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Issue Date: August 2011

Home Court

Former Cav Larry Nance's Bath retreat is playful, personal and perfectly cozy.

A private lake right outside his back door. A pet swan named Napoleon. A basketball court where his living room should be. These are just some examples of what makes former Cleveland Cavalier Larry Nance's Bath home so interesting.

When he bought the four-bedroom, two-and-half-bath home with his wife, Jaynee, 20 years ago, the couple had different ideas about decorating than they do now.

"We had everything done in white at first," Larry says.

The couple had previously lived in Phoenix where mud and dirt wasn't an issue, but after having three kids and six dogs, it was obvious a change was needed. "So we switched to gray," Jaynee says.

Over the years, the Nances have added pieces that give their home personality, but it was about seven years ago when they decided to make their boldest move yet: convert the formal living room into a basketball court.

"There used to be a pool table in there," Larry says. "We didn't play much."

"That formal living room setting wasn't our thing anyway," Jaynee says. "We don't like those types of rooms where you can't go in there; it's just there to look pretty."

Today, the basketball court is filled with trophies and memorabilia from Larry's time as a Cavalier, including a milk carton with Larry's face on it, a March 1989 Cleveland Magazine cover with Larry and Lil' John Rinaldi, and also newspaper and magazine articles about their two oldest children, Casey and Larry Jr., who are both attending college on basketball scholarships.

"I always worry about people thinking that I have such a big ego and I want everyone to see all the stuff that I've done," Larry says. "I tell her to take all that stuff down all the time."

"He does," Jaynee says. "He should be proud of his accomplishments. And what would you rather have in there? Stark white walls?"

It's apparent that he doesn't have a big head and is willing to let Jaynee call the shots when it comes to decorating.

"I am not a minimalist," she says. "I like personalized stuff everywhere. I wanted bright, tropical colors in each room."

Take the downstairs bathroom. It is filled with kitschy Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and Beatles paraphernalia, such as collectible bottles of wine called Marilyn Merlot.

"I really don't like Elvis' music," Jaynee says. "I just love all that junk that surrounds him and the Beatles. I find stuff everywhere. People know I love that kooky stuff, so they give it to me as gifts."

But there's one thing Larry really wanted. The 72-inch TV in the living room.

"I love football so much," he says.

"And movies with loud surround sound. It can get really loud," Jaynee says. "He was obsessed with getting that surround sound."

"I call it booming," Larry chimes in. "It sounds good."

Larry also likes his quiet time too. The back of the house overlooks a lake that the family owns with their neighbor. He heads out back to one of his two boats to fish about once a month.

"When we were in the playoffs, me and Hot Rod [Williams] had a lot of down time, and we would sit out there and fish," Larry says. "It was a nice way of being calm before the storm."

With two kids off to college, Jaynee says she doesn't see herself moving or downsizing anytime soon. While her design taste is ever-evolving, this is their home. They've made friends. They're comfortable here.

"It's not as big and fancy as people might expect," she says. "But we're not that type of people. A dining room that seats 12? No. Ours seats four. And there's five of us. We like things to be comfortable."

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