Designing for ping pong

For years I've answered that perfect question from potential clients, "And do YOU live in one of your timber framed homes, Jonathan?" with a thoughtful glance, a slight shake of the head and, "Well, no, I'm still practicing on others." Most were okay with my peculiar sense of humor. This last trip east with visits to a few recent projects and an open house reminded me that the best humor has roots in truth. I remain shocked at how much the homes we design and build for others encompass our own dreams and goals.

Take Jon and Bee Perkins' place. Visiting them in Geneseo last week was a riot, as I got to tour some recent touches, like a transplanted barn they'll use for cars and parties, and a finished basement with wine cellar and... a ping pong table. It wasn't three weeks ago that I had put my size 14 foot down to my wife and co-designer Maxine and said, with impressive ferocity, "I worked my whole life for this house, and by golly it's going to have a dedicated ping pong table space." (Really, the conversation went about that way. Silly how life can be at times, no? Who needs John Wayne?) "And furthermore, the ceiling fan will have to move away from that table!" Oooohh, I am so tough!

So when visiting John and Bee, I knew something was up. Came time to go downstairs and John couldn't contain himself. "Hey, do you play?", pointing at the bright blue table with innocent-enough looking paddles and cute white balls laying about, trying to be, well, casual. Beat me six or 8 times straight, before I could count to 21, for God's sake. That did it, I knew I had been prescient indeed about that ping pong table. You'll get yours, John Perkins!Turns out ping pong is rocking this year. A table was seen at Tina and Harold's at their open house to benefit Camp Good Days and Special Times. We also got this one from Doug and Melanie in the Catskill Mountains, first shots of the just finished game room. So okay hear this: I challenge all comers to fierce and fabulous ping pong on my own home turf... once I get it done.