Mad Designers Fun and Interesting Philosophy of Exciting Custom Spool Design


​What the heck is a spool?


A Spool is fun, quirky name for a big spa/small pool. If you’re not looking for a big diving pool and a hot tub is just too limiting for your lifestyle, a spool may be perfect fit for you.  They are extremely versatile. Because of their small foot print they are even perfect for enclosing in a building or even a gazebo. A spool will have a relatively low water volume which makes them very easy to maintain and even heat to hot tub temps.  They can have therapy seating for relaxing and also space for lounging or floating.


The Client

​Cathy and Tom are professionals and empty nesters on a horse farm located in Northern Lower Michigan.  They travel often and can be gone for extended periods of time.  They both have great taste in design from the homes they live in, cars they drive, and clothes they wear.
In my first consultation I learned that Cathy wanted a small pool to cool off in on a hot summer day and that Tom didn’t want a pool and he is more of a hot tub kinda guy

​Clients check list of features

The list of features by the client was pretty short and pretty simple.

  • Small and easy to maintain
  • Fit a budget

​What did I learn about the family?

  • 2 adults with grandchildren who visit often
  • Cathy has a back injury
  • Cathy and Tom both do chores on the farm
  • Occasionally entertain close friend and family
  • Located in the country 



Design specifications

  • Freeform shape
  • Size is 15ft. long x 8ft. wide x 11ft. wide
  • Pool is 121 square ft.
  • 1400 gallons of water capacity
  • Water depth 9 inches on sun shelf.  Bench is 18 inches of water depth.  Floor is 3ft-6in. water depth
  • Sun shelf is 60 square ft.
  • Bench seat has room for 4-5 people
  • Pressure adjustable therapy jets in the bench
  • Deck is 200 square feet


​My thoughts as the designer and the design process

​I, as the designer my goal is to create the perfect design as defined by the client. To accomplish this I will take any specifications by the client then after that it comes down to observation and conversation without any preconceived ideas.  A successful custom design has to be as unique as the individuals themselves.  

For Cathy and Tom I had two completely different perspectives on the need for a pool and immediately knew that a swimming pool of any size was going to meet resistance from Tom.   Some might blindly believe “what mama wants, Daddy gets”   That’s not me and his needs are just as important as hers.  Do you remember Tom didn’t want a pool?  At this point I’m not trying to find a compromise so that Tom will give in and let Cathy have what she wants.  I need to find something that Tom would enjoy and benefit from also.  As the conversation moved on I learned that Tom didn’t want a pool because he didn’t want to take care of it, and where the live there isn’t a weekly pool service available.  However I already know that he enjoys a soak in a hot tub after working on the farm or riding his motorcycle all day.  I knew that it would be crazy to design a pool with an attached spa.  It became clear that spool design would be perfect for Cathy and Tom. 

As soon as the spool idea came to mind the rest of the pool design immediately fell into place.  Because we were in the county the shape should be a freeform.  Anything geometric or symmetrical would be way out of place.  Efficiency in build is probably the most complicated part of this design.  Finding the balance between small enough so that it can be heated as a hot tub if needed and big enough to use it as a pool for cooling off.

Keys features to hot tub portion are bench seating and pressure adjustable therapy jets, so this design gave them both of those at one end.  The bench has room for 4-5 people and there is 10 therapy jets.

Features of the pool were a little more complicated. The sun shelf needed to be big enough for 2 ledge loungers chairs, and is also deep enough to float on an inflatable mattress without bottoming out and get stuck on the sun shelf.

The deck is 201 square ft. of random looking brick pavers.  The deck is only intended to give access to the pool and have enough space for a few chairs.  I felt that because of the country setting that landscaping with plants would be a better more attractive use of the space and save money by not continuing the brick pavers all the way around the spool.

The interior surface is pebble, intended to look like sand, while the water line tile is a brick row pattern of glass tile that also are earth tones. 
This is a timeless design.  It won’t take long for these plants to mature, afterwards you won’t know if the project was done a year ago or 20 years ago.


Custom Pool Design

​Custom design isn’t always about irregular shapes, rare materials or expensive features.  To me, custom design is just understanding the clients wants, needs and intended use.  There are so many exciting things that can be done, just by combining common shapes, materials and features without spending excessive amounts of money.  Give me a call at 989-996-0037 today.  I’m excited to help you create your dream outdoor space.  Let me know that you like this design share it with your friend and like Doyle Pools Facebook or follow us on twitter.  Follow us for anything outdoor living related.

The Mad Designer is the lead designer for Doyle Pools.  In his extensive, world and outer space travels, while touring a pool chemical manufacture facility, he fell into a tank of experimental pool chemical, and it changed his life forever.  From his observations in life, he create designs in his head and with his computer he is able to bring them into a 3D perspective.  When he isn’t creating his art, he can be found fishing where he lives in a van down by the river.