Sunday, November 6, 2011

Las Vegas 2011
Just returned from the annual Pool and Spa Show in Las Vegas. So many years and so much of the same. Though its great seeing all my friends and peer's from around the country and meeting new ones. This year my classroom attendance was limited to a few small lectures by some of the industry's top professionals and a bit of moderating I did for David Tisherman's classes. Tish is the absolute best at what he does, amazing! I was so fortunate to have aligned myself with him 20 plus years ago. Our relationship helped me establish a name for myself and produce some incredible works.
Winding down the year and looking toward the next. The house I've been working on all year, with its many revisions and additions is finally coming to a close. Its interiors were my favorite. The trip to High Point, NC for recon was fruitful and instructive. I utilized ideas and furnishings from there (along with client input) and made gorgeous. Pool construction projects in the Dallas area have come to a close. Over the summer I consulted on a koi pond in upstate New York, the time line was maddening, completely threw off my schedule everywhere else. For a month and a half I was in NY more than Texas, we met the deadline! We are about to start on an all tile (Italian glass) pool next week some 400 miles away from home. My Dallas installer will relocate for the few months it will take. This project also involves a complicated tile pattern on the driveway in front of the home, another reason for relocating my installer. I have two design meetings this week and two other construction contracts sitting on my desk. 2012 appears to be getting off to an early start.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Life And Times Of A Pool Guy

Another week away for work and a little play. Elite Concepts by Michael Nantz is so blessed to have some of the most delightful and generous clients. This past week was spent in USVI, working, boating and racing. Let me explain. The work I speak of is with a past client or repeat client with homes both in the Caribbean and the States. Fortunately for me, we met in the Caribbean to discuss work in the States. While there, he invited me for dinner on one of his fabulous boats, Shalimar, a luxury yacht, 118 feet of luxury. 5 state rooms, a crew of 7, and everything else your heart desires. Each state room is complete with large beds and full bath including bidet. Multiple decks for dining, lounging and even dancing. Geno the chef knocked it out of the park for all our meals. We not only had dinner one night, but later returned for an overnight and next afternoon stay. This is the racing part. I am a recreational triathlete, and participated in an Ironman 70.3 race. Shalimar was moored in the harbor near the swim course. So race morning, I left my stateroom and took the dingy over to the pier and rode my bike around the corner to the race start. When the gun went off I raced past Shalimar pausing for a brief moment to wave at everyone on board, to which they raised their mimosas in response and I swam on to complete my 70 plus miles of vigorous swimming, biking, running and suffering (somehow enjoyably, I so love to race). I normally keep this blog for work related topics, but these other events were so intertwined I couldn't help myself. Find Shalimar info at

Monday, April 25, 2011

Discovery Complete

Last months visit, the cursory review of a swimming pool project in Amarillo, TX, was the first of two discovery visits required to propose the remedial action required. The second came last week. My plumber from Dallas drove in to assist in line location and dedication. Egregious errors were discovered in the spa. For those viewing this with some hydraulic acumen, 150 ft run done in 2" sch 40 pvc connected to a single suction port and 3hp pump. Two 1.5hp pumps connected to one 2" sch 40 pvc pipe... Both safety and efficiency are screaming foul! This type of stupidity in our industry is why the Virginia Graeme Baker act exists. Elite Concepts by Michael Nantz specializes in design AND construction. We know how to build what starts as a concept on our drawing table. Many creative types in our industry and its periphery(architects and landscape architects), have great ideas or have seen beautiful things they wish to recreate for a client, but have no idea on how to pull it off. Unfortunately, some opt not to develop or reach out to resources readily available for guidance on how to bring the concept to life. I find this prevalent in the aged and seasoned individuals, the, "I've been doing this 20 (30 or even 40) years," type. This stereotypical person professes time instead of hard descriptive technique backed by manufacturers spec and solid engineering. Who cares how long someones being doing something, IF ITS WRONG! Fortunately on this project, the client recognizes change is needed in the hydraulics and other items. Some of the radical solutions I offered were rebuffed, so compromise won out, but no compromise on safety. Work begins soon and will be done in stages so as not to disturb the upcoming swim season. A little now and the balance in the fall.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Remodel Consultation

