Chicago-area residential pool project

4 L 1109 AqRow homes are known for being stacked right next to each other, leaving little room to accommodate anything extra on or around the property. But when Platinum-Poolcare Aquatech, Wheeling, Ill., worked with Nicholas Clark Architects to give these homeowner the perfect complement to their newly designed home, the tight space didn't stand a chance.

"The biggest challenge [gaining access] for construction was that we had to carry all the materials because there were houses on either side," says Mike Higgins, sales associate for the pool builder. "Our equipment was put down into a concrete vault where you have to take 10 or so steps down a ladder, and then we protected it with a grading material."

The interior surface of all three watershapes is a black onyx DiamondBrite finish, enhancing the almost industrial feel of the project. The coping and decking material is a natural bluestone to "try and incorporate that elegant water feature look," adds Higgins. That blends well with the black slate waterline tile and the black fittings.

The pool is equipped with a gray automatic pool cover to blend in with the other hues. The owners specifically asked to have the leading edge bar hidden, so the builder notched out the concrete to make their request possible.

"The project really captured what the client was looking for," says Higgins. "There are some spectacular views."

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