Rec rooms big­ger than ever

The Denver Post - - LIFE & CULTURE - By Melissa Kossler Dut­ton

When asked to build a lux­ury home for a house tour this year, de­signer Kenyon Woods opted to in­clude a rec room — but not the rec room of his child­hood.

Un­like old-time rec rooms with their wood pan­el­ing, ceil­ing tiles, box TVs and cast-off fur­ni­ture, this one mea­sures about 800 square feet on the main floor, with space for watch­ing TV, shoot­ing pool, rock climb­ing and more.

“Me­dia rooms used to be off by them­selves,” said Woods, owner of Au­then­tic Cus­tom Homes in Ok­la­homa City. “I’m tired of the the­ater or game room be­ing sep­a­rated. To­day, fam­i­lies want to be to­gether” even if they’re do­ing dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties.

Recre­ation rooms of all shapes and sizes are pop­u­lar in new homes, ac­cord­ing to a re­cent sur­vey by U.S. Houzz and Home, an on­line source of in­te­rior de­sign photos and decor ideas. Gam­ing and en­ter­tain­ment spa­ces, gyms and play­rooms were among the top uses for rec rooms, it said.

Clients of­ten want “sev­eral dif­fer­ent ar­eas in one large, open space,” agreed Kris­ten DuChemin, de­sign di­rec­tor for the Colum­bus, Ohio, home­builder Ro­manelli & Hughes.

For some, that means adding game ta­bles like foos­ball, shuf­fle­board, air hockey and bil­liards. Chance Pack, spokesman for game man­u­fac­turer Val­ley Dy­namo in Rich­land Hill, Texas, says sales of game ta­bles, which dipped dur­ing the re­ces­sion, have seen an uptick as the home-build­ing in­dus­try re­bounds.

Par­ents and grand­par­ents like gam­ing ta­bles, he said, be­cause they are in­ter­ac­tive and in­ter­gen­er­a­tional, lur­ing kids away from elec­tron­ics and into fam­ily ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Peo­ple are re­ally fo­cused on the en­ter­tain­ment as­pect of their home,” Pack said.

All seven homes con­structed for the Street of Dreams Home Tour in­cluded recre­ation rooms, said Elisa Mil­bourn, di­rec­tor of ed­u­ca­tion and spe­cial events for the Cen­tral Ok­la­homa Home Builders As­so­ci­a­tion in Ok­la­homa City.

Fur­ni­ture mak­ers have re­sponded with mul­ti­func­tional pieces that aim to get the most out of a space, said Pa­tri­cia Bowl­ing, a spokes­woman for the Amer­i­can Home Fur­nish­ings Al­liance, in High Point, North Carolina. Por­ta­ble bars and high-top ta­bles with stools have be­come pop­u­lar, she said.

“Whether en­ter­tain­ing means kids’ birth­day par­ties or adult cock­tail par­ties, bar fur­ni­ture is an af­ford­able al­ter­na­tive to the ex­pense of built-ins,” she said. “A por­ta­ble bar pro­vides a serv­ing counter, sit­ting/din­ing space, stor­age and more.”

Kitchen is­lands also are play­ing a role in rec rooms, she said. They can pro­vide seat­ing or a flat sur­face for serv­ing food, and have space to store games or dishes. If there isn’t space for an is­land or a bar, a bev­er­age cart can be use­ful, Bowl­ing said.

“You can use them as a night­stand next to a bed or in the kitchen or out­fit­ted as a bar. You move it around as needed,” she said.

Minneapolis in­te­rior de­signer Billy Be­son also rec­om­mends ta­bles with built-in game boards, and bean-bag chairs, which are great for TV view­ing and can eas­ily be moved when not in use. Keep­ing a space flex­i­ble is a pri­or­ity, he said.

“The rec room is back and def­i­nitely here to stay,” he said. “There’s a need for that space to watch a movie, play a game or have a party.”

A bar and a bowl­ing al­ley are in this lux­ury rec room in Ok­la­homa.

A large-screen tele­vi­sion is in a lux­ury home in Ohio. Photo by JE Evans

A pool ta­ble and climb­ing wall in a lux­ury home in Ok­la­homa. Pro­vided by Au­then­tic Cus­tom Homes

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