Kelly Kohl Construction
Spas, Pools and Spools
by Gina Dostler
Her dynamic personality has enabled her to pursue another career after her initial retirement. In 1999 she followed her passion and became a landscape design consultant after flying through the sky for 25 years as a flight attendant for a major airline.
She quickly became in demand, and her business expanded to include general contracting. Her attention to detail and her customer-service skills have made for satisfied customers and a large referral base that keeps her in demand.
Though the contracting industry as a whole has slowed down, Kelly has maneuvered herself into a good spot with remodeling homes, gutting the interior and designing a whole new home inside and providing a landscape to match.
Another aspect of Kelly’s creative talents focuses on a favorite of kids and adults alike: pools and spas. Though the rainy season is technically in effect here in the Southland, right now is the perfect time to start planning for a summer pool or spa. Or hey, let’s get the best of both worlds and put in a spool!
Either way, Kelly has graciously given some insights into pool building, one of her specialties, and the importance of flow, balance and creating an inspiring place to relax and croon … aaaahhhh.
Q: You’ve caught my attention already with the term spool. What does that mean?
A: Spool is a spa and pool combined. It is not as big as a pool, but not as small as a spa – a spool – and can be used as both a pool and a spa. They come in all different shapes and sizes. Though a spool doesn’t have the same amount of benches a spa would hold and is not long enough to lap swim, they are a favorite of families with kids because they are not as deep or wide or long as a pool. Kids can play in fairly shallow waters and when they are tuckered out, adults can then relax and enjoy the waterworks of a spa. A perfect playground for adults and kids!
Q: Would a spool be a good-priced alternative to putting in a full-size pool and spa?
A: That is one of its advantages, the cost. With less hand-dug excavating, which is why pools can get very pricey, the cost of putting in a spool becomes reasonable, especially in this economy. The shape of the spools tend to look more like ponds which is a giant plus to creating a spa-like environment with rock waterfalls and beach entries.
Q: So building this “oversized” spa is less expensive, but what about the cost of heating it?
A: Almost all pools and spas are heated via solar panels these days. Even if your whole house does not include solar heating, panels can be erected just to warm up the spool. Combine that with solar covers and it once again becomes a cost-affective alternative to a full-size pool and spa. Also the once huge, energy-hog equipment has downsized to become smaller and more energy efficient.
A: For an incredibly stunning effect, installing glass tiles on the bottom of a pool or spa in mosaic designs changes the entire look with an artistic flair. These glass tiles come in all color types and can be placed anywhere in the pool perhaps on the waterline or as a decorative finish to the coping.
For another unique look, resurfacing your pool with a pebble bottom is another option. It’s like putting icing on a cake, but instead it’s with small, medium or large pebbles over the concrete shell. The advantage of pebbles is it is nicer, softer and, depending on the color, you can make it look like the azure color of the Mediterranean, or the deep blue of the Pacific. You can even give it a rustic red look. If you really want to go all the way, throw crushed abalone shells into the mix producing a bottom that sparkles like diamonds. But you just can’t stop at the pool. I totally recommend reworking the landscape along with the pool so everything keeps in balance.
Q: And landscaping means more than plants in this case.
A: Put in fire pots that shoot actual flames around the pool area. Install fire walls with dancing flames running atop a ledge that sends waterfalls arcing into the pool. Place fountains around fire pots or fire walls. You can even have the decking spout water like fountains. Sheer-descent water features or fountains shooting water out of the middle of the pool. Have a pergola installed that provides a sitting area where breezes and dappled light from the sun come through but that also offers protection from the harsh glare of direct sunlight. There is no limit to what can be created.
Q: I love pools at night, the light shining through the water. What do you suggest for lighting?
A: The trend is toward fancy underwater lights that change colors with a fiber-optic color wheel, flips to any color you want. For the Fourth of July, fiber optics sporting a specific color wheel that makes the water change from red to white to blue. As for other types of trends, utilizing fiber optics on the bottom of the pool with the lights shining upwards or on the sides of the pool made to look like little stars.
Q: What about the decking? Recommendations?
A: I recommend pavers instead of concrete around the pool for several reasons. It’s better for the environment. Concrete cracks and shifts whereas pavers have much more give and take and last a whole lot longer. Best of all, though pavers are tightly put in, they can be pulled up without a jack hammer to fix piping problems underneath. And pavers are a lot prettier nowadays with a wide variety available such as seashells embedded in them.
Q: Things to consider when building a pool.
A: A bathroom. Be sure that access to the bathroom is near or you will have to truck back and forth through the house to use the facility. Maybe an outdoor pool house with a bathroom might be something to consider. Is there an outdoor kitchen to store snacks and sodas? How about benches to store toys, or hooks placed on the side of the house where the sun can dry them out of sight. Grommets placed in several places to move umbrellas to different places allow for shade all around the pool. Also when designing a pool, consider the ages in the family, shallow ends for children, steps for the elderly. I myself love the baja shelf, a large shallow ledge in the pool. I can sit in my chair in five to eight inches of water to sunbathe, read a book or watch the kids playing.
Q: Water. Kids. Safety.
A: Being a mom myself, this is something I take seriously. It is very important is to have all doors and windows alarmed and separate from the alarm system in your house. These alarms you cannot turn off. Do not snub this feature. Even if you only have fountains outside, it is good to be aware when kids have stepped outside. Use netting or keep the solar cover on the pool until adult supervision is around. And I very much advocate taking a course in advanced first aid and a CPR course. Keep a first-aid kit readily available including an AED. Be prepared. Then have fun.
Kelly Kohl, CEO
Kelly Kohl Construction 880711
Kelly Kohl & Associates, Inc.
General & Landscape Design & Build Specialist
Woman Owned & Operated