Custom pool and aquarium project in Florence, Ky.

0208 102When Bob Shehan, vice president of Shehan Pools in Florence, Ky., was asked to build the pool for a home featured in Cincinnati's 2007 Homearama home show, the home builder told him: "We've got a really small lot. We've got about 30 feet from the back of the house and then it kind of drops off. I'd like for you to come up and design something for me that's going to fit with the lot, yet go along with the show of the house."

What Shehan had in mind was building a pool against the perimeters of the house and incorporating an attached aquarium, which can be viewed through a temperedglass window in the basement.

The freshwater aquarium is separated from the pool by a divider wall ornamented with artificial rock. "But when you're [standing] there, you'd never know it because there's some water coming down the rocks, which looks like it's coming from the aquarium," says Shehan.

The challenges of building a pool along the foundation of the house proved difficult, but achievable. Because Shehan began the project at the same time the house was in the very early stages of being built, he was able to make compensations to the foundation.

"Structurally, we just had to make sure that the foundation was made a little thicker, more steel, so it was engineered to support the aquarium and the underwater viewing window," says Shehan. "Once they got further along in the house, we came in and did both the pool and the aquarium at the same time."

In keeping with a lagoon-like theme, the pool has a black quartzite finish and is adorned with many exotic plants. Both sides of the steps leading up to the veranda are accented with artificial rock and a custom- made handrail. The tree trunk that doubly serves as a focal point and additional planter in the aquarium was actually fabricated by Shehan Pools.

The covered veranda area features a grill, TV, a little sitting area and a 5-foot-diameter catch pool. While the backyard space was limited, Shehan gave the owner exactly what he wanted. "Some people call them cocktail pools," Shehan sayss. "Just get in and relax. It's a decent size pool to just get in and float around."

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