PERFECTLY OPTIMIZED POOLS

by ALAENA HOSTETTER / photography by HOLGER OBENAUS

DESPITE ITS NAME, THE nearly 70-year-old California Pools has deep roots in Texas via proprietor Quinn Martin, a longtime builder who brought the franchise to North Texas three years ago. Before expanding to DFW, California Pools had already developed a strong foothold in the Austin area four years prior thanks to owner-operator Justin McGuire.

What California Pools provides to the Texas market is more than just a swimming receptacle with decades of experience behind it—think a backyard oasis fully integrated to the home’s architecture with a technologically optimized pool at the center of the design.

Some of the tech-savvy features include low-voltage LED lights that can change color with the click of a button; variable speed pumps that use 90 percent less energy compared to single speed pumps, according to California Pools; plus UV sanitation systems that require 50 percent less chlorine than typical pools.

“Reducing the chlorine needed to sanitize a pool is great because chlorine is a skin and respiratory irritant and a known carcinogen in large doses,” says a company representative. “We need traces of it to get rid of algae, but our systems use about as much chlorine as in drinking water.”

If that wasn’t impressive enough, there’s a nifty smartphone interface for homeowners to manage all aspects of the pool wirelessly, including the heat of the spa, pool temperature, lighting, fire features and more. It’s especially useful for revving up the hot tub on the way home from a night out.

All that tech convenience doesn’t come at the price of aesthetics. Delivering a backyard retreat with top-of-the-line materials—that complement the home’s existing look—is of utmost importance to the California Pools team and its designers.

A recent project near White Rock Lake embodies a clean, contemporary aesthetic with porcelain pavers, a new trend in pool design. “They are imported from Italy, and besides looking beautiful, they’re low-maintenance—nothing is going to stain it, UV doesn’t degrade it and they don’t retain heat like other natural stone pavers, which is comfortable for your feet,” says a California Pools rep. “These are cutting-edge and migrating into a lot more contemporary homes.”

Just a hop away in Lakewood, the California Pools team developed a stunning terraced pool design with multiple overflows. The ultramodern rectilinear shapes appear to float above one another—the spa overflows into the pool, and the pool then overflows into a decorative basin. The homeowner opted for a natural limestone pool deck and coping, set off by a shimmery gemstone plaster and sparkly mosaic tiles, the selections of which were guided by an on-staff interior designer at California Pools. “Those tiles catch the sunlight and pool lights beautifully,” says the company rep. “This pool has an elegant, clean, timeless look, and it’s highly customized.”

Martin’s career as a builder comes in handy as the pools themselves are just one facet of the backyard entertainment destinations created by his team. The Lakewood project, for instance, also features an outdoor kitchen, multiple seating areas and a pergola for shade.

An envy-worthy project for a pair of Fairview homeowners included a 500-square-foot outdoor kitchen with accoutrements like a pizza oven, stovetop and griddle to go along with the typical grill, fridge and sink found in many outdoor kitchens.

A unique request from a set of Prosper homeowners included incorporating a fire pit into the center of their free-form swimming pool. With a custom-designed grotto and slide, the project is truly Texas-sized. “Texas loves everything bigger, bolder and beautiful,” the company rep says. “They wanted a very rustic look, so there’s a lot of travertine in the decking, coping and veneer stones.”

From modern, elegant designs in the Park Cities to those that are figuratively and even literally “over-the-top”— including stainless steel rooftop pools for commercial and private buildings—California Pools has the know-how, resources and design chops on deck to fulfill every client’s dream of the most perfect pool.

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Alaena Hostetter is a content strategist, editor and journalist who writes about art, design, culture, music, entertainment and food.