Pickleball America Offers Sport and Style in Stamford

above: A mural by artist Sandro Figueroa Garcia, known as Sen2, makes for an Insta-worthy moment with assistant pro Pernille Halbro.

Cofounder Jay Waldner brings his A-game to sustainable urban chic design at sports-and-more Pickleball America

Salvaged furniture at Pickleball America gets a new lease on life as paddle racks

Since its opening in November, Pickleball America has been acing its promise of nonstop fun and play. It’s also been serving up interior design elements that’ll make you want to “dink” and “drop” in for more. Led by PBA cofounder Jay Waldner, co-owner of the Long Island-based office furniture dealer Waldner’s Business Environments, the decor blends a Brooklyn-chic vibe with sustainable design through an exciting mix of found and built objects.

“Transforming your average tennis facility into a bubble of play isn’t just about hitting a ball back and forth. It’s about cultivating an environment where every player is encouraged not just to compete, but also to stay, unwind and savor the moments,” says Waldner.

Throughout the facility, the old finds new life in an eco-conscious mindful take on lounging. A 19th-century tobacco sifter found at Mongers Market in Bridgeport repurposed as a planter is in good company with left-behind relics from the former Sak’s Fifth Avenue space, like rolling sweater display tables repurposed as front desks. Pieces crafted by Waldner himself, commonly referred to as “Jay the Builder” by his friends and colleagues, add to the eclectic mix.

Upcycled objects like a tobacco sifter-as-planter punctuate the space and vintage metal milk crates serve as a magazine rack.

“The Brooklyn vibe of the space is fun and unique,” says Waldner. “Rarely will you see a sports racquet club with barn board and metal-corrugated walls. Vintage materials and furniture create a sense of being transported back to another time, which takes the person out of the standard box we all live in.”

Waldner decked out the newest space within the space—a nostalgic Hi-Fi vinyl listening lounge along a back wall—with “homey warm” finishes for a comforting, nostalgic embrace. The play of history and sustainability is as exciting as any on the court.

“A storm brought down a tree in Wilton last summer,” he says. “We cut it into 2-inch-thick live edge slabs, dried them for three weeks in a kiln, and transported them to our Port Chester woodworking shop in my pick-up truck. The tops, finished in five sections from the same tree, showcase a continuous grain pattern across 50-plus feet of counter space.”

Eagle-eyed players might recognize the front desks from their former use as sweater tables at Saks Fifth Ave. Reclaimed planks of wood and nostalgic neon are a mixed doubles design win.

Waldner’s take is also reflected in his store-bought furniture choices—relying on brands such as Steelcase, RH, Davis and Coalesse, recognized for their commitment to sustainability. Pickleball America’s eco-consciousness goes beyond its chic appointments. The venue prioritizes a clean environment perfect for being on your A-game. It includes various features such as an LED dimmable lighting setup, an advanced HVAC system designed for high efficiency, HEPA air filters and a Central HVAC Pro-Biotic Room Purifier by BETTERAIR for superior air-quality control.

Spring ushers in a series of dynamic events at Pickleball America, including March Madness showdowns, STEAM classes hosted by Snapology, chess tournaments hosted by DIG, birthday parties and a slew of fundraisers for local charities.

Industrial materials and warm woods play nicely together in furniture crafted by Pickleball America
founder Jay Waldner.

“We see this as a multifunctional venue,” says Waldner. “Whether it’s for pickleball games, hosting a flea market or even a wedding, we’ve designed it with adaptability in mind. Everything can be easily moved, allowing us to create a highly flexible space. All the furniture is mobile, from bleachers to reception desks, even the pickle poles and nets, enabling us to transform it into a versatile blank canvas.”

The ever-adapting “sportstainment” center now offers a babysitting area for parent players and a coworking space as well. Future plans include a crossbow archery range, axe throwing, fowling (a football-bowling mashup), electronic darts, as well as ping pong and pool tourneys. Looks like Pickleball America isn’t just for pickleball anymore.

To keep up with it all, visit their website pickleballamerica.us

Photography by Garvin Burke

Grand Slam Opening

Partygoers played on and off the court to celebrate Pickleball America’s launch in November

above: Dana Lee, Dennis Collins, Mia Schipan
above: Bret Herman, Billy Baldwin, Jay Waldner, Frank DeAngelo
above: Jessica Antelo, Maura Daroczy, Dr. Sunni Lampasso, Jeff Nykios, Joy Kespradi

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