When Tom LaBlonde got the call to build a 26,000-square-foot residence with a full-size basketball court on 5 acres in North Scottsdale, the founder of LaBlonde Development says it came as no surprise. “This is the third home I’ve built for them,” he says of the owners, Brett and Susie Hardt. The couple has two boys, a teenager and toddler. “Fifteen years ago, the Hardts modified a great room and dining room so their son could someday play basketball. They’re a sports family.”
Yet this new sports complex-cum-home, constructed on a raw desert plot with Pinnacle Peak as its backdrop, was not intended to be appreciated by the family exclusively. “I wanted to have a spot for all kids to be able to come and practice. We have grade school-, high school- and college-level kids and even NBA players who come to our gym,” Susie explains. “I also wanted an area for elite players to be able to train without being disturbed or having to deal with people posting things on social media. I want them to feel the door is always open for them to come in and work. What better example for my own sons?”
LaBlonde says the first order of business was getting the basketball court underway, as it had to be 10 feet below ground. After completion, the structure incorporated a viewing deck for parents and scouts to watch players from above, a lounge with a full kitchen to keep the endlessly hungry players fueled, and a locker room and weight room. Decorative wood-beam trusses give a touch of elegance to what would likely be an otherwise utilitarian space.
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