This family truly loves summer and the outdoor Queensland lifestyle.
Their primary school-aged kids are water babies and swim most days. When they aren’t cooling down after weekend sport, their house is full of friends and family enjoying a swim and a barbecue. Therefore, their overall brief was to maximise the space to create fun for everyone in a true family pool.
Originally, there was a 25-year-old freeform pool that had been cosmetically renovated to add a Balinese-style pool pavilion with a large tiled area around the pool. The old freeform pool was outdated, leaking and beyond repair.
ss evolved from simply replacing the existing pool to the realisation that a design meeting the clients’ “wish list” would make better use of the space. “Given that replacing a concrete pool in situ isn’t as straightforward and cost effective as you’d expect, our clients found that starting afresh gave them the chance to ‘do it once, do it right’ and dream a little bigger,” explains designer Kate McKinlay, of Mineral Pools Qld.
The family requested an area that made it easy to have people around at short notice, but without compromising on aesthetics and practicality. “Like most couples, they had a ‘his-and-hers’ list of priorities, but we were able to combine their individual features into one cohesive style,” says Kate.
All members of the family were considered in the creation of “the Water Park”, as they affectionately named it — from the young ones learning to swim, teenagers who want friends to visit (under the watchful eye of Mum and Dad), to the adults relaxing in the spa.
This truly is the ultimate family pool. For the big kids there’s the 5m x 4.5m sunken firepit with crazy-paved Helidon sandstone walls. The fully tiled spa with gas heater provides instant heating beside the firepit, which is great on cooler days. For fitness, the swim lane is 12m long. The kids love the water slide and the diving board, plus there is ample space for adults to laze in the sun and keep an eye on the kids’ antics. The block is one acre with great access. As it slopes slightly, the pool build actually created the opportunity to level out and further define the adjoining kids’ play space.
In addition to the sheer scope of this project, the clients were both practical and patient with regard to the construction timeframe, from start to completion. While the core elements were completed per schedule, they were prepared to wait when necessary for either funds and/or material availability to ensure the end result matched their vision. Ensuring the wish list was functional, looked good and fitted into the space had taken more than five months of revisions, so it was well worth the wait in the end.
Then came the material choices. “When you really look at this pool, you will see a lot of thought has gone into each area and how they interact to suit people of all ages, from grandparents through to little babies,” says Cam McKinlay, Kate’s husband. For example, the deeper ends for diving and splashing are away from the entertaining areas.
With hand-rendered finishes of certain materials, there can be variants and/or inconsistencies. “The possibilities are disclosed to all customers — and in this case there was a problem with the honed concrete surrounding the pool,” says Kate. Unfortunately, as can be the nature of concrete, cracking occurred outside of expansion joints and the honing process was unable to achieve the grip required for such a highly used wet area. “This, of course, resulted in many site visits and consultation with the supplier, concreter and client and we were able to come to a resolution. However, as we know, concrete isn’t an easy product to change,” says Kate.
“Considering the contrasting finish of all other aspects of the pool and surrounding features, the clients opted to tile over the entire area at a later stage using Linen travertine French pattern. It was an expensive exercise, but our honest conversations with the client both prior to and after the laying of the concrete definitely helped resolve it.”
The replacement of the old, smaller patio was designed and built by Mineral Pools Qld, again to suit the clients’ wishes to include an outdoor kitchen with a South African “braai”. Marrying different wish-list items resulted in the large wall above the outdoor kitchen bench doubling as a screen for the outdoor projector. The new skillion roof with spotted gum posts brings all three outdoor areas together nicely, also sheltering the filtration area behind the outdoor kitchen. The kids’ play area was levelled and laid with synthetic grass and now provides a defined space for the cubby house, trampoline and monkey bars.
Many materials were reused wherever possible, such as the old patio roof and pool fence, which were repurposed elsewhere on the property. The pool equipment was in good condition and repurposed where possible to suit the now larger pool.
According to Cam, the old cliché of communication is essential for Mineral Pools Qld when it comes to the principles of good design. “Understanding the client’s goal, budget and site constraints is essential, and then offering our experience and honest opinion sets a solid starting point,” he says. “We encourage our clients to research their ideas well in advance to determine affordability and practicality. Looking through designs and images not only helps the client decide on what they do like, but equally it helps rule out what they don’t want in their build. In designing this project there was a lot of consultation and sharing ideas about the materials used, and use of space.”
Mineral Pools Qld was started by husband and wife Cam and Kate McKinlay, who met while working in the industry 20 years ago. Cameron has been in the industry for more than 20 years, with solid experience and knowledge of construction as well as filtration and equipment.
The company is a member of Master Builders Queensland and specialises in custom-designed, concrete mineral pools. The team works on 60 pools a year, servicing the Greater Brisbane area in South-East Queensland.
Since the price rises post-COVID-19 and now with the more recent interest rate squeeze, Mineral Pools Qld has found that sending a site-unseen-based estimate on initial contact has been welcomed. “This allows people to familiarise themselves with our inclusions and importantly give them a ‘ball park figure’ starting point to consider in relation to their budget and expectations,” says Kate. “From there, the client can proceed to a site inspection by Cam, who then prepares the more detailed quote specific to their needs, and we conduct preliminary searches to determine any common services or known impediments to building a pool. With the quote we include a rendered 3D drawing to help the client visualise their design, which can be amended as those plans are finalised. Once the quote inclusions and design are decided, we then proceed to complete a Master Builders Pool Contract for signing and go from there.”
In recognition of its exceptional expertise, Mineral Pools Qld won the 2020 SPASA Gold Award for Courtyard/Plunge Pool, and the 2020 SPASA Silver Award for Pool and Spa Combination (Concrete).
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