Game rooms have come a long way from wood-paneled basements and gold shag carpeting (not the cool kind). These days, the look is more James Bond than "That '70s Show" — and comes with a price tag and a lifestyle to match.
Serving up those ping-pong balls in style is going to cost you.
But if your passion, your significant other and your credit card allow, the latest in luxury game tables can be customized to the tiniest detail and are equal parts art piece and entertainment. And many of them are handcrafted right here in L.A.
"They are basically luxury toys," said Lorraine Spektor, co-owner of Los Angeles-based Elevate Customs, which ships customized game tables round the globe.
The attraction is not only the high quality, professional playing surfaces, it is also the allure of owning something one-of-a-kind.
We asked the experts for a behind-the-scenes look at this luxe market:
"Every piece is made to order," said Elina Shinkar, director of client experience for L.A.-based 11 Ravens, "the size of the table, the wood, the core of the table, every aspect.
"We get a lot of clients who are building a home … and they want to make sure their game room looks as beautiful as the rest of the house. It's not a throwaway room," Shinkar said.
At the Eleven Forty Company in North England, the makers of the Opus foosball table, which starts around $27,000, allow clients to customize not only the wood and metal components but also the players. (Among those clients? Oscar winner Angelina Jolie.)
"You can have [the foosball players] modeled after friends, family, celebrities, whoever," said company director Gordon Gunn, adding that the company uses a customized casting and hand-painting process to get the likeness just right. "We can paint stripes for the L.A. Rams or whoever," said Gunn.
For additional flexibility, "conversion tops" can be designed to layer over the existing table to transform it into a different game top or dining option. Billiards tables can become regulation- size ping pong tables or poker tables, the hardware from a table tennis design can be removed to reveal a dining surface and more. "The conversion sits flush," said Spektor, "so it looks like a solid, one-piece table."
Sport versus style?
Can you really roughhouse around a gaming table that costs thousands? Not always.
"One of our clients in Vegas has a four-level home and on one of the levels they decided to put a pool table in just as an art piece... It's made out of brushed aluminum and it's not for playing, and then they have their bowling alley downstairs where they have another pool table and foosball table that's for playing and messing around with."
The rest of us can only dream...