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A Tale of Two Pools

Taking the plunge in backyard design



Photos by Ryan Lavine

Whether it’s rectangular, oval, or kidney-shaped, that backyard vessel known as a pool has always been a status symbol. Prior to the advent of using gunite to build one, a pool was a toy for the very wealthy, yet practically every American wanted one. Romans were the builders of the first pools, and not much changed in construction until the 1940s. Once gunite was in use, pool production quadrupled in America and prices went down—still, an in-ground pool was and always will be a luxury. As Ernest Hemingway once quipped to his wife—when he placed a penny in the drying concrete at the end of his outrageously expensive pool in Key West—“Pauline, you’ve spent all but my last penny, so you might as well have that one, too.” 

The average cost of a vinyl-lined pool in Connecticut is $30,000 to $40,000, and gunite pools start higher, around $50,000. It is a much-loved addition to the backyard—just ask anyone who has one. Pam Foarde, a realtor with Al Filippone Associates, says that a well-maintained pool and backyard area add to the value of a home, as it becomes another “desirable living space.” We found two we covet—one in Southport and one in Greenfield Hill, and learned more about the joy that pool ownership brings to the families who own them. 

“We needed to bring our pool out of the ’70s and into the 21st century,” says Ginny Stanco of Greenfield Hill. Thinking they would just reline it, the Stancos set out to give their dated pool a makeover, working with Marquee Pool. “We realized pretty quickly we needed a whole new look for the backyard, starting with the pool.” Dianna Cutler and her team at Sasco Farms Landscape Design, known around town for their dazzling backyard makeovers, became instrumental in designing a new look for the area. “Dianna gave us a whole new vision for the yard and pool,” explains Stanco. 

Cutler suggested taking away the old fencing around the pool and opening up the yard. “For each project, we consider the property as a whole, rather than in sections,” explains Cutler. “Ginny’s pool was its own floating entity penned in by a fence that cut the area off from the lush, flat property.” By considering the back of the house as a whole, Sasco Farms removed the fence around the pool, remolded the patio area, and created new seating and entertaining areas. The new design allows the family use of the entire backyard and not chunks at a time. The property is now fenced in at the property line, allowing expansive views of the newly planted beds from both outside and inside the home. “The overall effect is more aesthetically pleasing,” says Cutler. 

Especially pretty is the new view from inside the kitchen of the pool and the surrounding lilacs, hydrangea, and manicured boxwoods. “The goal was to keep the look crisp and easy to maintain,” says Cutler. Below the stone wall, English laurel has been planted, and the entire patio has been redone with bluestone. “We recommend bluestone because it weathers well in our climate and is more affordable than other options such as granite,” says Cutler. “By installing the bluestone with no concrete joints, it will also last much longer than a traditional patio.”

The addition of the sleek contemporary furniture from West Elm and Brown Jordan completed the look. A small shed that used to house pool equipment was turned into a small bar housing a refrigerator and a television. With an interior décor by Hillside Designs and construction by Marek Bil of Old World Construction, the bar, along with its TV, creates another fun place to hang out near the pool while adding interest to the overall look of the area. “This is our oasis in the middle of the woods, ” says Stanco. 


The Little Resort

“In the summer, Jerry and I feel like we’re at our own little vacation resort,” says Stephanie Guterl, referring to how she and her husband feel about their luxurious pool and poolhouse. Originally they didn’t plan for a pool to accompany their new-construction 7,300-square-foot home in Southport. “But the more we thought about it, the more it seemed like a great idea.”

In everything related to their home, the Guterls are very hands on, designing much of it in collaboration with Tallman Segerson Builders of Fairfield. Indeed, they amassed a huge file of ideas for the pool of their dreams before having it created by Pools by Al

The Guterls’ 480-square-foot poolhouse was added later—a charming cottage outbuilding with columns holding a covered cedar-roofed porch, mini kitchen, full bathroom, and changing area. “I hadn’t thought of having a poolhouse,” explains Guterl. “But my uncle—David Lazer—who has a beautiful pool and pool house in the Hamptons—insisted that I have one too, and presented it as a gift to us.”

