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Howard Hughes Pool – Mosaic Tile by Ray Corral – Mosaicist

An in depth look at the infamous Howard Hughes Pool. We discuss the project with industry veteran Mosaic Tile Artist Ray Corral of Mosaicist.

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Howard Hughes Pool - Pool Magazine - Mosaicst Ray Corral Designer

Today we’re looking at one of the most iconic pools in the world, the infamous Howard Hughes Pool located in Coral Gables Florida. The home is one of many formally owned by legendary business tycoon, director and aviatorHoward Hughes. Now owned by Bay City investors Matthew Meehan and his husband Rod Hildebrant, the South Florida couple had the pool installed shortly after purchasing the home.

Due to the landmark nature of the residence, the homeowners wanted a world class pool design that would be true to the time period of the home. Consequently, they called in mosaic tile expert Ray Corral – Mosaicist to create this fabulously intricate mosaic design and perform the installation.

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Recently we had the opportunity to catch up with the designer of this artistic masterpiece. Corral is one of the industries leading installers of Swimming Pool Mosaics. Widely respected throughout the pool industry, Corral has been designing and installing his mosaic artwork for over 20 years. A mosaic tile designer adhering to old world methods of tile installation, Corral manufacturers and hand cuts all of the tile used in his remarkable mosaic designs.

Howard Hughes had this home built in 1926 - Recently Ray Corral's mosaic tile interior now graces the swimming pool of this icon landmark home in Coral Gables, Florida.
Ray Corral’s mosaic tile interior now graces the swimming pool of this icon landmark home in Coral Gables, Florida built by Howard Hughes in 1926.

“No other company in the United States does this level of planning and design for their clients. We perform all the manufacturing as well as the installation of our products.”

RAY CORRAL – MOSAICiST

Howard Hughes Pool Interior Design Concept

The Mosaic Pool Design pattern was created from elements in the fireplace mantel of the home.

We asked how he first conceived of the design pattern. Corral explained “We got the design elements and accents from the mantle on the fireplace. That was actually perfect for the period and kept the continuity the homeowner was looking for in the design”

The Howard Hughes Pool Has It’s Challenges

We asked Corral how this particular project differed from the many other mosaic pool interiors he’d designed over the years.

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“Both radiuses from the spa were a challenge. The floor of the pool is tilted down towards the spa wall and has two radiuses. The homeowners also preferred not to empty the pool for design measurements, so that was a bit of a challenge” said Corral.

“Ultimately, we wound up using laser measurement equipment, strings, whatever we could. We actually wound up eventually just diving into the water to get the correct measurements. ” continued Corral.

“Before we could even get started we had to chip out the old plaster interior which was incorrectly applied and about an inch and a half thick.” said Corral “We coated the walls with Basecrete around the perimeter making sure all surfaces were level and plumb.” he continued “We then had to mix our own setting materials and retardants to be able to move and manipulate and expand and contract all this mosaic work to fit flawlessly the way it does.”

Mosaicist Pool Tile Installation
Mosaicist Pool Tile Installation
Hand cut mosaic tile installation
Hand cut mosaic tile installation
Watch a video walkthrough of the infamous Howard Hughes pool designed by Ray Corral – Mosaicist

Old World Methods of Installation

Corral described his old world methodolgy of mosaic tile installation combined with the latest standard defined by the Tile Council of America. “Our process uses the old world mortar method wet set, once you do the walls you can install with a trowel.” said Corral. “We open and close the designs around the pool floor like an accordion.”

How This Intricate Design Pattern Was Installed

One of the most incredible aspects of the pool design is how it runs edge to edge. We asked Corral why it’s often so difficult for designers to achieve a seamless look. “You have to understand, mosaic tile gets manufactured in a flat plane.” said Corral “When you lay the pool tile out for installation, it’s now going in a concave plane. It takes experience to know how to work the tile design as you’re installing it. We’re forcefully manipulating the tile as we lay it down using the wet set method. This allows the piece to breathe, expand and contract until we get the exact look we are going for.”

Due to the intricate nature of the design, it’s astounding that Corral and his team were able to complete the actual installation of the mosaic tile in the pool’s floor in just two days time.

“We’re able to think around corners and really push the limits. We’re one of the few companies that does all their own design, manufacturing and installation. “

Ray CorRAL- mosaicst

Corral accredited part of the success of this project to Greg McIntosh of GSM Builders in Fort Lauderdale. This incredible inground pool interior is merely a footnote in an already astounding repertoire and ever growing body of work.

Howard Hughes Pool - Night Time Shot of Mosaic tile

The “Howard Hughes Pool” as it’s become known, is certainly eye candy and a conversation piece that has been a hit in magazines and on social media. Images of the pool have been shared millions of times and it has become one of the most iconic images associated with Mosaic Swimming Pool Designs.

