The Cool House: pool
Showing posts with label pool. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pool. Show all posts

Saturday, January 30, 2021

Whatcha been up to?


Well Instagram ruined blogging for me. Why spend 30 minutes coding, writing and updating a blog when you can post a pic in two seconds and it lasts FOR EVER? But this blog is an aide-memoir and a history of this uniquely modern Andrew Geller designed house and so occasionally, say every six or seven years, I’ll pop in to add an update. 

This year has been challenging, COVID-19 has meant no trips, no visits to museums or art galleries and no eating out. I’ve rediscovered a love of cooking and in the past 10 months we’ve only had takeout a handful of times. If you had told me a year ago I wouldn’t set foot in a restaurant for the foreseeable future I would have thrown myself kicking and howling to the floor, but it has been more fun than I could have imagined. 

Maybe because of the extreme use of the induction hob the Electrolux we put in when we renovated the kitchen gave up the ghost. I love my induction hob & can’t imagine ever cooking on anything else so I upgraded to a Bosch zoneless cooktop (meaning I can use the whole cooktop not just designated plates) with WiFi that connects to my phone and watch, which means they buzz when the timer goes off. Cute and handy!

We also got a new pool heater this summer, yes another one, they seem to last only five years , which if you do the math as I did, works out at “Are you freaking kidding me?” money per year. 

The only other things of note are decor related. Working from home meant that rather than not seeing his art every day, The Guy brought it home & we hung the Rocco Monticolo painting on the balcony over the great room.

Other paintings were reframed by the amazing rockstar framer, Ripe Art & Framing, including four paintings by Nadine Bouler, one by Shirley Geller, artist and wife of architect Andrew Geller, and a Will Klemm that now hangs in the foyer. Beautiful things to make this horrible year a little better. Love it all!

Monday, November 03, 2014

Spucing Up

Hard to believe that it's been almost a year since I last posted anything on this blog. It's not that we haven't been tending to The Cool House rather that social media has changed a lot about the way I document my life and that goes for the house too.  I'm more likely to take a thousand word snap of something we've done and post it right there to Facebook or twitter. One click and I've saved all that tedious typing. You could say instagram killed this blog.

But it would be unfair to ask you to search through all the hundreds of photos of sunsets and kittens to find one that shows the renovated pool, or the color we ended up with in the sitting room after several, expensive redoes.  So, here, in no particular order, are the projects we undertook in the first ten months of 2014.

Pool renovation: all the pipes, skimmers and reruns were replaced. This job entailed digging up and replacing half the brick patio but it mbas meant no more leaks. Also the pool light works again and we have a new, quieter energy saving pump. The pool housing is screened off with a nicer replacement for the termite eaten fence and next Spring a gas heater will be installed.

We lost a couple of trees and big rhododendrons to last year's severe winter, which Neal the Landscaper said was an opportunity, especially as the pool guys had to rip through the shrubbery to lay new pipes so hey presto one May weekend we got a new awesome shrubbery. well, almost new, The Guy insisted on keeping a dog wood because it looks spectacular from the master window for one week in May. It will probably come crashing down this winter!

The kitchen patio, front path and steps were re-grouted and broken bluestone slabs were replaced. We also installed four Marvin windows in the den, downstairs bath and basement where the rot or weather had damaged them beyond repair.

While all that was going on we started the BIG PAINT JOB, which kept getting bigger as we progressed form room to room. I'd taken three months to narrow down the fifty odd shades of gray and gold to half a dozen. We used Benjamin Moore Aura paint on all the walls and baseboards, which has no off gases and dries to a tough knock resist finish; the painters replaced moldings as needed. Eventually after much trial and error, we chose Collingwood for the kitchen and second and fourth bedrooms, Moonshine for the great room, stairs, hall and balcony and one bath, Camouflage for the third bedroom & the den. My office ended up Golden Tan, the third bedroom Buena Vista Gold, the laundry Metropolitan and we matched the original dusky pink tiles in the downstairs bath to Peau de Soie. The painters took advantage of the cool, dry summer and stained the house Mission Brown, with doors in Marvin Bronze to match the windows.

Last but certainly most significantly, we converted from oil to gas. This was prompted when our oil guy telling us he couldn't keep the monster burner going much longer coincided with an oil bill that cost more than our first new car. I won't bore you with the details of the 6 month saga of no heat or no hot water, repairs, work-arounds and crossing our fingers it took to get us to October 8 when National Grid finally turned the gas on. It's also not the prettiest project, and it took one guy an entire 8AM-4PM day to get the monster out of the basement but it did finally get done. We worried about an ugly gas meter outside our beautiful house but we managed to hide it behind an estate rhododendron. Can you see it in the photo above? No? Neither can anyone else! More importantly we can take showers without screaming and the air coming out of the vents is toasty so it's probably the project that impacts our comfort level the most.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Cool off

The obligatory pool shot: inviting and so irresistible, especially as we're into a streak of hot summer days.

