a trip two houses over to my grandparents to work in the garden with my grandfather and play board games with my grandmother until they made me drive back on my four-wheeler before dark.  This was my favorite part of the week and this bond that was formed with my grandparents made me look up to them in all aspects of their life.  One of my other favorite memories was going to work with my grandparents before I was old enough to have a “real job”.  I would clean windows and do other odd jobs at the stores and felt so cool because my grandparents owned the business and my dad ran the construction division. As a child, I was so proud to have my family own such a great community-based business. 

                As soon as I turned 16, I knew exactly where I was going to apply for a job (and yes, they made me apply like everyone else). Fortunately, I got the job and that is where my years with Memphis Pool began.  I worked in the stores all through high school and when I came home from college for the summers.  I learned all of the ins and outs of the business and got to know a lot of the customers.  Most of them did not know that my family owned the business.  What they did know is that I had been working there for a long time and they always enjoyed seeing a familiar face to give them advice on trouble shooting their pool problems.  This was, and still is, my favorite part of Memphis Pool.  The customers have been coming to the stores for years and have formed relationships with a lot of the staff.  You often hear them reference my grandfather at some point, mainly because they think this will get them a discount, but also because they are proud of the fact they have been a long time customer.

Memphis Pool Design

 Working in the family business has strengthened my relationship with my grandparents and my dad in various aspects of all of our lives. We have a unique working relationship that I will always cherish.  I am now the sales and marketing director for Memphis Pool and could not be more proud to be a 3rd generation family member working in the business.  We are celebrating our 60th anniversary this year and we are looking forward to the many years to come and all of the exciting changes ahead for the pool industry!

Karlye Reed Smith

Memphis Pool

 We are proud to say that Memphis Pool, headquartered in Memphis, TN, is a long standing member of the Master Pools Guild.  Swimming pool designs by Memphis Pool are ever present in the Gold category of our annual Excellence Awards contest.  A leader in the pool and spa industry, Memphis Pool enjoys the respect and admiration of their colleagues and dedication and friendship of their customers both of which span generations.

Tags: Memphis Pools of Memphis, Swimming Pool Design, Master Pools Guild - Meet Our Members, Master Pools Guild