Backyard pools are one of summer’s simplest pleasures—aside from maintaining them, of course. An afternoon dip is always refreshing, but vacuuming the liner and cleaning those filters? Not so enjoyable.
The short-lived joy that pools bring isn’t worth the hassle for plenty of New Englanders. Enter Soake Pools, a New Hampshire pool business looking to change that. Founded in 2014, the Madbury-based company wants to bring plunge pools to the stylish masses.
By definition, a plunge pool is a compact basin meant for wading and lounging, rather than swimming laps. Plunge pools are awfully trendy, not to mention serenely sleek.
“The person that chooses a plunge pool is definitely someone who has sophisticated taste,” explains Karen Larson, owner of Soake Pools. “They want just to enjoy cooling off. They don’t envision themselves having massive pool parties with 50 kids jumping off diving boards. It’s a different experience.”
Instead, plunge pools offer a year-round sliver of tranquility. In the summer, they’re a welcome spot to cool off, and in the winter, they can be heated up to 104 degrees—Larson calls them the perfect hybrid between an in-ground pool and a hot tub. Plus, she says, they demand little maintenance and don’t require the harsh chemicals often found in hot tubs and larger pools.
Soake’s standard plunge pools are 7-by-13 feet long and 5 feet deep. They can be filled with one of two aqueous options: the first contains a fusion of minerals and a small amount of chlorine. The second, most popular option is salt water, which is treated in a chlorine generator to create natural chlorine. “It doesn’t feel sticky like ocean salt water,” says Larson. “It is really smooth, silky, really nice water.”
Soake Pools allow for a smooth installation process, too. Rather than build them by pouring concrete on site, Soake’s plunge pools are pre-cast and pre-tiled in a Concord warehouse before they’re shipped to their destination. Aside from a few connections that have to be made, the plumbing arrives nearly ready to go.
The average plunge pool runs at $21,500: a price tag that excludes some installation costs and added amenities like seating and heating. The pools are customizable in terms of size, design, and tiling, and have the option to control water temperature from a smartphone.
While Larson has installed plunge pools overlooking mountain ranges in Vermont and among wildflowers in a New Hampshire backyard, she explains they’re also suitable for small, urban backyards.
“One of our project sites was on a courtyard that is absolutely tiny and you would never imagine a pool could fit there,” says Larson. “They have got this lovely plunge pool that is right between the house and the garage.”
She says plunge pools give people who’ve always wanted pools the opportunity to have them in compact spaces.
“These pools look great, even in little backyards. Whereas with big pools, they completely dominate it,” she says. “You know, we are bringing that opportunity to more people. It’s sort of like having a spa in your backyard.”
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