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In The News - Shawn Elliott Luxury Magazine
SE-Luxury-Magazine (10K)

October 2013
Indulging In Laps Of Luxury
By Laurie Nadel

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When designing the white brick mansion that he shares with his two adult sons, their wives and children, Dr. Manilal Patel wanted a park-like personal country club. “We have all the luxuries, including Jacuzzis in two master bedrooms, volleyball and tennis courts, swings, and trampoline,” Dr. Patel said.

Instead of signing his four grandchildren up for swimming lessons at a nearby community center, six years ago Dr. Patel decided to build an indoor lap pool so that they could learn in comfort and privacy. “Everything is self-contained,” he said. “It is very convenient.”

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A two-story annex of some 50 feet by 20 feet was incorporated into the design of the palatial 8-bedroom, 8-1/2 bath residence set on just over three acres.

Whether it is an indoor pool, a basketball court, or virtual golf simulator, an elite percentage of luxury homeowners are investing in state-of-the-art indoor sports facilities. “You’ve heard of the one percent. It’s less than the one percent,” said Stewart Senter, President of the Automatic Group in Hempstead, the high-end builder who along with a group of high end architects is developing Hidden Pond at Old Westbury, a premier gated community of 16 estate homes. “It’s a true luxury.”

Lined in green tile with beige trim, Dr. Patel’s addition features a 50-foot by 20-foot, 10,000 gallon indoor pool and full sauna plus gym area. Arched windows nearly two stories high bathe the room in natural light. A balcony on the second floor provides a sweeping view of the pool.

Rather than installing an outdoor pool, Dr. Patel figured that a lap pool indoors would be more practical. “We don’t like outdoor pools. They are too much maintenance and you only get to use it four months of the year,” he said. “We can use this one all year round.”

Building an indoor pool presents hefty challenges that an owner needs to consider carefully before proceeding. “This is not for the faint of heart,” said Senter, who has seen two instances of indoor pools that were not properly insulated. Pool water must be treated with chlorine or bromine. If it leaks into the atmosphere it can mildew walls and corrode pipes.

The key to success is having an effective heating, airconditioning and dehumidification system to control humidity in the pool area. “You want to make sure you almost quarantine the house with air doors between the pool and the rest of the house. With the proper precautions, you don’t let the environment mix with the rest of the house,” Senter explained. He recommended an electric motorized cover to contain the pool’s humidity when it is not in use.

Construction challenges for pools and other indoor sports facilities can be daunting. If installed in a basement area, the foundation wall of the structure has to be reinforced. “You need more steel, more support mechanisms which have to be engineered,” he said.

One homeowner in Old Westbury wanted an indoor basketball court. Since a regulation-size court runs 94 feet by 50 feet, he settled for a half-court with stands. To accommodate his indoor sports complex, which also includes an indoor pool and elevator, the builder had to excavate thirty feet. “My seven grandchildren wanted a basketball court,” said the owner, preferring anonymity. “One of my grandkids brings his friends over to shoot hoops. I use one of the side walls of the basketball court to practice tennis.” A lap pool, 44 feet long by 13 feet wide, was built on the mezzanine level above the basketball court so the owner, a triathlete, can swim all year round.

An avid golfer excavated a 4-foot deep, 15-foot long extension to his Muttontown home for a virtual golf simulator. The simulator requires an 11-foot ceiling but the basement ceiling was only eight feet high. “We had to excavate three feet down and build a wall with steel reinforcements. It was a bit difficult,” he said.

In the end, the $100,000 virtual golf simulator was well worth it. Not only did the owner’s handicap come down from 22 to 16, he got to play a virtual version of his favorite Scottish golf course every morning before going to work and on weekends.

Manufactured by Dead Solid Golf, virtual replicas of the world’s greatest golf courses are projected onto an 11-foot high screen. The owner explained, “You have to physically hit the ball and you can see it moving. If you hit it into a rough or a bunker, you have to hit it as you would in real life.”

Behind the virtual golf screen is a home theater screen for movies and TV. “I had wanted to make a home theater which would have been much less expensive. All I would have needed was a screen, projector and some seats,” he said. “But I hoped my son would pick up golf, so I made the investment.” At first, his son used the simulator but now, “he plays guitar but not golf.”

Click here to read the full article of Shawn Elliott's Luxury Magazine in PDF Format.

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