Guterl has always been close with her uncle, executive producer of “The Muppet Show,” most of the Muppet movies, and Labyrinth

“We enjoy our pool every day in the summer, as do our teenagers,” says Guterl. Recently Guterl celebrated her husband’s 50th​ birthday al fresco around the pool and poolhouse. With the theme of “haute barbeque,” about 100 guests enjoyed the summer night, fried chicken, and grilled corn.

The patio furniture, from Restoration Hardware, is neutral in color and design, with simple, clean lines. Guterl has always had a green thumb, and being very creative, always does her own flower arrangements for her home and for parties. When she needs more extensive landscaping, she uses Cypress Landscape and Tuff Lawn

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January 2019

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

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In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Website »

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Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the Hartford Boat Show (HBS50) features the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, luxury cruisers, deck and pontoon boats, sport and...

Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
Uncasville, CT  06382
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Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
Contact Name: Kathleen Burns
Website »

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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and how he influenced the civil rights movement. Watch short films about King's life and create your own craft with colorful papers and ribbons...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Sponsor: People's United Bank
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager

More information

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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Join the area’s leading investment and financial professionals at the CFA Society Hartford’s Annual Forecast Dinner. The group’s premier networking event of the year will be...

Cost: Individual Member seats are $90 before 1/8, $110 for non-members

Where:
Connecticut Convention Center
100 Columbus Blvd.
Hartford, CT  06103
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Sponsor: CFA Society Hartford
Telephone: 860-604-1411
Contact Name: Rebecca Taylor
Website »

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Join us to explore adventures in stories about Alice in Wonderland, animals, and games!

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »

More information

The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us for the reception on the opening evening of the exhibition, Ghosts: French Holocaust Children, on Wednesday, January 23rd, from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Walsh Gallery at the Quick Center for...

Cost: 0

Where:
Walsh Gallery
200 Barlow Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Website »

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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

Join us for a conversation between collector Jeffrey Horvitz and Alvin L. Clark, Jr., (Curator, The Horvitz Collection and The J.E. Horvitz Consultative Curator, Department of Drawings, Division...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield University Art Museum
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Website »

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A French Affair: Drawings and Paintings from The Horvitz Collection will be on view in the Bellarmine Hall Galleries from January 25 - March 29, 2019; an Opening Reception will take place on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield University Art Museum
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Website »

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Thursday, Jan. 24 Author Talk: Stephanie Land - Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother's Will to Survive, 7 – 8:30 p.m. Maid is showing up on almost every best of, must read, don't miss list of...

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Wilton Library
Telephone: 203-762-3950
Contact Name: Wilton Library
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Members and guests are invited to join us for the Election of Trustees, followed by an artist talk by eight photographers with work in the current exhibit. Visit our website at...

Cost: 0

Where:
Carriage Barn Arts Center
681 South Ave.
Waveny Park
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »

More information

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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Born from humble beginnings in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport, CT The Alpaca Gnomes cut their teeth in the neighborhood bar scene by playing marathon shows filled with originals and a wide...

Cost: $15.00 - $20.00

Where:
Wall Street Theater
71 Wall Street
Norwalk, CT  06850
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Sponsor: Jeanne Moore
Telephone: (203) 831-5004
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
Website »

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Are you a lifelong with a passion for sharing history? Find out about becoming a Museum Docent! Docents are trained volunteer educators who present guided tours and other education programs to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »

More information

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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

Saturday, Jan. 26 Mini Golf Family Day in the Stacks at Wilton Library, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Wilton Library will hold its 2nd mini golf fundraising event. There will be food (each paid admission will...

Cost: $5

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Wilton Library
Telephone: 203-762-3950
Contact Name: Wilton Library
Website »

More information

  Touchon transforms verbal language into handsome geometric compilations, to reveal the beauty and musicality of language characterized by warmly colored shapes, interlocking irregular grids and...

Cost: free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
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Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

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