Fire And Ice

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Even though this was the first time OuterSpaces worked with Oceanside Glasstile, the supplier uses the contractor's pictures from the installation in its training session. "It's because of the way we approached the problem," says Bob Nonemaker, co-owner of the Glen Mills, Pa., landscape design/build firm.

"We always err on the side of being as precise as possible at the very beginning," says Nonemaker, "because every dimension of a cylinder has to be perfect. You can't have one wall be a quarter inch wider than a piece on the other side — there's no fudging it. We made a lot of very specialized jigs and we built a tent over the entire thing just so my guys would feel really comfortable. That's an $80,000 spa with 16 jets and 14,000 tiles on it. And it's dead level — it's perfect. It also overflows all the way around into a channel that has 12 fiber-optic uplights. So at night the lights shine up on the tiles that have an iridescent finish, and you get a really amazing dancing of light across that tile. It's mesmerizing."

For the deck, OuterSpaces poured irregular segments of concrete and filled in the 2- to 3-inch joint spaces with mosaics of Riverjack stone, "so it looks as though water is flowing through the deck," says Nonemaker. Because the homeowners often like to get just slightly wet, OuterSpaces included a shallow, 100-square-foot "thermal ledge" where they can place an umbrella.

A glowing referral led these homeowners to OuterSpaces, and this offered the contractor a lot of freedom. "They had a lot of trust in us, and that's a big part of being able to exercise your creativity, stretch your wings and try something that most people wouldn't," says Nonemaker.

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