Water has always been one of the greatest healing instruments at humanity’s disposal. Why not have more of it at home? For the first time in human history, it’s barely even considered a luxury—at least in developed countries. So I’ve started thinking about taking full advantage of it, not wastefully, but tastefully. I’ll let you know how after we discuss why.
Let’s start back a bit. The Romans are famous to this day for their saunas and baths—just take a look at Bath, England. They used complex heating systems underfoot just to get hot water. Kids got it so easy today… Tons of other cultures have institutionalized baths and hydro-therapy, and are still famous for it, as well. Arab baths are typified by the Hamman al Andalus in Cordoba, Spain and some functioning public baths in Turkey are 500 years old.
Above the physical, people also rely on water as a spiritual cleanser—perhaps an obvious analog. Christians use holy water to baptize people into the faith. Christians, Muslims and Japanese Buddhists use water for ablution before prayer. I’m a big fan of the latter and keep thinking that I’ll put have a tsubukai in a future backyard—did I mention that I like these cleansing water sources?
And it all makes sense. We can wash, clean and prepare almost everything with water. It feels good to sit and relax in warm water—it can be spiritual for even the most agnostic of us. In the largely by-gone era when baths were frequently days (or months!) apart, can you imagine how amazing it must have felt to get cleaned up in warm water, perhaps a shave with some nice smells? How overpowering it would be to come in after weeks of traveling to a soak for a deep clean?
Think of that when you take your next shower—the history of humanity has prized water above most else. Today we can take advantage of that in ways that would have seem extravagant in the past. In fact, I’ve become a big proponent of a particular housing design which I think embodies that appreciation: small indoor pools.
While it may seem extravagant, it’s not as wasteful as many may think. Huge outdoor pools lose gallons a day on hot summer days—especially if they happen to be in dry or windy locales. But indoor pools lose much less water, and consequently, don’t have to be refilled anywhere near as much. And if you install an efficient heat pump or, better yet, solar heaters, your bills—and your carbon footprint—are significantly lower.
So, now that we’ve gotten through the reasoning and the logistics, let’s get to the good stuff. What KIND of indoor pool you should get. Much like my ranking with secret doors, having any pool in your home racks up your home’s sexiness factor several points. So let’s start with one that would make your pad an automatic 10 without breaking the bank—or requiring you to live on a multi-acre lot. This one is what got me thinking about the small pool idea. The wood makes it feel like a sauna, and it looks like it was built in what could have been an otherwise underutilized basement. So, if you happen to have some extra subterranean space, think of this option:
If you don’t have underground space, but do have a little extra garden space, you can use a greenhouse-like extension. While I believe this would most suited for the exhibitionist family, who am I to judge—to each their own:
I’m also a fan of pools that don’t take up a lot of real estate. I think that best fits the water-as-relaxation mantra I was talking about before. There are also plenty of hot-tubs and tread-mill tubs which take up very little space. Some of them are just a few thousand dollars and can fit into any nook or cranny in your place.
While I personally don’t have the space for a pool—apartment-bound that I am—I realized that some of them are not particularly out of reach. Water is such a regular part of our modern lives, having more pools seems to make sense. If done right, it’s nowhere near as wasteful as you (and I) originally supposed. It also offers your home a serious place to relax and unparalleled individuality.
There’s a reason that so many religions consider water a cleanser and healer—in more than the physical realm. It gets beyond skin deep to relax the mind, if you let it. However, as I continue my research for my future small indoor pool, I’ll just make sure to take many, many long hot baths.