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That Sinking Feeling

Category: , Posted:28 Mar 2016 | 15:50 pm

One of my earliest obsessions, and one that fuelled lifelong love of islands and all things tropical, was with the far-flung destination of Tahiti.

Swaying palm trees, sweeping beaches and those exotic girls in the grass skirts.

This was a clearly case of too much Hollywood for young Bill, but life is often stranger than fiction.

The daydreams eventually led to me relocating to Hawaii and, following a hunch, on to the South Pacific.

But let’s, for the time being, rewind back to my middle-class childhood in suburban Los Angeles, which was accompanied by the most necessary piece of the ’70s American Dream jigsaw – the swimming pool.

Countless hours were spent playing, hanging out, and later drinking the summer months away, back in the days when the clock ticked a little slower.

Indeed, poolside barbeques were always a favourite family pastime and friends and neighbours would inevitably assemble at the mere mention of a pool party.

And although our evenings were invariably overrun by the toxic fumes of our smog-ridden city, the dream of Tahiti was often close at hand.

Years later as my taste refined and I passed the drinking age, I regularly worshiped at the temple of Trader Vic’s and rapidly developed a taste for dark rum and late-night conversations with the devil masks that adorned the men’s room.

All too often the gods spoke back to me, but strangely enough I’d usually forgotten their spiritual advice by the time day broke, even though the devastating hangovers always remained.

After diving into the world of surreal estate, one of the early givens of the industry was that swimming pools – with or without tiki touches – added value to property.

This ethos was etched into my subconscious.

Be it the much-coveted quintessential modern pool villa or the plunge pools at sky-high condos attached at incredible angles and intersections between steel and cement, swimming pools in Asia continue to adorn large portion of luxury real estate.

For more than a decade, one of my pet hates – and yes there are many, as frequent readers know – is the lack of imagination afforded to these highly prized add-on assets.

Sure, there are those infinity pools that developers adore and ensure, at any cost, are included in every glossy sales brochure.

You know the ones with the leggy model gazing serenely into the mid-distance.

But what are her thoughts on the role swimming pools play on the value of real estate, I wonder? I actually once dated a swimsuit mode and I can safely say that her mind didn’t wander much further than her next manicure or body wax, so maybe the brochure model’s opinions aren’t so pertinent after all…

Nowadays we tout design, art, invention and experience as dynamic selling points for real estate, but surely the biggest lost opportunity, in terms of sheer innovation, is the once-coveted pool.

Key selling points define and elevate real estate in ways you cannot imagine.

It’s time developers in Asia stopped walking down Main Street and spitting out carbon-copy pools.

If hardhat-wearing men with funny accents and bulldozers in the Hollywood hills and south of France can design personalised pools on reality television everyday, there’s no reason this region can’t embrace it on a wider and more inventive scale.

Tahiti, while still a lovely destination, has seen its day fade as home to the gods – and the fantasy of middle-class ’70s California kids like me.

We need new gods, or else the true religion of innovation will simply land us in Groundhog Day – endless days sat around nameless infinity pools.

It’s time to get those Tiki torches out and relight the flame for pool passion.

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