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The Modern Pool Revolution!

Custom pool design in the 1930’s started out with a bang with the monumental advances of the biggest pool builder at the time and real estate entrepreneur Philip Ilsley.

Although the oval pool at the Cahuenga Vista Inn is believed to be have been built in 1916 and the first rounded pool in modern times, Philip Ilsley introduced the entire USA to the rounded pool in mass and mastered it’s building techniques and design for the time. The common limited design of the rectangle pool so prevalent up to this time had its reign come to an end.

Thanks to Philip Ilsley there was a revolution in custom swimming pool shapes from fully round pools, to oval, kidney, clover and eventually every shape evolved from these early changes in swimming pool shape and design. But how did Ilsley come up with rounding the corners on pools?

Ironically, it was Richard Neutra’s use of gunite (see earlier in this article) to build the famous Lovell Heath House and ingenuous balcony pool that influenced Ilsley. Ilsley realized that he could create a wire frame and shoot the concrete in (gunite) and thus the design limits and boundaries of swimming pool design and shape were changed forever!

Not only did this modernize the designs of the new pools being built from here on out but it also allowed a pool to be built in only 6 days, considered a miracle in pool construction at the time. Although Ilsely’s pool building techniques have been improved upon, these pool building methods are still in use today!

During the 1930’s and 40’s Ilsley continued to build pools and had the largest professional pool building business in the entire world. He became “the man” to go to for a custom pool in the day and built all the movie stars pools for the time.

He made a fortune buying up huge plots of land in Southern California and building custom homes with pools on every one of them, thus increasing the values of the homes and properties and making his brand new homes some of the most desirable built at the time.

We here at Custom Pool Pros enjoy not only building and designing custom swimming pools in New Jersey but we truly enjoy the history of our craft. We hope you enjoy reading our post.

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