Families Bond Over Versatile Game Tables

María Cortés González El Paso Times
Jackie and Albert Alvarado don't have a formal dining table. Nor do they want or need one."We wanted our home to be a fun house. This is why we have this here," said Jackie Alvarado, while touching a dark wood pool table that sits in what could have been a dining area in their 2-year-old West Side home.A few more steps and the Alvarados have another attractive and popular focal point when entertaining -- a game table."I'm bad at pool, so I'll sit there and play solitaire," Alvarado said. "But pretty soon, people come over and we'll have a game going."More and more, families are spending their free time re-connecting over a fun game of cards, dominoes or maybe a more mentally intense game of chess."People are really trying to find ways to do things with their families and visit with their kids," said El Paso interior designer Anne Steele. "And game tables are a real nice way to do that."But don't think these homeowners are just taking out the portable folding table and flimsy chairs. Though built for fun, today's game tables -- whether in a family room or living area -- are stylish, versatile and often part of the permanent furniture display.Steele said she has seen an interest in homeowners setting up tables for card games such as poker or bridge."A lot of it is people whose kids have grown that want to put something in the back of a den or in a living room to play games," Steele said.But just as in picking out a nice sofa, homeowners can shop around for the perfect game table. Poker tables can start at $600. Other tables vary in price.At the Alvarado home, Steele helped incorporate a deep brown, round table with leather chairs, which have a rattan look, into the living room. The table and chairs are easily visible from the entryway."I like that when we don't use it for cards, it's still a very pretty table," Alvarado said. The table can be used as a dinner table and has a removable center leaf.Those who like playing chess might look for versatile game tables that offer more than one game, such as Chinese checkers or backgammon.And, like Westsider Becky Holmes, you might find the perfect chess table that is not only functional but adds a decorative touch to the room.At the Holmes' residence, a wooden chess table with collapsible sides blends in with the African theme of the trophy room. The table has African-animal-themed chess pieces.The sides can be pulled up for a game of cards and the center board can be flipped over for a game of Chinese checkers.In another sitting area, Holmes, who has a number of grandchildren, has a Lexington Co. game table that is ideal for children wanting to play board games or anyone wanting to spend a relaxing afternoon putting a puzzle together.When the grandchildren are visiting, "the table leaves come out and then you swivel it so you have the four sides," Holmes said. "It's a nice piece, because it's very easy to open for use."When not in use, the table sits prettily with a vase or another centerpiece. It also features decorative accents on each folded-in leaf.A renewed interest in poker, because of television shows featuring celebrity games, also might be a reason card tables are being built in fine wood.Shirley Scafuri of Ireland's Home Furnishings said poker tables are more sophisticated than in the past. The store has several types of game tables available through a catalog."They have felt on them and the grooves for the cups and chips," she said. "And they have reversible tops and wood pedestals. People are putting them in family rooms and great rooms and are setting up nice areas. They're nice pieces of furniture." To get your next Pool Table call The Game Gallery at 1-800-966-9873 or visit them at www.HomeGameRoom.com

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