Award-winning pool and spa project in Houston

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Even the greatest works of art remain static over the centuries, but the exquisite play of light on water changes with every instant. It is at once complex and simple, incident and reflection, as the smallest ripples re-create the masterpiece, again and again, all night long.

The source of dramatic light for this Houston project is fire, whether the infernos raging on the setting Texan sun or the glowing bowls of flame perched like sentinels at either end of the vanishing edge.

The radiant beams are left to play on two pools of water, one hot, one cool - both uncomplicated at first glance, but like a good painting, the more you look, the more you see.

"The really unique feature of this pool," says Merry Wise, "is the wetted edge surrounding the pool on three sides and then blending into a surrounding wetted edge on the spa."

The intricate patterns of Oyster Creek slate can be seen through the shallow water along the wetted edge. This elegant coping and decking material emerges from the water and glides up onto the back patio, disappearing amid the stone columns and walls of the lodge-type house.

From that vantage point, this multi-faceted creation can be fully appreciated - beams of firelight leaping from the water at your feet, while at the far border of the main pool, a 28-foot vanishing edge, flanked by stone columns topped with fire bowls, serves as an iridescent picture frame for a lush bayou vista. "The whole ambiance creates the organic Zen experience of being one with nature," says Wise.

Such graceful simplicity and unity of design could only be achieved in a home and pool project that began with a clean sheet of paper.

"Massive piers provided the extensive underpinnings for this pool and were installed prior to the home even being built," says Wise. "The pool had to be exact in every detail to seamlessly fit the home to come. Cantilevered on a steep lot overlooking a natural setting, this pool integrates perfectly with its surroundings."

Each month we feature one of 11 annual AQUA Choice winners. The 2009 honorees are: Botanical Decorators, Olney, Md. • Catalina Pool & Spa, Maple Ridge, British Columbia • Da Vida Pools, Austin, Texas • Ocean Quest pools by Lew Akins, Belton, Texas • Pools By John Clarkson, Jacksonville, Fla. • Rosebrook Pools, Libertyville, Ill. • Royal Oasis Pools & Spas, Medford, Ore. • Southernwind Pools, Dallas, Texas • Tumber & Associates, Orangeville, Ontario • Wise Pool Company, Conroe, Texas. For more information about AQUA Choice or to enter the competition, visit

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