Today Ray Corral continues to collaborate with leading pool builders and design firms. His firm creates intricately designed mosaic tile pieces for high end residential homes and commercial businesses. Already no stranger to six figure mosaic tile installations, their design work can be seen in luxurious resort style pools all over the globe.

An expert in the field of mosaic tile, he is passionate about his new method of applying real 24k gold for underwater pool applications. His method utilizes new technology that presses and applies real gold accents and designs. A notoriously difficult material to work with, Corral says his method helps prevent gold from tarnishing and allows for larger areas of gold than one typically finds in luxury pools. We’re eager to see it in application. To track his progress and learn about his other amazing creations, follow Ray Corral and his company Mosaicist on Facebook and Instagram.

4.8/5 - (53 votes)

Editor in Chief of Pool Magazine - Joe Trusty is also CEO of PoolMarketing.com, the leading digital agency for the pool industry. An internet entrepreneur, software developer, author, and marketing professional with a long history in the pool industry. Joe oversees the writing and creative staff at Pool Magazine. To contact Joe Trusty email info@poolmagazine.com or call (916) 467-9118 during normal business hours. For submissions, please send your message to submissions@poolmagazine.com

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Tesla Pool – Automaker Adds Swimming Pool To Charger Station

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Tesla Swimming Pool

One of the primary reasons consumers opt to purchase a Tesla is the robust availability of convenient charging stations. Recently, the automaker has experimented with adding amenities to its charging stations. New cube lounges at a Supercharger station in Germany come equipped with automated coffee, food, and more. Tesla is also adding other options and fun activities for drivers to enjoy while they wait for their vehicles to charge. The newest amenity they’re currently experimenting with is an above ground swimming pool.

A clip of the pool being installed prior to launch was shared with news sources.

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The swimming pool can be used by up to 4 people at a time for 10 minutes, giving folks just enough time to change into their swim suits and enjoy a quick dip while their vehicle charges. There are even Tesla-branded beach balls to play with while they’re swimming in the shipping container style above ground pool.

This promotional popup will open at the Tesla charging station in Hilden, Germany; which incidentally is one of the largest in the country with 40 chargers and 8 superchargers. The pool will be open from Thursday until Sunday. Tesla owners can drop in for a swim from 2:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

What do you think about this idea? Is this something you’d like to see in the United States? Sound off in the comments and let us know.

3/5 - (2 votes)

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Pool Rental App Swimply Is The New Side Hustle For Homeowners

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Pool Rental App Swimply Is The New Side Hustle For Homeowners

Pool rental marketplace Swimply has created the ultimate side hustle for homeowners. Spending upwards of $100,000 to create the ultimate luxury outdoor living area is an investment some are willing to make. This is especially true if one can be confident they will recoup that investment quickly. Renting the pool to friends and neighbors is one smart way to do just that.

The Pool Rental Concept

Pool rentals are sweeping the nation and the innovative online marketplace Swimply is leading the charge. Described as “Airbnb of swimming pools,” Swimply debuted last year. According to the firm, there are over 20,000 swimming pools in all 50 states, as well as in Canada and Australia.

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After recently raising $40M in funding from AirBnB and Lime co-founders last year, Swimply is poised for tremendous growth moving into 2023. The service has been rapidly gaining traction with consumers who are attracted by the ability to rent a swimming pool by the hour.

Renting a pool by the hour may can be very profitable. Swimply has created the marketplace for renting a pool.
Renting a pool by the hour may can be very profitable. Swimply has created the marketplace for renting a pool.

Swimply’s Business Model is Unique

In the sharing economy, Swimply, definitely deserves recognition for their offering. Providing a marketplace that allows buyers and sellers to connect and rent a pool is at the core of the company’s business plan. The model is simple, Swimply takes 15% of the booking fee from hosts and 10% from guests.

Swimply’s pool rental marketplace can be lucrative for hosts and may not be as weird as it sounds. As water recreational facilities were shut down by COVID in the last two years, Swimply has emerged to fill the vacuum. Consequently, the company has grown exponentially.

We spoke with Swimply Co-Founder and COO Asher Weinberger last year about the revolutionary new technology which is connecting homeowners with an open marketplace of consumers looking to rent a backyard for a few hours.

Listen to our conversation on the Pool Magazine podcast:

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Pool Rental Marketplace Grew 5,000% During Covid

After a soft launch back in 2019, Weinberger quickly realized that the public was elated with their offering. “There was a tremendous amount of interest and at the time we could only meet 10 to 15% of the demand,” said Weinberger. “That helped set the stage for us because we learned a lot about what people wanted and how they were using the platform.”

“We caught huge tailwinds in light of Covid and grew roughly 5,000% year over year,” said Weinberger. Since then, Swimply’s marketplace has exploded with consumers searching for a safe recreational experience with friends and loved ones in an open outdoor setting. This has been true both on the guest side and the host side.

Homeowners Look To Monetize Their Pool

It appears that word has definitely begun to spread that renting your pool is a sweet new side hustle. One man in particular recently made the news after he reportedly netted $177,000 just by renting out his pool and backyard.

