Trendy amenity scores plenty of fun for all ages
When Dave and Rebecca Schoenfeld throw a social engagement, everyone has a ball. Literally.
That’s because their spirited home at The Cliffs at Walnut Cove features an indoor sports court that lends a little extra game to every gathering.
“People love to come over!” says Dave Schoenfeld, a dermatologist with a practice in Carrollton, Georgia. Built in 2015 with an eye toward future retirement, the home has already filled many a weekend with family, friends, and neighbors who come up, and in, to play. “The younger generation uses the court for basketball. Those of us who are, ahem, a little more ‘mature,’ like it more for pickleball.”
At 1,400 square feet and two stories tall, complete with a balcony bar overlooking the action, the regulation size half-court scores big as a crowd-pleasing amenity. While their Walnut Cove home is totally on trend—a recent Christie’s International survey finds increasing demand for creative ways to integrate sports into high-end properties—Dr. Schoenfeld recalls laughing when his son first suggested they should just do it, too.
It was a throwaway, a bit of banter whilst shooting hoops together in the driveway— “Hey Dad, wouldn’t it be cool to build a basketball court in the new house?”—but once put into play, the “crazy idea” began to take on serious potential.
A sports enthusiast who coached rec-league basketball when his kids were young, Dr. Schoenfeld realized a home sports court could keep that connection as Max and Claire, now 21 and 17, got older.
“What’s the chance they’ll want to bring friends home, once they go off to college?” a friend and fellow dad asked, rhetorically. “But a house with an indoor sports court? That’s the best idea I’ve ever heard—if you build it, they will come!”
The project leads at Platt Architecture and Glennwood Custom Builders agreed. “They were totally on board with the idea, pointing out all the activities we’d enjoy, like basketball and volleyball,” Dr. Schoenfeld says. “They added, ‘You might not have heard of pickleball, but it’s the hot new thing.’”
He had indeed heard of pickleball, having played it during indoor, winter PE class in Upstate New York. A quirky mashup of tennis, racquetball, and ping-pong that’s played with a wiffle ball, the game was invented back in 1965. Recently—somewhat suddenly—it’s become the fastest-growing sport in America, enjoying a 650% increase in numbers since 2013, according to the USA Pickleball Association. It has certainly seen a spike at Walnut Cove since the Schoenfelds built what’s become known as “the house on the first tee, the one with the sports court.”
The Platt architects, a father-son team who studied at the University of North Carolina and NC State, put aside cross-state rivalries to nickname the sport court “Cameron Indoor West”—a nod to their client’s medical school alma mater—and what started with the hanging of a Duke University championship banner to commemorate the home court has grown into a colorful tradition.
“We ask all our guests to bring a pennant from their own alma mater to hang on the wall (or, in the case of duplicates, to sign the pennant that’s already there),” Dr. Schoenfeld says, noting some 90 schools—from Ivy League to community college—are represented. “Once you hang or sign your pennant, this becomes your home court, too.”
This story was featured in Cliffs Living magazine. To read more stories like this one and learn more about The Cliffs, subscribe here.