Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa, "Creating Water as Art."™

Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa, "Creating Water as Art."™
Pools as an art form - the way it should be!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A One of a kind!

Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa
Paolo Benedetti

Creating a high-end custom luxury swimming pool or aquatic environment that is "one of a kind" project for a client, is a relatively easy feat for an "aquatic architect." Since each client & site are unique, once a design has been tailored to fit each element, the results will be a true "one of a kind."

A client purchased a unique property in Montecieto, CA. The property was designed in the 1920's by the founder of the "Santa Barbara" architectural style, George Washington Smith. Though Smith had no formal architectural training and only designed for a decade, he generated 80+ designs, of which 59 were built. Smith designed for the rich and famous of the time, Dr. Fagan (married to Charles Crocker's daughter), Charles Crocker, Van Wyck Maverick family of Texas, Jackling (Copper Baron) & George Steedman (industrialist).

The property was on 20+ acres in the hills of Montecito, with commanding views of Santa Barbara & the Pacific Ocean. All of the buildings had heavy distressed timber open-beamed ceilings, large over-hanging rooflines, tile and stone floors, thick stucco walls, wooden windows recessed into the walls, heavy plank wood doors with cast iron hardware, and wide open floorplans that opened onto the central courtyard.

Though the client wanted to completely renovate the estate, everything had to look as it would have in the "period." This quickly became the genre... "it is period?" Whether in it's manufacturing methods, appearance or materials, everything bit of materials had to be "period."

We were however allowed to utilize modern construction techniques, but the results had to look old. So we set out to locate handmade glazed spanish tiles - each one was slightly different from the next, hand forged bronze plumbing fixtures, hidden electrical plugs, cast iron drain grates... in essence a material sourcing nightmare. Yes, there were a lot of hours dedicated to just locating acceptable materials. The internet helps, but it still is very time consuming.

This brings us to a point where I should discuss profit margins & mark-up. On projects where we are expected to deliver detailed, unique, or custom materials, gross margins of 35-40% are not unheard of. These margins cover the overhead and time in locating & sourcing special materials for a project. Also, there has to be some profit left over for the designer/contractor, in order for them to stay in business! Though the total dollars paid by a client for "mark-up" can be enormous, there is a tremendous amount of effort & hours spent "behind the scenes," for which we have to be reimbursed.

The samples, mock-ups and materials viginettes for the client to approve, also bear costs. There are costs involved to acquire, assemble, transport, display, and dispose of the samples. Sometimes, tile samples for instance, may require a 4' X 8' mock-up panel in order for the cleint to envision the whole theme.

The net results for the clients, are a project that works with their California-Spanish architecture. One that looks original to the site, that no one can distinguish from a true "period" element.

A true one-of-a-kind!

Paolo Benedetti - Aquatic Artist
"Creating water as art."™
Aquatic Technology Pool & Spa