DESIGNER pools are the latest must-have accessory in luxury homes, with experts predicting they add up to three times their cost to property value.
From $20,000 plunge pools on tiny blocks to cantilevered ones worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, demand is surging, keeping builders and designers on their toes.
Real estate agent Matt Lancashire of Ray White New Farm has one of Brisbane’s most amazingly engineered pools in a home set to go to auction on March 26. Called Balaam, the pool at 33B Harbour Road, Hamilton, was especially designed by architect Shaun Lockyer and built by Hutchinson Builders for Brisbane developer Don O’Rourke of Consolidated Properties.
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Its groundbreaking cantilevered pool was set into the side of the first floor of the home so that Mr O’Rourke’s children could be seen from the upstairs kitchen while they were swimming.
“The most important features for pools are one that it be beautiful and striking and secondly that it be practical. If you can see the pool from all parts of the house it’s great for safety, great for the family to enjoy time together,” Mr O’Rorke said.
“You could be eating in the dining area, cooking in the kitchen, and still have the ability to interact with the pool.
“In Balaam, we put a bright red mosaic tile in a beautiful pool, with a glass wall to the street which adds a bit of drama and then we put it on the first floor so it sat in middle of kitchen outdoor dining and living area so everyone could be together.”
Mr Lancaster said the Balaam pool was a ‘no budget spared’ property icon.
“The full cantilevered suspended pool has a glass front edge that’s rated so highly you could use it in Seaworld to keep polar bears in,” Mr Lancashire said.
“Literally to put a pool in like that with concrete and glass you wouldn’t do it again or it would be majorly overcapitalising. But the way this whole house was designed and built, it works.” Mr O’Rourke sold the home for $11.8m four years ago.
Award-winning Brisbane builder Graya director Rob Gray said pools were not just a luxury any more in upmarket homes, but a necessity.
“With our climate it actually makes a lot of financial sense to put a pool in your house,” he told The Sunday-Mail. “For what it costs, you get a good return because of the climate, definitely in Brisbane. A $1.5 million house might sell for $1.6m because of it, and the pool might have only cost about $30,000.”
The line of sight trend has come into its own across South East Queensland, where the cost of pools run from $20,000 for a designer plunge pool to upwards of $100,000 for special ones tailored to suit particular sites.
“People want to see the pool from their kitchen and living area,” Mr Gray said. “They need a visual of the kids, so it needs a connection with the kitchen and living area. That’s where people will want their pool now. Most people don’t want a disconnected jellybean.”
Celebrity television pool designer Dave Franklin – whose skills have taken him to The Block, Reno Rumble, Open Homes Australia, and Ready Set Reno – said healthier pools were also on the rise.
“More and more clients are asking for natural pool filtration systems. Magnesium based pools are definitely on the rise.”
His top five pool tips were to consider natural alternatives especially for filtration systems, don’t even think about DIY for pools, use the highest levels of water purification you can afford, do not skimp on maintenance, and remember small spaces can work well too.
“Many of us are opting for compact, apartment style living these days and that doesn’t have to mean you can’t have a pool,” he said.
“I’ve loved designing and building some really creative, small-space swimming pool solutions and you wouldn’t believe what you can achieve with smart thinking and innovative ideas. The sky’s the limit.”
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