Time to don the Oliver Peoples sunglasses and dive right into the pool

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Guaranteed washout

Severe thunderstorms, scattered thunderstorms and isolated thunderstorms until Sunday. After that it'll probably just rain until Labor Day.

Bonus: it's pouring so hard I can't even see the pool!

Monday, July 20, 2009


What connects a cleat, boats and the Cool House pool?

Take a boat or dock cleat. Fasten it to two 3-4" long screws

Push screws through pool skimmer cover (don't forget to clean skimmer basket while you have it open!)

Screw on a back plate, secure with nuts... and voila.

One handy handle to lift the skimmer covers that lies flat when not in use. Safety first around the pool. Ingenious!

And the most likely place to use a 3" cleat or a boat? To secure the 1/4" line that runs up the pennant

Thanks to everyone who chimed in with suggestions.

Almost connected

Three days running around. Three hardware stores to find one that sells the correct screw size; one swimming pool supply store who sent us to the boat yard next door, who sent us to West Marine who sent us to Coney's Marine in Huntington who had a near-enough match for the cleats.

The hunt is now over. We have the requisite hardware assembled to effect a repair to the... What? No-one has found the connection yet. Last clue: It's not used as a tie-down for anything in our pool. And every last vendor has described the use as "ingenious".
One last chance, interwebs, before we fix the cleats in place: What do we use them for? What purpose would a 3" cleat normally serve on a boat?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Find the connection: Clue

Re: the connection between the object (identified correctly as a boat or dock cleat) and the pool, plus the purpose of a 3" cleat on a boat. Does this help solve the puzzle?

What should have taken less time to fix than the internets are taking to identify a connection is turning (as things tend to do when tackled by yours truly and The Guy) into a marathon search for the correct doodad. Currently trying to locate the right size of screws. And no, none of the 14,325 screws we have in jars at the Cool House fits. Quelle surprise!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Find the connection

Between this


and these

Bonus questions: What is the object in the first photo? What do we use it for? Where can I find a replacement?

File under: We learn something new about the house every year

Monday, May 25, 2009

Weekend Achievements...

Monday AM edition:


pots of purple basil and oregano added to herb garden


Tomatoes, peppers, basil, lemon balm and cilantro in the jumbo container by the barbecue


Third attempt at setting the stone (if this doesn't work we'll be calling in the mason)!

Still to do this afternoon:


more weeding needed

and it's time for the annual carpenter bee hunt. Those guys will be going down. Spotted four so far, two dead (from the white powder I dusted in the holes last month) and two bent on making the siding into a holey mess.

Certain traditional Memorial Day activities will not be happening:


The pool is covered with a layer of pollen and only 73 degrees. Brr

Saturday, October 04, 2008

To do list and city fun

Ok, so we have a few things to get done this weekend:
1) Tackle the new hole the blasted woodpecker has made in the post by the front door before the porch falls down.
2) Clean out the gutters. Again. Yes, someone is going back up on the roof. And yes, that would be the same someone who forgot our anniversary. As both this and chore #1 require someone else to hold the ladder, I can foresee all sorts of calamities before we are done.
3) Clean out the dead moles from the pool filters so the guys can come and close it up without being totally grossed out.
4)Run into the city to see the Jeff Koons exhibit on the roof of the Met before it closes.
All these things require fine weather, so it BETTER NOT RAIN BEFORE SUNDAY EVENING.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Amphibians Rule

Now that we're no longer using the pool nature has taken over...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Cold water

See that blue water? Pristine blue water? Do you want to know why it looks like that? I'll tell you. Because no one has put so much as a pinky-toe in there since we opened it a month ago. Why? Because it's a freakishly cold 62F, that's why.
This year was the first Memorial Day weekend we didn't jump in the pool since we moved here. Even though we are hardy Europeans, we need at least a week of temperatures in the 70s to get the water warm enough for us, and this year that just hasn't happened. We've had one day, or at the most two, of warm weather followed by a stream of dreary, chilly days.
A neighbor suggested we use solar balls to heat the water but I can't find any more information on them. Does anyone know if these things work? It says non-toxic, but what are they made of? Will they mangle the mechanics of my new pump? I'd really like to start swimming soon and I'd be willing to try these things if I knew they'd do no harm.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pool update

