< Artesian in the News: Charlotte Observer, July 29 2004


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At home in the water

From dad's business to the kids' playtime, the Worthington family's swimming pool plays a central role in most family activities

                BY NANCY BRACHEY
                         Staff Writer
Water plays a big role in the lives of Rod and Lynne Worthington.
In the mid-1980s, they courted in his wooden hot tub.
Their three children could swim by age 2.
On New Year’s Day, tradition calls for a polar-bear dip in the family swimming pool in Charlotte’s Park Crossing neighborhood.
But it’s not all play.
Rod Worthington is one of the Carolinas’ leading builders of custom swimming pools. He heads Artesian Pools, a company he founded in 1976; his wife handles bookkeeping, accounting and paperwork for the family business. Their children are Eric, 17, Alexis, 15, and Robert, 7.
Late on a hot July afternoon, it’s easy to see that pool water runs in the veins of all the Worthingtons. Kids and friends are shooting baskets and making cannonball dives. Dad is preparing to get in the water. Mom is watching with enjoyment, happy that her children and their friends are there.

TOP LEFT | Rod Worthington is founder of Artesian Pools, an award-winning Charlotte company that builds custom pools. Summer jobs in the pool business led him to the industry, though he’d planned to become a photographer.

ABOVE | The pool provides a place for the Worthington family to enjoy swimming and games with their friends.

If You’re Considering a Pool:

- If you have children, make sure they know how to swim.
- A pool must be fenced for safety and privacy.
- A pool should be landscaped with “soft” materials around it.
- Try to keep the pool outside the canopy of your trees. Rain through the trees can change the water’s chemistry. Even outside the drip line, leaves will blow into the pool.
- Locate the pool close to the house to make it an extension and important feature of the house.
- Consider a water feature for the soothing sounds it brings, often masking traffic and other city noises.

LEFT | Various summer perennials, including daylilies, condflowers and redbeckia, form a colorful border beside the pool deck.
Worthingtons make the most of their swimming pool
Pool from 1E

“I like teenagers,” says Lynne. “I like them a lot.” Rod nods in agreement.
A trip to the Worthington back yard is like opening a shoemaker’s closet and seeing what styles and brands await. Rod will be the first to tell you his backyard pool isn’t the latest thing in residential pools. But it’s there, his family loves it, and he’s thinking about adding one of the newer water features.
Worthington, 52 actually built this 20-by-40foot, 30,000-gallon, free-form pool for someone else in 1987 or 1988. When his family, then living in a small house on 14 acres, sought a larger home, they wound up with this pool and the bigger house they needed. “It’s a nice pool, but it’s not what we do today.”
That pool is one of perhaps a thousand the company has built since 1976, from smallish lap pools to large residential ones and country club pools. Now the company concentrates on custom pools, mostly in the $50,000 to $100,000 price range, in the Charlotte area. It does some commercial pool work.
“When I first starting building pools, every pool had a diving board, it was rectangular or oval and people would treat them like a separate portion of their yard.” He recalls. Rod is proud that he helped foster the concept of the pool as an integral part of the house.
“Pools nowadays are built to be seen,” he says. “People want to look at them and enjoy the beauty of them. It’s not just because they want to go swimming. Now they are very close to the house, more a part of the lifestyle of the home.”
The color also has changed. Pools used to be mostly white. Now people look to shades of gray (for the deeper blue or lagoon look) or black (for a mirror effect). Even Caribbean turquoise is not out of reach, given the right mix of blues and grays.
New architectural styles, notably the vanishing edge – a dramatic look in which the pool appears to flow unimpeded into a scenic background such as a lake -- have changed the look of pools. In shapes, variety is the current trend. For a starting point, Rod’s company offers 53 shapes, each in five sizes, to suit the house, terrain, existing landscaping and
personal tastes.
New water features also contribute to the current look. Most pool projects contain a spa, but other things can add to the pool experience, “Just about every pool we do now has some sort of water feature that enhances the sound and sight.” The sound of water, he says, pleases most people and has practical value. More than once, Rod has used it as “white noise” to blur the sounds of traffic and other noises of city life.
He is thinking of adding another water feature to the family pool. The couple, married since 1985, added a spa to the pool area after they moved to Park Crossing in 1999.
Right now, floating goals with nets for shooting baskets are the Worthington pool’s chief accessories. That’s because the Worthington kids spend a lot of time with their friends in this water.
Lynne likes the kids’ action, the fun and games - water basketball, football and wrestling - and even their splashing noise. But she especially likes their presence.
Tall trees and camellias shield the pool area, creating a forest effect on the fenced property. They like the trees well enough that they don’t mind keeping the leaves out of the pool. Around the pool deck, Lynne planted a wide range of summer-flowering perennials that possess several important attributes: None mind splashing pool water, none have thorns, briars or other sharp points, and all will regrow should wayward feet land on them.
“I tried to make it really simple, so that I don’t have to plant things every year. I brought most of the perennials from our old house,” she explains. These include rudbeckia, daylilies, coneflowers, irises, phlox, hostas and more. The result is a wide ribbon of color, topped by lavender and white blooms of crape myrtles.
Because of the slope of the land, the Worthingtons’ deck, opening off the back of the house, overlooks the pool below, creating two levels that provide an important perch for grown-ups. “It’s great for watching kids,” says Rod, “And that’s important if you have them. Number one, you must teach your kids to swim. A baby can learn to swim before it can
His wife adds, “We’ve raised all three of these kids with a pool right outside the door. We didn’t try to barricade the pool away from the children, We just taught them really early to have respect for the water and to swim and how to get out.” All went to water classes for infants that stressed safety: all learned to swim by age 2. By 4 or 5, all had joined a swim team.
“They’ve all been able to swim since they were very little,” she says. “We’ve just made it a priority to help them understand the water”


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