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Custom Pools

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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.


Don't just take it from us, let our customers do the talking!


I have owned my own businesses for over 30 years and the way I was treated by Tom and his company was so great that it inspired me to improve my business's level of customer satisfaction. The pool cam ...Read More

- Rich S, Manalapan

om built us a lovely backyard. He turned a plain space into a fantastic place for our family to spend quality time together. He managed the project in a timely manner and was very flexible on late dec ...Read More

- Davis P, Summit

We couldn't possibly be happier with our new pool! Our custom pool designed and implemented by Tom Lobrow. Our pool's unique shape and natural design evolved during the project and the Custom Pool Pro ...Read More

- Monica W, East Brunswick

Hired Tom at Custom Pool Pros to build a gunite pool, new patio and driveway at my personal residence in Spring Lake, NJ. Tom is an absolute professional and has mastered his craft. I have built or re ...Read More

- Christopher A, Spring Lake

Tom has great vision and delivers with perfection. We were using our pool a day or two before his promised completion date which is extremely rare in this industry. Tom also did our landscape and circ ...Read More

- Chetan N, Morganville

From our first meeting with Mike we were sold on Custom Pool Pros and Paver Pros. We met with may other "custon" gunite pool installers who gave us the book to pick a shape from, not really custom whe ...Read More

- Bernie, Hainesport

Thanks Custom Pool Pros for the great pool and patio renovation, the project was finished on time as promised. We had a fantastic time in the backyard for the birthday party. We didn’t give you much ...Read More

- Dina, Ringwood

Hi Tom, thanks for a great pool and patio, you and your guys work their butts off, project looks really great. ...Read More

- Eric, Bernards

I hired Tom to design anb build our gunite pool based on recommendations from the firm that did our landscaping. In my expirience, pool builders are a sketchy bunch - I called no fewer than 4 companie ...Read More

- Brad, Brick

The project came out so great. Thanks for being there all along the way. We did not know all the answers, but you came up with many ideas that now, with the built pool look great. Thank you for cre ...Read More

- Cheryl, Watching

Tom and his crew at Custom Pool Pros is amazing. From day one to finish they were amazing, pool was finished on time and my family enjoyed the yard the whole summer. We have lots of people over the ...Read More

- Mellissa, Marlboro

Custom Pool Pros went way beyond our expectations. Tom and his workers always arrived on time, did everything they were supposed to do, cleaned up at the end of every day, and built an amazing pool in ...Read More

- Joe, Long Branch

We love the backyard that Tom & his team built for us. We hired Custom Pool Pros to build a pool and patio in after soliciting bids from four other high-end firms. We visited several of their projects ...Read More

- Carey, Holmdel

Tom of Custom Pool Pros was first recommended to me by a friend. Thanks Steve for the introduction. The project I had in mind was a big one, and Toms professionalism and knowledge was soothing in a pr ...Read More

- Ira, Morganville

I have done business with Tom for many years now and when it came to building a pool for my backyard I did not hesitate at all. As always the process was flawless. The execution was flawless. And now ...Read More

- Rah, Morganville

When dealing with pool companies you would expect them to be impersonal and on there own time but that was not the case with Tom and his crew at Custom Pool Pros. We had our pool done by them and they ...Read More

-Steve Marlboro