Quick. Think of a home feature that exploded in popularity over the last decade — and even more so over the last year-and-a-half of the pandemic — could it be a spa bathroom or wine room? Nope, this domestic indulgence isn’t even situated inside the home.
The innovative luxury is the plunge pool, a compact, therapeutic bit of Zen for the yard, but a far cry from the pricey, high-maintenance traditional swimming pools of yore. “People are sold on pre-cast, prefabricated concrete plunge pools for so many reasons,” notes Texas-based Donovan Shanahan, who manages partnership and dealer development in the United States and Canada for Plungie Pools, the biggest name in the business. “They offer homeowners a really special way to enjoy their families and outdoor spaces that’s therapeutic and stress-busting, without breaking the bank or requiring a commitment to lots of time-consuming maintenance.”
Plungie Pools was founded in Australia four years ago by Managing Director Ty Hermans, who tapped Shanahan late last year after deciding the time was right to expand across the North American market. Shanahan’s passion for the product he sells is evident, as he explains that the accessibility of plunge pools makes them far superior to standard swimming pools, and key to this accessibility is ease of installation. “Plungie Pools offers a superior product that’s installed in days, rather than months,” says Shanahan. “We take about 80% of the builder process out of the mix. We build the precast concrete vessel – the gold standard for shells that surpasses fiberglass and other materials, and can install it in-ground, partially in-ground, or above ground very quickly. These pools’ water depth is 5’, 4” and customers have add-on options, from heating to salt pool systems.”
This versatility allows for a landscaped look without the retaining wall issues that are typically required for a traditional pool installation in a sloped yard. Shanahan adds that homeowners can customize an above ground pool however they like, whether with tile, stone, or paint. Plungie Pools are available in three sizes: 20’ X 10’ (Max), 8’ X 15’ (Original), and 12’ X 7’ (Studio), so even urban living situations can accommodate them. Plunge pools can also be enjoyed year-round, so if a homeowner lives in a cold climate, they can heat the water and get a specially designed insulating cover and wall kit.
“We’re connecting with builders too, so that every house in a development can have a plunge pool, since 45% of new build buyers are asking for pools,” shares Shanahan. “Talk about taking the stress out of moving day!”
The beauty of the Plungie Pool goes far beyond practicality, however. A plunge pool offers a sensual, healing experience that can be had immediately, just outside the back door. Water is profoundly healing when it comes to recovering from an injury or managing a chronic condition like arthritis, while those who want a good workout can jump in, get in a vigorous swim or do resistance exercises.
Shanahan is most excited about a more abstract, but equally real emotional health benefit that plunge pools deliver: They’re memory makers. “People look to their homes for so much now — they serve as office, classroom, gym, but also a sanctuary, still,” says Shanahan. “Being in the water is a ‘power of place’ experience, and you’re just not going to remember something like winning at Angry Birds as fondly as you’ll recall sharing time with your loved ones in your pool.”
Shanahan explains that currently, there’s no “typical” Plungie Pool customer, since the interest in pools is so great. “The demand is off the charts for several reasons – there’s the pandemic, and for Texans, last winter’s ice storm destroyed a couple thousand pools. More folks can have a plunge pool too, because our production process is streamlined and we’re not suffering from supply chain problems like many other home-related industries.”
The most rewarding part of Shanahan’s work? “Of course I love hearing about how much our customers love our product, but it’s their amazement at the short installation timeline that’s their biggest delight. One customer said recently that within 30 days from when they ordered their pool, their family was doing cannonballs. It doesn’t get much better than that.”