What's it Like to Design a Pool With Fireclay?
Rebecca Hart is an artist and interior designer specializing in pool design. Based just outside of New Orleans, Louisiana, Rebecca works for Premier Pools and Spas helping realize her clients’ design dreams with one of the most fun features a home can have. As she puts it, “When someone asked me if I wanted a bathroom or a pool, I said pool. I’m not hosting anyone in my bathroom, so that can stay the way it is.”
Rebecca recently completed a pool design featuring 4 colors of Glass Tile and an accent wall of Specialty Ceramic Tile. We wanted to hear how it went and reached out to give others an idea of what working with Fireclay is really like.
How did you get into designing pools?
I got into pool designing because I built my own pool five years ago and met the owner of Premiere Pools in the Mandeville/New Orleans area. I had been having a really hard time finding a pool builder that was listening to me and understanding that I didn't want just the normal travertine.
I just knew I wanted something different and I couldn’t find a contractor who was even willing to help me and there really weren’t many designers that understood how to actually design a pool and build it. It's a little bit different from doing a bathroom or kitchen which I couldn't do. I wouldn't know which details to pay attention to like edge pieces and all that stuff for bathrooms and kitchen - that's why you hire professionals.
I finally found this builder, we became great friends and he asked me, “Do you wanna work for me?” So I started designing pools and selling them and it's been a lot of fun!
How did you discover Fireclay?
On Instagram, because I'm one of those people who obsesses on Instagram for hours and hours instead of watching TV and all my friends are obsessed with your Instagram. It’s amazing, it's just so much fun.
I have an older home and I needed a backsplash in my kitchen which I still haven’t done and I think I found you guys that way. My backsplash is actually Fireclay samples lined up right now.
Then at some point, y’all featured a pool and I was like “Why have I not been looking into other tile options for pools?” because really in the pool industry the options, in my opinion, are not great. And I had customers that were coming in and they were doing the same thing I did. They were looking at the wall with samples going like, “This isn't what I'm envisioning for my pool. I'm looking for something that is more elevated.” And the moment I pull Fireclay Tile up on the screen they’re like ‘Oh wow oh wow wow wow wow!”
So it's an easy sell quite honestly for that right client.
What was the first thing you did to engage with Fireclay?
I sent an email starting a trade account first and that's how I got hooked up with Alisha. I told her what I was looking for and that I had a couple of clients who are looking for something different and she was immediately throwing out ideas and walked me through all of the pool options.
So it was really her educating me on what we can even do. Before I'm even able to really offer it I need to know how this is going to work, what can work and what can't.
How did your client’s vision change from when you started working with them to today?
It was a total 180. Not even the same pool. They had a few different porcelain tiles picked out and then we started running into supply issues and they weren't totally sold on the idea anyway and I’m like, “Come back to the office, kind of start over,” and when they were on the way and they called and they're like, “Hey can you just pull a few things for us,” and I said “Let me pull some of those Fireclay samples.” I mean we are so excited about this pool.
How many colors did you sample and how did you go about choosing which to order?
Alisha sent me tons of samples and all kinds of goodies so that I can actually show people in person. She was just super great about anything I needed. I mean fantastic.
For this project, my customers chose five colors and they are probably the most decisive customers I've ever had. It was pretty much just choosing what five flow together and they were able to decide really quickly and so was I.
How did our Design Assistance help your design process?
Fireclay’s design department was amazing for doing a 3-D rendering. My customers have great vision so they were already able to picture it, but having the rendering just made them excited for what they were doing.
I have another customer right now that we just placed an order for, they're doing Star and Cross in Dawn on their wall and pink is a huge leap in design direction because not a lot of people put pink on their pool. So it was very hard to find inspiration pictures for her to even picture pink being by your pool and she really went back-and-forth. But having the design team do a 3-D rendering really solidified it. She's like OK I'm feeling a lot better now.
Can you tell me about the ordering process?
For me, any pool that's like beyond the basic 6 inch pool tile that is ordered from our scheduler, I handle all of it myself. So I was able to have that conversation with Alisha and say, look, just check and make sure I've done everything correctly or I didn't miss anything or do you think I need to do this like please openly look at the design and say 'you know you really should get these trim pieces'.
How were lead times and delivery?
We got the glass ones in early which Alisha told me they were probably coming a little early which was great, the Chaine Homme came in last week and we’re going to start installing on Wednesday.
Did you have to reach out to support at all throughout your experience?
The only time was just trying to get an idea of when the Chaine Homme was going to be in just because we were trying to balance scheduling. People with pools really want their jobs done because in their minds they’re already planning a party, so they’re wondering when is the tile going to be here and I know you guys are working on it, you’re going to get it to us as fast as you can, so I don’t always feel like it’s necessary to reach out, especially if we’re still within that lead time. I know it's coming but I reached out just to put them at ease.
How long does it typically take to build a pool?
When I did mine five years ago we had a builder come out in March and we weren't done until August but I took more time than probably the average person to get all my materials while trying to figure out what I wanted to do. Most people just want whatever's in stock.
I think the quickest pool I built, from the day we dug it until it was finished, was 15 weeks. But if I were selling you a pool I would say expect from dig to finished 6 to 9 months and then I just hope that it takes 5.
What’s the number one consideration to think about when designing a pool?
For me, it's all about materials.
When a client wants that elevated look the first thing I would be looking at is materials. Look past the shape of the pool, look past whether you like that water feature or another one because those are easy. You only have so many water features to choose from. I'm all about materials.
Any advice for somebody considering Fireclay for their pool?
Take your samples outside and see if you can find a pool to put the samples by the water because the water is going to change the way they look.
Not in New Orleans? We can help! Our design consultants can help you design the pool of your dreams with sustainably made tile and our free design services. Reach out to be connected with your personal consultant today!