The Great Indoors
by Darin Burt
February 6th, 2015
....as featured in Washington Travel & Leisure magazine
With so many great outdoor activities in Washington State, who wants to stay inside? That is unless you have a cool space at home like a movie theatre, sports lounge, hobby room or bowling alley. Yes, we said, bowling alley. Where once there was a bare bones basement or spare bedroom, homeowners are creating an atmosphere of excitement and sophistication that showcases their passions in new and creative ways. Once you get inspired, be prepared to never want to leave home again.
Bowling Alley Basement
Concept Builders, Inc.
Lots of homes have backyard swimming pools and driveway hoops are almost a suburban necessity for basketball fans. But what if your passion is bowling?
A bowling alley isn’t something you just install in your spare bedroom or basement, so Concept Builders put the “Wow Factor” into a Seattle waterfront home project by designing a house around a 100-foot bowling alley and waterfront views.
“In our initial meetings with people, we have them make a dream list, no matter how far out. We try to work without limits,” says Dan Schaafsma, president of Concept Builders, a 50-year-old custom design+build company with offices in Issaquah and Enumclaw.
If you’re going to build a bowling alley, you may as well do it right, so ball returns and automatic pin setters came directly from AMF, the biggest name in the sport, which outfits bowling centers around the country. By the time the space was created and equipment purchased, the cost was over the 200 thousand dollar mark.
“We were very excited to do it, and it was a challenge at the same time . . . we’d never done a bowling alley before. We worked intensely with AMF to get the plans and engineering done just right,” Schaafsma says, adding that the floor had to be recessed to accommodate the underground ball return. “The AMF crew came in to install the equipment and it fit just like a glove.”
Adjacent to the alley on the lower level of the home, is a wet bar with the semi-circular two-level granite & glass countertop and a view of the lake. Guests can also sit at a bar that runs the length of the lanes and watch the action while enjoying a refreshing beverage. Northwest Cabinet Designs, of Auburn, created special storage units for balls and shoes of all sizes. The plan was to create a spa/lodge feel to the home, and custom designed and milled alder woodwork throughout helped to unify that theme.
“There are two different types of wow factors. One is the initial presentation of the home when you drive up to it or go inside. The other is the features that are incorporated into the home . . . like a bowling alley,” Schaafsma says. “The key is that everything is in its right place and isn’t put into a space where it doesn’t fit well. Of course, then there’s budget, and that will tell the kind of a wow factor that can be created.”