Sometimes it’s the smallest projects that make the biggest waves. Such is the case with a “modest” spa designed by Aquavisions for a client in Linglestown, Pennsylvania that is racking up top industry awards.
The owners, who had a large estate with an immense pool, downsized when their children grew up. After they renovated their house, they decided they wanted to jump into pool planning.
Aquavisions, a 16-year-old family-owned company in central Pennsylvania, had renovated their previous pool seven years earlier. The new property, which had never had a pool, was a narrow plot with drastically differing slopes; even if the owners had wanted an enormous pool, it would have been impossible to build one.
“They originally were talking about a small pool/spa combo and an outdoor room that included a cabana,” says Matthew Lusk, who along with his brother, Andy, co-owns Aquavisions. “Ultimately, they decided on an oversized spa with some pool space because for the most part, it was only going to be the two of them using it.”
In 2018, the project, won a silver award from the APSP for hot tubs and spas with water features and a “best in competition” NESPA award. The pool features a variety of cutting-edge Pentair products, including an IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pump and an IntelliTouch automation system with an integrated Intellichlor salt/chlorine generation.
“I use Pentair products as a standard for all of my projects,” Lusk says, adding that Aquavisions typically designs and builds 20 pools a year.
“As complicated as some of our design/build projects can get, I want pool equipment that is simple to install and simple to operate. Pentair continues to supply us with that equipment and has always delivered great customer service and support to our company and our clients.”
Matthew Lusk, Co-Owner of Aquavisions
Working with 3-D design software, Aquavisions developed a comprehensive design. The pool/spa is incorporated into a cedar-wood and stone cabana that’s in what Lusk calls a “modern rustic” style that complements the architecture of the house.
It is cleverly constructed to take advantage of the disparities in the height of the land. It has a sunken living room, complete with a fireplace, a grill area, a flat-screen television, and a bar topped by a granite slab that projects into the spa.
“We kept one side of the spa wall exposed to create the swim-up bar and made the elevations work with the sunken living area,” Lusk says. “On the spa side, the water depth is 42 inches and has built-in stools that put you at bar height. On the dry side, the finished floor is 42 inches lower than the bar, putting you at the same height as someone sitting in the spa when you’re in a free-standing chair.”
The 10-foot by 18-foot spa is large enough for wading and splashing but not big enough to swim laps. Ten Pentair Venturi Spa Jets transform it into a relaxing spa at the touch of a button. A Pentair UltraTemp High Performance electric Heat/Cool Heat Pump (the first on the market with an ozone-friendly refrigerant) keeps the body of water at a comfortable 82 degrees, while a secondary Sta-Rite Max-E-Therm natural gas heater boosts the heat to 102 degrees when the clients are in the mood for some spa therapy.
Because the spa features a pair of copper scupper spillways as well as jets, Lusk chose an IntelliFlo Variable Speed Pool and Spa Pump, which is 90 percent more efficient than traditional models.
“It takes different flow rates to operate filtration, spa jets, and spillways whether individually or all together,” he says. “With this pump, you can adjust the speed and water flow; it’s energy efficient, but you still get the correct amount of water flow for each element.”
The pool/spa’s small size makes it imperative to include a system that replenishes water quickly. Lusk installed Pentair’s Automatic Water Filler to assure that users can splash all they want without worrying about coming up dry.
Lusk says that one of the bigger challenges was coordinating all the contractors. “Everyone was working in a very small space,” he says. “With masons, landscapers, woodworkers, and utility company workers on site at the same time, there were so many moving pieces that everybody had to come together to pull off the construction.”
At night, the spa is the star of a rainbow light show, courtesy of Pentair’s IntelliBrite system, which choreographs colors on command. It, like all the Pentair products, is controlled by the brand’s automated IntelliTouch system.
Lusk says the owners gave him the ultimate compliment: They told him the spa turned out even better than they had envisioned.
“They’re tickled that it has won awards and morphed into something bigger than anyone thought,” he says.