“If you can figure out how to include a basketball court, you can build my entire house.” The client threw down the challenge, and Ryan Macintosh ran with it. The owner of Orange Design Build had his work cut out for him. A basketball court demands a ceiling height of 24 feet (2½ storeys), and he doubted the neighbours in this established suburban enclave would take kindly to a looming tower. And so Macintosh got creative, opting to go deep: the floor of the court is actually 15 feet below ground, ensuring the above-ground portion matches the heights of the surrounding houses.
The client and his sons love Transformers, the toys made famous by the movie series, and knew they wanted somehow to incorporate that universe into their gym. Decorator Jasmine Morvay of KODAinteriors ran with that request, coming in as a colour consultant and selecting a striking palette that sees a steely grey Autobot logo dominate the half court, centred in a sea of exuberant cherry red. Slate-grey walls ground the first level of the court, with a thick line of red emphasizing that delineation while adding a punch of colour. A Toronto-based artist, who specializes in painting lines and logos on gym floors and other commercial spaces, executed the design.
Macintosh, meanwhile, worked on the technical details, liaising with specialized contractors whose usual focus is building basketball courts for recreation centres and schools. The flooring installer, for instance, had previously put in the hardwood floor for the Toronto Raptors practice court. Underneath that sea of maple flooring is a patented cushioning system that absorbs shock and provides spring. “It’s amazing to play on,” Macintosh says. “The whole court has bounce.”
Today, the client has pretty much turned his gym into the home court for his recreational basketball league, hosting games at least three nights a week, while the boys use it as a multi-purpose rec room, organizing spirited games of dodgeball and floor hockey or surfing their hoverboards.
Of course, if you have a room this cool, word gets around. When the Harlem Globetrotters last came to Ottawa, they checked out the home court after hearing about it through the grapevine. Other recent guests include an ex-Olympian and an ex-NBAer.
“This client is a real character, so he’s enjoying everything about this court,” says Macintosh. He’s also ahead of the trend — the International Olympic Committee has added 3-on-3 basketball to the event line-up for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, so home half courts might get a whole lot more popular.