Make a Good Sport: Build a Backyard Basketball Court

It is the final week of March 2012, and this weekend will be the NCAA Final Four basketball games in New Orleans. With a son who enjoys nothing more than shooting hoops, I have been hearing brackets, tip-off times and rankings for the past month. We’ve got our DVR set for Saturday’s games, which will determine the teams that will play at the finals on Monday evening.

After doing a little searching, I found additional ers who are large basketball fans too. One of the fantasy courts I discovered, a few are lit for night games, one includes a rock climbing wall and a particular court looks as though it was built in an old barn. Whether or not you have plans to put in a court of your own, you’re bound to love these gorgeous designs.

Land & Water Design

Pickup games can happen at any time of day. Be prepared by lighting up your court for the upcoming nighttime tip-off.

Kaufman Construction Design and Build

Including a basketball court at the cellar ensures that game timing can always be redeemed.

TRG Architects

The scene surrounding this house is amazing. The homeowners get full views of the landscape and the match from the big, open deck.

Designing Solutions

Incorporating a stone wall at the same space as the basketball court doubles the pleasure.

Arterra Landscape Architects

In this wooded backyard, parents can barbecue with friends while maintaining your eye on the match.

Visbeen Architects

Having a carpeted indoor court available to the remainder of the house’s living space, these homeowners can see shooting practice from just about any room.

Slifer Designs

The design of this court practically made my heart stop. The bedrooms that are manicured, the chevron wood floors… it’s all gorgeous.

Werschay Homes

Have you ever considered converting the garage into a basketball court? These homeowners did, and the results are fun and functional. When the match is over, simply pull in the family car and it’s business as normal.

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'Hobbit House' in Pennsylvania Countryside

It’s not unusual for homeowners to have a space, or even a small outbuilding, devoted to your hobby or interest. However, Pennsylvania architect Peter Archer and his customers, a Chester County couple with grown children, took that idea way past the norm.

The husband is a significant collector of J.R.R. Tolkien novels, manuscripts and artifacts, and wanted to make a small cabin to home and protect his group a cabin that would bring into life the hobbit dwellings in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. “He had been collecting since the early 1970s and had simply run out of space in the home. A fantastic piece of his collection was in boxes stored across the home,” Archer says.

Although Archer was not especially well versed in Tolkien’s work and background, he immediately brought himself up to speed. “Upon starting the job I read the publication The Hobbit and watched the Lord of the Rings movies, but more importantly, looked at the selection of writings by Tolkien, including excellent sketches he had done to exemplify his job,” he states. “I remember at the beginning saying we’d be happy to design the arrangement but were not going to perform a Hollywood interpretation.”

Pennsylvania architect Mark Avellino collaborated with Archer to bring the strategy to life. He “worked closely with me to interpret Tolkien and make the beautiful details that make this such a special building,” Archer says. “Also there were a host of landscape and builders individuals who put their hearts and souls into the making of what’s been coined a ‘Hobbit House.'”

at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple lives in the main home, a Brief walk from the cabin.
Location: Chester County, Pennsylvania
Size: 600 square feet
That’s intriguing: the plan of a distinctive “blossom” window originated from Tolkien’s own sketches. The semicircular halves of this window open by a center hinge.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

An 18th-century piled stone wall on the property made this website, a short walk from the primary home, a natural selection for the Hobbit House. From the beginning, Archer pictured a structure built to appear like it had risen in the wall. “Other substances were selected for their colors and textures, timelessness and compatibility with the rock,” Archer says.

A stone path leads from the primary house to the cottage’s front entry.

Stonework: Ted LeMastra, Allentown, Pennsylvania

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

The cottage seen in the back garden — is stepped downward to stick to the grade of this property, enhancing the feeling of having grown organically from the old rock wall.

“The location ultimately selected was ideal in the first rock wall was a retaining wall at the point, with a change in grade of approximately 4 feet,” Archer says. “This enabled the building to have a more human scale at the front, while on both sides and back the roof sits about 4 feet above, giving an amazing scale, nearly a miniature and certainly appropriate to a hobbit.”

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

The 54-inch round hobbit doorway, a detail straight from Tolkien’s text, was crafted of Spanish cedar. Although lots of professionals insisted there wasn’t any way to create a hinge that would work together with the door’s perimeter, a Maryland blacksmith managed to invent a single-pivot model that met the challenge.

Exterior windows and doors: David Thorngate, New Castle, Delaware; ironwork: Michael Coldren, North East, Maryland

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

Handmade French clay tiles give the roof a distinctive profile.

Dimensions: Northern Roof, Montreal

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

Archer’s crew paid careful attention to the stonework through the cabin and grounds to ensure it’d feel suitable to the first 18th-century wall.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

A low, whimsical rock bridge arches above a drainage ditch. “Once the building was created, the customers fell in love with it and wanted to go farther and make walls and gardens befitting a hobbit, but place in rural Chester County, Pennsylvania,” Archer says.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

Custom light fixtures in the reception area give period taste; textured stucco inlaid with slivers of roof tile cloaks the fireplace. A arch and rafters made from Douglas fir define the ceiling and add to the air of beautiful craftsmanship.

Timber framing: Summerbeam Woodworking, Oxford, Pennsylvania; inside and exterior millwork: French Creek Woodworking, Elverson, Pennsylvania; lighting: Vintage Lighting, Malvern, Pennsylvania

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

Framed with timber arches, the library area forms the center of the cabin. It provides the owner with a quiet place to read, reflect and research, surrounded by the Tolkien works and mementos he so dearly loves.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

The cottage’s distinctive butterfly window, made from mahogany and so named because it appears that the wings of a butterfly when open, originated from Tolkien’s sketches, in addition to his descriptions of hobbits preferring windows that showcase views of these woods. The semicircular halves of this window open by a center hinge.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

As with the doorway, blacksmith Coldren created custom iron hinges for the butterfly window.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

An eyebrow roof accommodates the curve of this window.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

In the English country tradition, the cottage’s mahogany windows have diamond-shaped muntins. Shards of roof, put into stucco in a diagonal pattern, arch overhead.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

A small courtyard frames the stunning stone chimney. The stucco surrounding the windows is studded with the same tile fragments that appear elsewhere in the cabin.

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