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pool table(ARA) - Whether it's a cottage or a chateau, advance planning makes room for pool and other pastimes in your dream home. The initial planning process of building a custom home or semi-custom residence offers a chance to incorporate the features that best suit your lifestyle.

The American home is evolving to reflect lifestyle changes. During the past 50 years, living room use has declined, replaced initially by the traditional family room. Living room size has declined and, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) one-third of the homes built in 1999 have no living room at all. A consumer preference survey indicates that a person's willingness to buy a home without a living room increases with household income and price they expect to pay.

The family room has evolved into the game room or great room, the new place to gather with friends and family. No longer relegated to the basement as a piece of sports equipment, the pool table has moved upstairs to become the game room centerpiece, matching and even enhancing the décor. The ideal game room reflects the interests of the owner, and the options for layout and style are endless.

Whether you decide on a custom or semi-custom home, the local NAHB chapter can help you find the contractor or builder that is right for you. Brad Ausmus, President of the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs, Colo., and owner of Symphony Homes, agrees. "With the current economy, folks are putting more money into their homes than in the stock market because they see it as a good investment. The right building partner who knows the right questions to ask about your lifestyle considerations can actually save you money in the long run."

pool table lightSince you are starting "from scratch," make the room fit the pool table, not vice versa. According to Bill Fodor, owner of Fodor Billiards in Denver and Colorado Springs, the number-one problem is putting a table in a room that is too small. This reduces the enjoyment of the table and poses problems when the table is delivered. "A pool table is a decorative as well as recreational investment," says Fodor. "When designing a game room, think of how to get the table into the house. Tables come apart, but to eliminate the risk of damage, have your builder design wider stairwells and hallways." The size of your game room should be at least 13 by 16 feet to accommodate a 7-foot table, 13 1/2 by 17 feet for an 8-foot table and 14 by 18 feet for a 9-foot table.

Make sure your builder knows how the game room will be used. For instance, a support pole in the middle of the room would cramp your style. According to Ausmus, "Modern construction and engineering techniques eliminate the need for support poles, which leaves room for wide-open spaces."

Eight Simple Rules for Planning Pool into the Game Room

Do Your Homework

Choose the right building and design partners. Consult web sites such as NAHB ( and ASID ( to find a local home building professional.

Consider Room Use

Think about how you entertain when working on your design: large groups or small gatherings? Adults, teens, kids or multi-generation? Planned activities or do-as-you-please? Consider components such as: food and drink serving area, game tables, such as a pool table, audio visual needs and conversation areas

Determine Layout

Do you like your game table to have a view of the television or do you want it separated? The trend today is to combine all aspects into one room. Leave at least five feet of open space around the pool table for the enjoyment and safety of players and spectators.

Make a Design Statement

A custom or semi-custom home gives you a chance to indulge your passions. Display your hobbies, reveal your alter ego or show your whimsical side. Billiard-themed furniture, wall hangings and knick-knacks are available on-line or at a local billiard retailer.

Let There Be Light

Provide for adequate wiring in the ceiling for proper lighting above the table.

Provide Adequate Access

Make room to transport the pool table, other game tables, audiovisual equipment, a bar and spectator chairs into the game room.

Check the Priorities

Whether your floor covering plans are shagadelic or hard surface, the flooring surface does not affect leveling the table. The professional pool table retailer knows how to transport, assemble and install your table. When purchasing a table, ask about the quality of the installation team as well as the quality of the table.

Protect Your Investment from the Elements

Planning a game room with a view? Consider sun-resistant windows, as direct sunlight will affect the fabric and wood of a pool table. Allow for proper internal climate control to avoid excessive moisture or dryness.

For a complimentary Billiard Checklist for Builders and Designers and recommended room dimensions, visit the Billiard Congress of America Web site at

Courtesy: ARA Content

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