When I wrote this a couple of weeks ago I mentioned there might be a problem with the pump. Well two days, a new pump, new timer and some tubing later we can now recirculate the water without annoying the neighbors and more importantly we can run it during the day and turn it off at night.
The timer replacement business is hysterical, by the way. The pool guys slap another timer on the fence, hook it up to the electrics and LEAVE THE OLD TIMER BEHIND. We now have three timers decorating the pool housing, looking like little metal birdhouses without the holes. I wonder how long they last? Will I still be here to see each fence post with it's own special box? Could I call it art and charge people to visit the exhibition?
Unfortunately all the new mechanics have not solved the leak we had fixed in 2005 or 2007. Actually, this is probably a new leak and I'm fairly sure it's in the plastic pipe under the flower bed because we had two rhododendrons die there this year. We'll probably start excavating it soon because even though the water isn't going down much we don't really want to lose any more bushes. The good news is that the filters are still in good shape as is the cement so we don't have to contemplate marble-dusting it this year. The bad news is that the water is cold, we still have no pool heater and even if we did we couldn't afford to heat the pool as oil hit almost $127 a gallon yesterday.

EDIT: Sorry, I meant a barrel. $127 a barrel, not a gallon. Still bad though.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Pool's Open

But no one will be swimming in it for a while unless they are crazy a member of this club. It's freezing out there.
We The Guy started the process on Saturday afternoon by taking the pump out of the pond*, going to the hardware store to buy a new piece of hose the correct diameter to replace the one that "got lost" during the winter, attaching hose to pump, dropping it into the water that had accumulated on the pool cover since last September and flicking on the switch in the kitchen. (No not that one, that's the outdoor lights. No, that's the tree light. No that's the balcony. Hang on... By connecting the cable to the pump and turning on the switch). Then we pumped water, Saturday until dusk and all Sunday, by which time had a nice, dry cover with a few inches of leaves all ready to be scooped onto the leaf pile.
Then it started to rain. It poured down all Monday, a good 2" by the end of the day. A lot of which sat right there on the pool cover again. So we started the pump going again this morning. By the time the guys (as opposed to The Guy) arrived to actually open the pool we still had a fair bit of water on the top, and it was raining again.
They will come back again tomorrow to make sure the system is working, I think there is going to be a problem with the return, maybe even the pump itself, and we are finally getting a replacement timer for the one that hasn't worked since we bought the place so I think we'll have to charge people to swim this year. Or maybe even to look at it.

*we use the tiny pond pump to pump the water off the cover because neither of us can figure out how to use the actual pool pump to do it

Saturday, September 22, 2007

What goes "hmm...errr" all through the night?

No not my better half snoring.
It sounded like a nail gun compressor, or the power-washer when you've switched it off but haven't unplugged it. Hmm...errr. It started about 2 AM and continued at five minute intervals. I got up and checked the dryer: Off. And the pond pump: Off. And the oil burner: Definitely off. I thought it might possibly be the neighbour's airco unit. It was odd and irritating and disturbed my sleep all night long. This morning I discovered that every time the Hmm...errr occurred the lights flickered. Obviously it was our problem and I was going to have to track it down.


The one thing I didn't think of was the pool pump because I noticed it was off on Monday. It was completely still out there, and as no-one is brave enough to get into the unheated pool now, I thought I'd just leave it off until the guys come and close it up for the winter.
Well, guess what? Having exhausted all other possibilities, we checked the pump and the electrical unit was still on although the pump wasn't functioning. We turned the timer off and voila, silence. So I'm pretty sure that means we'll need a new part or pump or whole freakin' electrical unit next Spring.
Ho, hum, errr......

Monday, May 28, 2007

What could possibly go wrong?

White Rhododendron
Originally uploaded by modernemama
I asked myself at the start of this long weekend. These were the outside chores we had to complete:
1) Get moss off patios and paths
2) Control Carpenter Bees
3) Weed borders
4) Bring out and wash garden furniture
5) Wash windows
And after the purchase of the new washer/dryer we added
6) Paint the laundry room
Not an impossibly long or complicated list, is it?
By the end of yesterday afternoon we were congratulating ourselves, numbers 1-4 had been done and we 'd planted the rest of the pots with flowers and herbs and even added some annuals along the brick path.
We were so ahead of things Steven thought he'd nip to the Mall for a couple of items, get back, wash the windows at the back of the house (he'd already done the others) and then see to the laundry. But before he went he decided to skim the pool.
He'd dressed for the Mall so he was smart, even wearing his new brown loafers. And he was just about finished when...
I didn't see what happened because I'd turned round to talk to the dog but I heard the splash. He'd lost his footing and fallen into the shallow end of the pool, catching his knee on the side on the way in. He emerged dripping, blood pouring from a scraped knuckle but impressively he was still wearing his glasses. Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me so you'll have to imagine the scene, but apart from a sore knee, a couple of scrapes and the skinned knuckle he's fine. But he won't be tackling the laundry this week.

Addendum: I almost forgot the irony of the situation. One of the things Steve did yesterday that wasn't even on the list, was to re-lay the brick path where the roots had pushed up a couple of bricks. He did an excellent job, and all to prevent us from tripping and damaging ourselves!