Many times cries of, HELP! come in from people in need. People exhausted from haphazard efforts to resolve a problem. Elite Concepts by Michael Nantz provides a consultation service to assist in such matters. I flew out to Amarillo, TX yesterday to meet with a couple who can't seem to find the answers they need to complete their backyard swimming pool. A broad statement I know, especially since at first blush the site looks complete. Beautifully landscaped with stone pathways, flowing waterfalls, etc.. From their perspective are cosmetic concerns with finish materials, waterfall volume and a general lack of understanding why some things were done the way they were. From my perspective, post afternoon discovery, begins with disappointment in our industry. How pool builders and pool designers can operate with incompetence in this high end market, or any market for that matter, is extremely disappointing. From undersized plumbing to waterfall containment to improper setting materials to proportion and scale of design, are just a few egregious errors identified. Remedial action is required or longterm issues, such as system failures, material loss and ongoing maintenance and repair, will prevail. The timing here is off by about 18 months. Had I been contacted during the process by the pool builder or client, simple adjustment and direction would have nipped all the aforementioned in the bud. My point is this, the resources are available, if only (in this case) the builder would admit he's in over his head and reach out to experienced industry professionals... A few bucks in consultation fees is a cheap education and preventative to what may be a costly repair and court date. All too often ego and greed cloud good judgement. I've said it before, education costs once, ignorance costs again and again. Now I get to have the talk with my sub's as to why Amarillo, TX is a great place to work, regardless of the 6 hour drive...

Monday, March 7, 2011


Those in the design world understand - Design is Design. That said or understood, I accepted a clients charge to move my experience in this realm to the interiors of the house addition currently underway with Elite Concepts. The client had a bad/costly experience with a previous interior designer and wishes not to return. Based on the clients satisfaction with current visual ideas and aspects within my work, the request came about the interiors. I will always defer to the professionals in a given field that I have no experience in, but in this case, its not too far of a stretch for my expertise to move from the exterior (design) to the interior (design). So now Mike Nantz of Elite Concepts, contractor and designer, will move the 6" needed through the threshold of the door, from out to in. The focus of interiors will begin with a trip to Highpoint, NC next month for a visit to Funiture Market combined with a buying jaunt in that same area. The materials may have changed but - Design is Design.

I do want to clarify here. The size and scope of the project, in this case a 2200 sq.ft. addition of a traditional American home, would certainly weigh upon my decision to accept such a charge. If this were a 2200 sq.ft malachite antechamber in a russian palace, I would be way out of my league...

Monday, February 28, 2011

Survived the snow and ice

Looks like the winter is past. The frozen wet stuff at least (I hope!). A few years ago, a freak storm deposited 6 inches of snow in my front yard in early March, don't expect that again for many more years. Work is continuing with the house construction, changes and modifications rule the day. As in most remodel / additions to existing structures, the unforeseen challenges provide opportunities for creative solutions. Its one of my favorite parts of design, thinking on my feet with pencil in hand and client in tow. On every Elite Concepts project, change is inevitable. Just this week I had to rotate an upstairs bathroom 90 degrees due to a vaulted ceiling on the first floor. It projected up higher than estimated, but again, the solution added a unique element along one bathroom wall combined with the rotation... happy client! The swimming pool portion of the project is still in a holding pattern until we complete the brick exterior of the addition. The house is in close proximity to the pool and depositing daily debris into the vessel means its best to plaster later. The framing is almost complete, roofing is underway as is plumbing, electrical and hvac rough's. We are expecting windows soon and shortly after brick will begin going up. The client and I are continuing our daily assault with changes on the subcontractors, we are happy with our new realizations and the sub's, well, they just grit their teeth and keep smiling.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Taking some time away this next week. Work has slowed, all of last years projects are wrapping up, completing punch lists and turning things over to clients. We do have one recent start, a 2000 square foot house addition, the second phase of a phase one swimming pool. I timed it though to be early enough that some progress is being made while I'm away, but nothing too critical that would require my presence for a few weeks. The project is phased somewhat backwards from the norm. Usually the house goes first, followed by the pool. But in this case, the pool is complete just prior to plaster, now the house foundation has begun. We will be connecting the new addition to the existing single story home, adding a two story structure that I designed which includes a new oversized master bedroom and master bath, another bedroom, bath, living room, mud room and laundry. The addition will also require some remodeling of the existing home so as to transition into the new. Both the client and I are jazzed about the project!
All things considered, I'm comfortable in taking a few weeks off and heading to Hawaii for some R&R. I'm so blessed to have the opportunity to do so. Although not all of the time away involves R&R, I'm spending the first week there in a Playtri camp with 35 others, 5 wonderful days of swimming, biking and running - triathlon training! We will be training all day, every day on the Kona Ironman course. Swimming for miles, biking for hundreds of miles and running many, many more miles!! I'll need another week in Hawaii to recover from this self induced torture. Dont get me wrong, I'll be lovin every minute of it!
So, until the end of January, no Elite Concepts Mike Nantz, Mike Nantz Elite Concepts, Michael Nantz Elite Concepts, Elite Concepts Michael Nantz, Elite Concepts by Michael Nantz, Inc., etc., etc..