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The Taylor's personal oasis is a natural double-pool set up with a "creek" connecting the two bodies of water.
East County Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2015 5 years ago

Pool in Paradise

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A Panther Ridge couple didn’t mind waiting years to find the perfect pool.
by: Jessica Salmond Staff Writer

It took 10 years of saving money and thorough research before Henry and Valerie Taylor were able to make their dream of their own personal oasis a reality.

That oasis is a $145,000 pool behind their Panther Ridge home.

The couple wanted a pool when they bought their house 10 years ago. Their building plans even had a pool built into the blueprint. However, the options they were presented with just didn’t seem like a good fit to them.

“They were a little hole in the ground,” Henry said. “I didn’t want something plain or cookie-cutter.”

The couple left a bare spot in their backyard as a daily reminder to keep striving to get the design they wanted, rather than settling with something they didn’t like.

“We wanted something to make us feel good every day,” Henry Taylor said. “Somewhere we could come home after work and relax, just chill out.”

Henry Taylor works for a utility company. Valerie Taylor is senior director for a local youth services organization. But eventually, for their retirement, they wanted someplace at home they could both hang out and exercise.

For years, Henry Taylor spent hours and hours researching different pool companies and luxury pool designs online. They would visit multimillion dollar homes to examine the pools on display.

“We’d have people give us designs—it just wasn’t right,” Henry said. “We wanted something out of the ordinary…that ‘wow’ factor.”

Companies would ask them what they wanted — but they weren’t sure. They wanted the companies to show them ideas.

Finally, Henry came across some videos on YouTube of local designer Lucas Congdon, president and CEO of Lucas Lagoons, building and designing luxury custom pools. His company is based out of Osprey.

The Taylors contacted Congdon and invited him to see their property and brainstorm.

His instant enthusiasm encouraged the Taylors to trust him.

“He was drawing ideas in the dirt. You could see his brain cells working,” Valerie said. “That really impressed us.”

What did their years of patience, budget and Congdon’s expertise get them?

The Taylor’s backyard paradise is a two-pooled wonderland taking up about 4,000 square feet. The smaller pool, or the therapy pool, is equipped with spa jets and also a current-producing jet that allows the user to swim in place. A small “creek” streams beneath a rock bridge and flows into the larger swimming pool. The pool is a chlorine-based system with UV filtration. A 80-inch TV and 12 speakers placed around the complex provide ample entertainment, and all are controlled by their iPad.

The “wow” factor is really in the landscaping: Lucas Lagoons trucked in 48 tons of real stone from Tennessee to complete the natural look of the design. Palm trees and plants trim the edges of pools, tying the whole project into the Florida native habitat and scrub jay preserve that the Taylors enjoy behind their property.

“We were looking for something very natural, bringing the outdoors in,” Valerie said. “It’s a beautiful area.”

Henry Taylor is a Bradenton native. His wife, Valerie, grew up in New York but moved to the area more than 30 years ago. The couple have lived in Panther Ridge for 10 years.
Henry Taylor is a Bradenton native. His wife, Valerie, grew up in New York but moved to the area more than 30 years ago. The couple have lived in Panther Ridge for 10 years.

The construction began in late August 2014, and the pool was completed in November. This week, the Taylors put the finishing touch on their outdoor space—a 16-foot screen cage over the top. Before that, the couple was clashing with the mosquito population.

“The mosquitoes were chasing us out,” Valerie said, laughing.

Now, with the cage on, the Taylors are finally ready to kick back and enjoy their dreams.

“It’s an oasis. It’s like a fairy tale,” Henry said. “Lucas did a fantastic job.”

The Taylor's personal oasis is a natural double-pool set up with a "creek" connecting the two bodies of water.
The Taylor's personal oasis is a natural double-pool set up with a "creek" connecting the two bodies of water.

 

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