Waterfront: January 2005 - Star-Studded Spa Exposure; When Money Is No Object; The City By the Sea

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Even though hot tubs get a lot of exposure these days on reality dating shows, those in the pool and spa industry know the demographics of the show viewers and hot tub buyers don't often overlap. So when Jacuzzi Premium got an opportunity to put one of its hot tubs in an upscale showhouse that hundreds of potential buyers would visit, the company didn't hesitate. The Jacuzzi was selected by Jack de Lashmet, the landscape design chair for the 2004 Hampton Designer Showhouse, and it was on display last summer in the backyard of a lavish, 12,000-square-foot mansion in Wainscott, N.Y.

House and Garden magazine presents the Hampton Designer Showhouse annually; in 2004, it was created by more than 30 interior, landscape and decorative designers. And the $9 million, shingle-style showhouse attracted quite a crowd. At a gala preview party in June, Martha Stewart and Jack and Kate Spade were among the many who toured the grounds. The home was also open to the public and admission proceeds totaling a remarkable $100,000 went to the Southampton Hospital a volunteer, not -for-profit facility that provides care to patients regardless of their ability to pay.

In addition to contributing to a good cause, "the exposure to the public was great," says Heather Finley, marketing manager for Jacuzzi Premium. "It's good to be in places where people are looking for ideas to design their homes.

The more positive exposure we can get for the whole spa category by being in projects like this, the better. On the whole, it was a win-win for all of us."

When Money Is No Object

A visit to Hearst Castle, one of mid-20th century publishing tycoon William Randolph Hearst's many homes, was a highlight of the Genesis 3 Level I school held in late October in Morro Bay, Calif. The group of pool designers and builders inspected the Neptune Pool and later toured the indoor Roman Bath pool. The extravagant San Simeon estate is now a California State Parks System attraction.

The City By the Sea

People have flocked to Atlantic City since the turn of the century to rest, relax and indulge in its many attractions, including the Atlantic Ocean and the boardwalk and shops that sit alongside its waterline. Shown are images taken from 1910 to 1920.

Natural Elements

Pathways, walls, seating, rock gardens, ornaments, water features . . . Instructions and inspiration for creating all of these with stone resides within Garden Stone, a recent release from Storey Publishing.

This manual is like a wonderful meal. The photographs whet your appetite, and just casually leafing through its 240 pages will inspire many more projects than you could hope to accomplish in one season.

But the author provides plenty of substance to back up the rich photographs. Comprehensive "how-to" information on designing and building pathways, walls, seats, rock gardens, water features β€” just about anything one might think to do with stone β€” provides the tools to satisfy all the ideas the photos have conjured up.

Whether it serves as an idea book for clients, or as your own guide for working with stone, this volume will answer nearly every question imaginable.

Once you've designed a lovely stone-enhanced pond, you'll want to consult the Complete Guide to Water Garden Plants. This easy-to-use reference book will help the novice water gardener select and place the appropriate plantings to finish the project and ensure success.

Within the 224 pages are a color encyclopedia of aquatic plants with growing instructions for each entry; a horticulture refresher with detailed illustrations showing plant structure and biology; a useful discussion of the different types of aquatic plants and how to best use them β€” whether submerged, floating or marginal β€” and technical tips and secrets from professional growers.

With these two books, you can start planning now for delightful natural features in the coming season's projects.

β€” K.P.

Garden Stone: Creative Landscaping With Plants and Stone By Barbara Pleasant Storey Publishing ISBN: 1580175449 Complete Guide to Water Garden Plants By Helen Nash and Steve Stroupe Sterling Publishing ISBN: 1402709544

Painting The Ocean Floor

Rec center pool mural teems with sea life.

Your cross-town competition may drive you nuts some days, but they also keep you sharp and innovative. Take, for example, this incredible mural in the swimming pool of the Spring Hill RECenter in McLean, Virginia. The center manager wanted to outdo another local recreation center that had an Atlantis-themed mural on the wall by its pool, says Timothy Grant, the artist who painted this mural along with his colleague Mitzi Beneck. "So they had us bring Atlantis into the pool," says Grant.

The mural of sea life is as functional as it beautiful. "That area of the pool is where they teach toddler swimming lessons," Grant says, and the instructors use the images. For example, they have the kids play ring around the rosie around the ring of dolphins, swim back and forth along the sandbar, and search for specific fish, as there are many to find scattered throughout the mural.

Grant says they considered painting a mural with a playful Sesame Street-type motif, but they didn't want the kids to feel like they were walking into a classroom when they entered the pool. They wanted the pool to be inviting, and toward that end, they painted a sandy beach with lapping waves at the pool's beach entry.

"One of the things I enjoy most with murals is getting patrons to have ownership of the mural," says Grant. "So we always try to get people involved and for this project we did that β€” the director of the center and one of the swim instructors actually painted their own fish."

Once the kids in McLean see this mural, there'll be little challenge in getting them involved β€” the challenge will be getting them out of the pool.

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