Pools at the Beach

BY Laura Rectenwald

These days Wrightsville area residents are taking advantage of this backyard luxury while following necessary construction protocol to ensure the preservation of their surrounding environment. Zoning permits are followed by building permits and if the home is located on the oceanfront on the sound or in an area of environmental concern a CAMA (Coastal Area Management Act) permit is required as well. Although it might sound complicated local pool contractors agree that building a pool at the beach isn’t as difficult as you might think and definitely shouldn’t stop anyone from fulfilling his or her dream.

It certainly didn’t stop these homeowners!

Here are four stunning and unique pools in and around Wrightsville Beach adding charm entertaining guests and offering a different kind of beach-life relaxation for the families that own and enjoy them.

Gus and Linda Franklin • 2100 Stillwater Lane

Gus and Linda Franklin dreamed of owning a house with a pool. “I’ve always wanted the house built around the pool in kind of a U- shape ” Linda says proudly looking at her newly finished home in Landfall. Tom Hanna the Franklins’ contractor along with Price Carolina Aquatech pools out of Florence SC helped her to reach her dream.

Bordered with a golf course on the right and with the lake directly behind them the Franklins’ house was the perfect location for an infinity pool a pool that creates a “falling off” effect with the water from the pool seemingly falling into the lake itself. Worth Adams of Price Carolina knows how important setting is for an infinity pool. “If you don’t have the perfect setting the infinity pool isn’t nearly as striking and the Franklins are lucky to have such a great site for this pool ” Adams says.

The Franklins’ infinity pool which boasts a double negative edge from the spa is constructed of steel-reinforced gunite and features custom-designed architectural cast stone materials by Architectural Stone Concepts of Fort Mill SC. The striking interior finish is a mother-of-pearl Cayman exposed aggregate surface which is accentuated by two multicolor underwater pool lights great for the night-time entertaining Linda loves.

The pool and whirlpool have an Aquatech Caretaker in-floor cleaning system with an Aquatech leaf trapper that continually cleans. Not only is this cleaning method efficient it also means less work for the owners a big plus for the Franklins.

The pool is heated as well as cooled a new concept and technology for the pool business. “A lot of pools being built now are made with darker surfaces that attract and hold heat more than normal so heat pumps with reverse refrigerant to cool the water are becoming more and more necessary and common ” Hanna explains. The Aquatech gas heater has a separate Aquatech Icebreaker Heat Pump with reverse refrigerant that operates to both heat and cool the pool. This feature is quickly gaining popularity especially in regions such as ours which are known for hot and humid summer days.

As simple as it is to take a refreshing dip in their pool it wasn’t quite so simple to build. “This thing is complex ” Hanna says. “It’s hard to describe how much plumbing goes into something like this.” It took eight months to complete and in the heat of summer it was tough going. Linda saw firsthand just how complex her dream was to fulfill. “When we first started talking about this pool I looked at Tom and said ‘How hard could it be? Just dig a hole and put some water in it ’” Linda says laughing. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

And now that it’s completed will the Franklins get a lot of use out of it? Looking out over the lake Linda answers with enthusiasm. “You’ll find us in the hot tub around 7 o’clock watching the sun setting through the pines.”

Joseph McKinney • 23 Myrtle Court

Harbor Island resident Joseph McKinney isn’t the only one enjoying his shaded Harbor Island backyard pool. Built by Prestige Pools the neighborhood kids are enjoying it just as much and maybe more. The home built by Eddie Collins has attracted guests of all ages. “Kids come to the door at 8 in the morning asking me to swim ” McKinney says laughing. “When we have parties over here the adults sit in the hot tub and watch the kids run around and play in the pool. It’s entertaining.” Lucy Gee Joseph’s neighbor and mother of two avid swimmers — Summer 9 and Carly 7 — loves to take advantage of McKinney’s backyard playground. “My kids love to go over to Joseph’s to swim with him in his pool ” Gee says. “He has created a really nice family atmosphere for my kids and the rest of the neighborhood.” Without the strong currents and waves that come with ocean swimming the pool has been a great place for the neighborhood kids to play and learn how to swim. McKinney’s own children are enjoying it as well. “Jackson my 7-year-old has already learned how to swim in the pool and Aida who’s only 7 months will be next ” says McKinney.

