Let It Roll
Jennifer and Kyle Klopfer and their two teenage boys are an athletic family. They ski, snowboard,
kayak, paddleboard, cycle and play water polo and volleyball. So when they decided to update their
Strawberry backyard, one of their first thoughts — naturally — was adding a place to play.
The concept for that place came, in a circuitous way, from a former presidental candidate. When
the Klopfers first moved into their home in 2012, the lower part of the yard contained a horseshoe
pit — which, a realtor told them, was there because previous owners had hosted a political dinner
for the candidate and installed the pit in his honor. “That got us thinking, ‘It would be fun to play
bocce here too,’ ” Jennifer says.
The family loved the idea of having a game that several different generations could play. But
rather than building it out of sight — like the former horseshoe area — the Klopfers chose to build
their bocce court on the back patio. The family hangs out there constantly, and for a good reason:
it has a postcard-worthy view of Richardson Bay, San Francisco, Alcatraz and Belvedere.
The Klopfers hired Mill Valley’s Integrated Design Studio to redesign the entire patio area,
turning it into a sleek, minimalist space with a bocce court along the back perimeter. Then, Van
Midde & Son Concrete and Monarch Gardens, both of San Rafael, arrived to do the work.
The process was far more arduous than one might think. The 10-by-45-foot court (half the
length of regulation size) was “quite complicated,” Jennifer says. Workers installed extensive
drainage beneath the court; painstakingly made sure the playing surface was level; poured con-
crete benches at the ends; and placed decomposed granite on the court itself.
The work, which began in July last year, was finished on December 29 — just in time for the
Klopfers’ New Year’s Eve party. They invited roughly 60 of their friends, most of them delighted
to find that the court had inset lighting and glow-in-the-dark balls for nighttime play. People lined
up for a game, including Jennifer, her husband and their boys, and, she adds, “we’ve been playing
pretty much every day since.”