Magazine article Sunset

Some Spas Laugh at the Weather

Magazine article Sunset

Some Spas Laugh at the Weather

Article excerpt

Some spas laugh at the weather

Wind, rain, snow, sun, or leaves don't have to deter serious "spa-ing.' These shelters --ranging from the simple pitched roof of acrylic panels at right to the elaborate cabana on page 97--help make those long, hot soaks more comfortable while offering protection from the elements. Their owners enjoy being outside in all kinds of weather, but when they're done soaking, they want towels or robes waiting and dry.

On these two pages, we show four structures with open sides. Whatever the outdoor temperature, the spa users will feel it--but for some people, that's the point. Says Darlene Zirngibl of Modesto, California, whose husband, Phil, designed and built the shingled structure at left, "We use the spa more in winter than in summer; we like to hear and smell the rain.' On pages 96 and 97, the four shelters are more enclosed. Not surprisingly, three of them are in the Northwest, where cold air can stop all but the hardiest soakers. But an enclosed spa has other virtues: it slows heat loss from the water, and it creates a warm, humid environment that encourages and protects frost-tender plants.

What's overhead makes the difference

Although shingles provide protection from sun and rain, a clear or translucent roof keeps the area below bright and emphasizes that the spa is outdoors. The roof of clear, 5/8-inch acrylic over Louise and Katsu Hirasawa's self-contained spa (on page 95) makes it a nighttime delight. "On clear nights, we can watch the stars or moon,' says Mr. Hirasawa. The roof is made of three 4- by 8-foot panels: on one side, two panels butt together; on the other side, one panel runs lengthwise. Tucked beneath cedar trees, the roof also keeps leaves out of the water.

Photo: Four-posted shelter covers spa built into deck at an angle to the house. Fence blocks view of utility yard and neighbors

Photo: Oval roof appears to float above hot tub; early-morning mist dampens clear acrylic. Eight curved panels provide protection from wind

Photo: Radiating spokes define octagonal structure's 20-foot-diameter roof. Landscape architect: Walt Young for Carol and Jack Hakim of Tarzana, California

Photo: Simple cedar frame shows through acrylic panels on roof. Deck wraps around self-contained spa unit. Bamboo poles make privacy screen

Photo: At end of arbor, greenhouse for potted plants has translucent plastic roof. …

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