Nolichucky West


My Home, My Hobby – Renovations

This was the family swimming pool in about 1958. I’m not sure why I have such a sour face in this photograph, but it has historically been difficult to capture an image of me not sporting some sort of grimace. I’m sure I had a wonderful time in the backyard splashing in a few inches of water from the garden hose. The fashion at this time in the southwest desert was to remove all of the natural desert vegetation when building new subdivisions and plant something “greener”. You can see the backyard in the photo has one tiny bottle brush tree and a sea of Bermuda grass. In the years since that way of thinking has gone by the wayside as people try to conserve water and began to appreciate the beauty of the unique Sonoran vegetation.

I have written earlier about the search for a family home after we made the decision with Mother to sell our respective houses and create a family home for us all. After months of fruitless searches we discovered the house. It had a beautiful room for Mother and a special niche for her corner cupboard. It had space, function, beauty, but it also had a swimming pool, an item that was on the con side of my pro/con house-hunting list. I didn’t really want a swimming pool, it is a lot of work, and heaven knows  I was busy enough. But this long sought after house was perfect in every other way.

So we learned to love the pool and use it everyday between April and September, and it became one of my favorite places. This pool was built in 1955, original to the house. I’m sure it was a masterpiece at that time; big and deep with a diving board, flagstone deck, saltillo tile mosaic at one end, and light blue tile all around the edge. Now the plaster is chipping and the flagstone has eroded, the mosaic had been damaged early on, and the tile is no longer shiny blue. After weighing many options we decided to renovate our pool. The work has just begun and here is just a glimpse at what is going on.

Being avid do-it-yourselfers we decided to save a few dollars and remove the flagstone ourselves. We will be saving the good pieces for landscaping. Since we knew the pool would be drained we stopped adding chemicals and it has become a lovely shade of green.


I used a crow bar and pick-axe to remove the flagstone pieces. Some just crumbled like sand and other pieces were solid and heavy. You can see in this photograph how some of the flagstone had eroded.


The water is slowly draining out as we worked daily to remove the flagstone. I’m sorting it and stacking the good pieces in the corner, while the concrete scraps and crumbly pieces are headed for a dumpster we rented that is parked in the front yard. My preferred method of moving the heavy loads by wheelbarrow was to take many light loads as opposed to one heavy one. I’m not great at driving a wheelbarrow and was determined not to hurt myself. I gained some muscles this week for sure.


The water is gone and it’s quite a mess. The empty hole is deep and intimidating. The flagstone is gone, some of the larger pieces were the last to be pulled up. I would “walk” them over to their storage spot by swiveling them side to side.


We took the pool fence down to create easy access for the workers and to make a place where our dogs, Teddy Roosevelt and Dot could venture outside. It’s a narrow little path, but it will keep us all safe.

Bright and early Monday morning a crew arrived and began the arduous task of chipping out the old plaster with a jack hammer. After warning and apologizing to the neighbors in advance the dogs and I hunkered down in the farthest room and played beautiful music very loud. That was the day I made most of my valentine cards.

As they chipped out the old plaster they used it to fill in the pool so it will be shallower. Here you see the diving board is long gone.


A few days later a plumbing crew arrived. They dug trenches and installed new pipes.


When the work crews leave I venture out to see what has changed that day. The crews that have been here have all worked tirelessly taking few breaks. The next step will be adding fill dirt and smoothing it out.

Meanwhile my work on new items for my Etsy shop has slowed. I am pretty diligent at cleaning and freshening the vintage items in my shop so my big concern is keeping them pristine during the dusty work going on around here. All of the items in my little shop are safely tucked away in bags, then boxes, in cupboards, behind closed doors in the farthest room away from the dusty action.

Right now I am sitting and waiting for a giant dump truck to send a load of earth over the back wall. I don’t want to miss it. I’ll be posting more as the work progresses.

Thanks for listening. Take care







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