The freeform vinyl pool gives the illusion of gunite without the high price tag and looks stunning. The pool which has a decorative concrete overlay took a little more than three months to build and features fountains and deck water-jets. The cleaning system consists of an automatic pool sweep that drives around the bottom of the pool like a robot. The palm trees surrounding the pool give it a tropical feel and remind swimmers that they’re at the beach. “It’s the perfect hangout spot in the summer ” McKinney says “and I’m just happy to have it.”

Pete and Valerie Wiegman • 2403 N. Lumina Avenue

No one loves the ocean more than the Wiegman family who surf boogie board and windsurf all season long. But having a pool makes beach living even more enjoyable for this family of four. “It’s great to cool down in the pool after a long hot day at the beach ” says Valerie draping her arm over her poolside bench. Sometimes it’s even better than the beach itself. “If the wind is coming from the west the pool is better because the beach is just too hot ” Valerie explains “and if there is an onshore wind it’s best to be at the beach.” A pool also offers hard-to-resist privacy and convenience. “Sometimes it’s nice to swim in private ” Valerie says “and the view of the marsh is just breathtaking. The setting is key for this pool.”

But with the house and pool so close to the marsh Phil Harris of Caribbean Pools took extra caution in building it so as not to disrupt the ecosystem. “You have to be careful not to build too close to such a delicate area and we take every precaution during the building process to ensure that the area around the pool is preserved.”

The Wiegmans aren’t the only ones enjoying this luxury. Their yellow lab Lulu loves it too and takes every opportunity to jump in. “Lulu will run all over the beach and when we get back she runs right to that pool for a nice refreshing dip ” Valerie says smiling.

Built by Caribbean Pools and landscaped by Garden Concepts the Wiegman’s pool offers a waterfall that spills into the pool; the family has found this feature also helps block road noise. Four mini-jets are also hidden in the stone surrounding the pool and pop up to create a waterfall arch into the pool that’s appealing as well as fun for the kids. And when it comes to maintenance Valerie says that their pool is practically free of it. “It’s not nearly as hard as people think it is ” she says. “My husband does the chemicals himself.” Besides hand vacuuming it once a week and checking the chemicals all the Wiegmans have to do is watch the “robot” vacuum do its work at night covering every inch of the pool’s bottom and filtering sand accumulated during the week.

Although it’s more than pretty enough this definitely isn’t one of those pools that is simply there for looks. Everyone including Lulu gets in on the action at the Wiegmans’ house.

Greg and Jane Ceiner • 2103 N. Lumina Avenue

Located on the west side of North Lumina Avenue Greg and Jane Ceiner’s pool and whirlpool spa offer panoramic views of boats and marine life in the Middle Sound and the Intracoastal Waterway. Price Carolina Aquatech Pools out of Florence S.C. along with Wrightsville Beach Landscaping made the Ceiners’ dream of owning a pool at the beach a reality. The pool offers everything that they need including plenty of swimming space for their three girls — Caroline 12 Katherine Jane 9 and Elizabeth 7 — who love to splash around in it every chance they get. “The beach is for some people some of the time ” Jane says of her children’s love of the pool “and a pool is for everyone all of the time.”

The steel-reinforced gunite pool boasts an interior finish consisting of mother-of-pearl Oyster Bay exposed aggregate surface which colors the pool with a stunning turquoise blue that seems to melt into the natural bodies of water surrounding it. Borba Turquoise textured ceramic tiles line the pool wall and interior and exterior of the spa wall to add even more color. The pool coping and spa wall cap are custom-designed architectural cast stone created by Architectural Stone Concepts and add natural-looking color to this oceanside oasis. And after enduring four summers of use and Hurricanes Charley and Ophelia Jane says that it still looks brand-new. “That’s the benefit of using these modern natural materials ” she says. “The newness of our pool just hasn’t worn off one bit.”

The Aquatech Caretaker in-floor cleaning system with an Aquatech leaf trapper constantly cleans the pool and whirlpool. An Aquatech Chlormatic automatic chlorine generating system which produces its own chlorine from salt is used to disinfect the pool and an Aquatech gas heater with dual thermostats for the pool and whirlpool ensures that everyone is comfortable at all times.

Nothing is better than relaxing in a lit whirlpool spa at night especially when it offers Twirl jet hydrotherapy jets as this one does for the ultimate relaxation experience and the Ceiners enjoy their pool day and night thanks to two underwater lights.