Jenn Largesse’s needs were pretty simple for her Medina backyard space.
“My boys needed a pool where they could do cannonballs,” she says.
The problem with her splash-filled dreams for her two toddlers wasn’t the vision, but the actual landscape in front of her. “Our backyard has quite the steep slope,” explains Largesse.
To install an in-ground pool from scratch would have required building retaining walls and fitting a ton of construction equipment into a relatively small space. Largesse quickly determined that the in-ground option was untenable so she began looking at other free-standing options.
As a producer and DIY expert for the iconic PBS home improvement television program This Old House and Ask This Old House, she naturally turned to out-of-the-box solutions for her aquatic quandary.
She quickly landed on a novel approach. “I started googling and found an example of someone who had converted a shipping container into an in-ground pool, but it was mostly a terrible story about how everything had gone wrong,” says Largesse.
Intrigued, she continued searching and soon found Trek Pools, an Indiana-based company offering custom 20- and 40-foot models of pools made from shipping containers that were purchased in mint condition.
Turns out, the origin story for Trek Pools matched Largesse’s own tale almost exactly.
“Five years ago, my wife and four kids needed a pool in our lives to get through the summer, but the slope of our backyard made that way too expensive of an option,” says Joel Cookston, one of the co-founders of Trek Pools.
Cookston himself then started googling “cheap pools,” and he, too, discovered examples of repurposed shipping containers.
He was quickly hooked on the idea.
“Shipping containers presented a way that I could purchase something that is a little bit DIY, with a set cost, and could end up being an asset to my financial ability and not a liability,” says Cookston.
Though he and his business partner had never owned a pool before, they teamed up with companies like Sherwin-
Williams to help them create this unique option.
The resulting product is a custom-manufactured pool made from a brand-new or used-only-once shipping container. The container receives a marine-grade exterior finish from Sherwin-Williams that can last several decades, even in a marine environment.
It is then coated with five layers of materials for waterproofing, slip and scratch resistance and elasticity. The final design can be customized with a host of amenities like color-changing LED lights, spa seating, an automatic retractable cover and a sun ledge.
Demand quickly exploded. Trek Pools is now fielding 30 to 40 calls a day from homeowners wanting their own product. There is currently a wait time of at least six to eight months.
“People want to incubate and stay in their same environment, so they are just dying to get in a pool like ours,” says Cookston.
For Largesse, the Trek Pool was a dream come true. She coincided the June 2021 installation with a multi-episode arc for Ask This Old House, showing viewers how the pools are manufactured, the way her backyard had to be prepared, and the actual installation of the pool, which ended up being slightly … dramatic.
Normally the pools can be placed into the ground with a lull, a tractor with a forklift on it. But with Largesse’s tight backyard space, installers needed to use a crane.
“It made for a pretty cool visual for the episode,” says Largesse.
The resulting pool was everything her family wanted.
Jack, her 5 ½-year old, abandoned his floaties after two weeks of swimming every day, and Knox, her 2 ½-year old, is well on his way to catching up to his older brother. And yes, her boys’ original needs have been fulfilled.
“There have been cannonballs,” laughs Largesse. “Many, many cannonballs.”