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Make a Splash

Top pool designer in2blue shows you how to keep cool as summer heats up.

Some people come to in2blue design LLC, Nick Vitiello’s busy Norwalk-based pool company, because they are starting a family and want to build happy backyard memories. Some are grandparents hoping to entice the grandkids over for some summer fun. Some just love to throw the perfect neighborhood bash, complete with burgers, brews, and the occasional cannonball.

“Everyone wants to create a little oasis they can escape to,” Nick says.

While a backyard pool is the dream of many homeowners, they might welcome some expert advice on the many decisions that come with this major investment, such as size, shape, and placement. So what’s hot in pools in summer 2024?

“I really don’t push trends. It’s got to be classic,” Nick says. “You’re building a structure to have in your backyard, but it’s really part of your house. I tell homeowners, ‘Keep it simple. Build a good, solid pool.’” That said, Nick has noticed one welcome trend among his clients – an overall move toward energy efficiency. In2Blue offers its clients pool systems that are Energy Star-rated, so they know they are getting quality while staying environmentally and financially sound. 

In addition, customers are opting for smart, contemporary materials for both the pool and the hardscaping that surrounds it. That includes swapping out bluestone and flagstone for newer porcelain tiles and acid-etched concrete that can be tinted and laid in specific patterns. Not only are these choices fresher, they don't get nearly as hot as their timeless-but-expensive counterparts.

When it comes to shape, Nick says, outside of the odd infinity or lap pool, this region is known for thinking inside the box. “Fairfield County is rectangles. That’s what we build all day long,” he jokes. “That’s the quintessential New England pool.”

But when it comes to materials for the actual pool, families seek the traditional: fiberglass, gunite, and vinyl (or more modern aggregates like plaster augmented with small pebbles). Newer materials also offer more color choices and last longer than previous models.

Customers still request saltwater pools, which produce chlorine naturally. They take a little more effort to set up, Nick says, but it can be worth the trade off, because the water is softer on the skin, eyes, and hair.

Extras such as diving boards, slides, waterfalls, and "lazy rivers" that had their day in recent years have become a thing of the past, Nick says. Most homeowners are seeking a sleek, solid pool, perhaps with some energy-efficient LED lighting, a spa or hot tub, and an auto-cover, which keeps family members safe and reduces cleaning and chemical needs.

Homeowners generally position a new pool off the deck, patio, or back door, though some will request building a grotto in a far corner of the property. That's a choice that Nick usually cautions against. 

“No one wants to trek across the backyard with hamburgers and drinks,” he advises. “That’s making it a destination. You want the pool integrated with the house.” 

Thinking about taking the plunge? Contact in2blue design LLC at nick@in2bluedesign.com or 203-722-9722.

  • photo by John Videler
  • photo by John Videler
  • photo by John Videler
  • photo by John Videler
  • photo by John Videler
  • photo by John Videler
  • photo by John Videler