The innovative design of this unique Balinese-resort-inspired pool is a first in Australia, resulting in numerous awards.
This award-winning plunge pool design was inspired by a Balinese resort, but with a contemporary twist that’s suited to modern Australian acreage living. Designed by Jim Vansleve of Norfolk Pools, the freeform pool is positioned to nestle around an old cottage that was then renovated to suit the pool.
The old brick house was built into the side of the hill and the pool was designed to take full advantage of the block’s slope, connecting upstairs living to the downstairs entrance. Designed as a crescent shape, the pool was built to be the showpiece of the home. It also dictated the renovation’s design, with the house plans changing several times to suit the pool, which, according to Jim, is “an engineering feat”.
This pool encompasses all aspects of good design: positioning to the house and entertaining areas, a direct link to the main living zones of the house, visibility of the pool from as many vantage points as possible, and creative use of materials to highlight the pool’s features.
“It was a lengthy build as the pool shell had to be completed before the renovation started and could not be finished until the house was complete — much the same as most new house builds,” explains Jim.
The huge cantilevered swimout has three layers of steel and required incredible amounts of bracing to ensure its structural integrity. Emphasised by the fully tiled exterior in silver travertine cobbles that transition from 200mm x 100mm to 100mm x 100mm, the cantilever edge cascades to the pond below and can be seen from many vantage points throughout
the house and property.
“There was a lot of discussion on tiling of the pool and how to emphasise the cantilever edge underneath as this would be the first visible part of the pool on entering the house,” says Jim. “We also had to consider how to get the overflowing water of the negative edge to fall vertically rather than trickling down the underside face of the pool, plus the use of 100mm x 100mm tiles on the curved vertical faces to keep the smooth flow rather than becoming angular. The owners also preferred the soft tones of the green Bali stone over a blue pool and wanted the pool to draw your eye to the horizon.”
Simple but effective landscaping further emphasises the unique elements of the property. Norfolk Pools designed the outdoor areas below and adjacent to the pool, including the lower lounge area, open-air pergola, black reflection pond opposite and a dry riverbed feature for drainage.
It’s not difficult to see why this exceptional project was awarded 2021 SPASA Qld Pool of the Year plus 2021 Master Builders Association Gold Coast Best Residential Swimming Pool, and Norfolk Pools is keenly awaiting announcements on national awards in September. Jim Vansleve started Norfolk Pools in 1974 and is still actively involved in its day-to-day construction management and sales, accompanied by daughter Danica. Between the two, they manage all projects, from initial enquiry through to completion, with a highly skilled team that is attentive to detail.
Norfolk Pools is a boutique builder, concentrating on quality over quantity and with a penchant for difficult sites. Build numbers are capped at starting one to two pools a week, building on average 70 pools per year. “This allows us to ensure quality of what we build,” say Jim and Danica. Projects range from small plunge pools and private lap pools to more creative and involved projects. “We service metro Brisbane — Bayside to Western Suburbs and Albany Creek to Rochedale,” they add. “Our specialty is customised quality concrete pools, creative designs and difficult sites, with the aim of giving our clients a pleasant building experience, whether it is a simple family pool to enjoy or the more challenging sites with complex engineering where experience counts.
“We like to meet with our clients on site to assess important issues such as access and levels of the land, the house position, and to find out what our clients would like to achieve. We can design anything but we also like to be cost-efficient. Our focus is on design rather than a sale, we talk through possibilities, why one option may be better than another, and try to provide as much information as possible on how a build would take place due to property elements. We use 3D modelling, which we find takes the ‘grey areas’ out of the quoting process, such as where and why retaining walls might be needed.”
Norfolk Pools has received many awards over the past decade, from pools ranging under $50,000 to more than $100,000, and has collected technical and engineering awards, as well as recognition for lighting and water feature innovations. Recently, in the 2021 SPASA Queensland Awards, the company won Gold awards for Pool of the Year (for this project), Spa of the Year, Concrete Pool over $120,000, Pool Sales Representative (Danica Vansleve), Innovative Project and In-ground Concrete Spa. At the same awards, Norfolk Pools also took home Highly Commended for Best Concrete Pool Builder, Concrete Pool & Spa Combination, Courtyard or Plunge Pool, Pool Designer (Danica Vansleve) and In-ground Concrete Spa. Norfolk Pools is a member of SPASA and the Master Builders Association of Queensland.
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