Jim Battan of West Linn, Oregon, told news sources, “I love to say that the pool has paid for itself and more. I built a man cave last year, and also credit that to my Swimply pool.”

Swimply As a Side Hustle

Being a Swimply host isn’t for everyone, according to Battan. The side hustle does require a fair amount of work on the part of the host. Maintaining the pool between guests involves much more than simply setting out fresh towels. His 26-foot by 18-foot pool and its accompanying pool house has cost him roughly $37,000 in maintenance over the last decade. On a typical week, Battan estimates that he and his wife Lisa spend approximately 12 to 14 hours cleaning and testing the water’s chemicals as well as managing all of their bookings.

“I love the income, but I generally caution people from it,” Battan told reporters. “Unless you’re retired or don’t have a day job, it takes a lot of time to learn about pool chemistry and management. It’s not good enough to just rely on a once-a-week service to come out look at your stuff. I look at my pool chemicals probably five to 10 times a day.”

Renting Your Pool By The Hour Can Be Profitable

It’s also important to note that Battan’s pool represents the best-case scenario. Currently, he’s Swimply’s top earner out of 25,000 pools in the U.S., Canada, and Australia. The average host earnings are between $10,000 to $20,000 per year.

Ned Gilardino is another top earner from Aurora, Colorado who is cashing in on the lucrative side hustle. Last year he rented his pool out roughly 500 times clearing close to $50,000 in the process.

“Not only has the extra money paid for the cost of maintaining the pool,” Gilardino told news sources, “it has actually brought in an entire new revenue stream for my family.”

Pool rentals vary by price and can be filtered to meet price, features, and amenities. - Photo Credit: Swimply
Pool rentals vary by price and can be filtered to meet price, features, and amenities. – Photo Credits: Swimply

Homeowners who are looking for MSI’s (multiple sources of income) can certainly put Swimply on their list of resources. Typically most swimming pools on the platform rent between $15 and $75 an hour. However, there appears to be no limit on how much hosts can earn. We’ve seen some pools in premium areas such as Beverly Hills rent for as much as $200 an hour. Those with luxury amenities in their backyard obviously can charge towards the higher end of the spectrum.

Guests can search for an ideal backyard in their price range to throw a pool party and even filter their search to show properties that have specific amenities. Finding a backyard with a fire pit, or an outdoor grilling area, or one that allows pets, is easy. Swimply made it simple to narrow down selections with the ideal features consumers are looking for.

The interface is simple and intuitive to use on both ends. Swimply also made it super easy for homeowners to track their reservations, communicate with guests and quickly get their pool rental up in their easy-to-use marketplace.

Swimply’s Contribution To The Shared Economy

Given that public pools are closing at an alarming rate, Swimply has also started filling a gap in underserved communities, much the way Uber and other sharing economy platforms have.

While the shared economy is a young concept itself; Swimply’s arrival simply ushers something we will undoubtedly see even more of in years to come. Though unexpected and a newcomer; one thing is certain, homeowners and consumers have embraced the concept of renting a pool by the hour.

4.6/5 - (17 votes)

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Sinkhole in Swimming Pool Kills Man, Swallows Guests

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Sinkhole in Swimming Pool Kills Man, Swallows Guests

A man was found dead after being swallowed by a sinkhole that opened up in a private swimming pool. The incident transpired in Israel where authorities are still trying to figure out what caused two men to be swept away by the receding water after a sinkhole sprang up within an inground swimming pool at a private property in central Israel. One was recovered dead at the scene on Thursday afternoon.

The body was located by search crews in the town of Karmei Yosef after a four-hour recovery operation conducted by rescue personnel who were lowered deep underground. The search was hampered by concerns that tunnels extending from the sinkhole could lead to a second collapse.

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It took rescuers several hours of searching before they were able to uncover the body of the man who had gone missing. The other 34-year-old man who had been trapped for some time, was saved and treated for minor injuries to his lower body.

Rescuers worked for hours to find the missing victims body. - Photo Credits: Fire and Rescue Services
Rescuers worked for hours to find the missing victims body. – Photo Credits: Fire and Rescue Services

Employees of a private company were having a pool party when the incident occurred. About 50 people were present at the time of the accident, according to one guest.

“The water level suddenly started receding and a hole opened up, creating a vortex that swept two people inside,” the guest told news sources.

She said a sinkhole opened a vortex formed which swallowed up the victim in a matter of seconds. She yelled at her coworkers to get out of the pool as the sinkhole emerged, but they initially assumed it was a game. Authorities say, fortunately, there were only 6 people in the pool at the time or injuries and casualties could have been far greater.

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“Seconds later, the ground just dropped… I watched two people just disappear,” she added.

According to police, an investigtion into the incident is currently underway, and they plan to find out if the pool was operating with the proper license.

4/5 - (8 votes)

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