By , Katie Jackson
Published March 20, 2018
Bodies come in all shapes and sizes.
So why should home gyms be cookie cutter basement rooms best described as dated torture chambers?
“For the wealthy who don’t want to leave their estates and share equipment, home gyms are essential,” says Madison Hildebrand, star of Bravo TV’s Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles and the agent representing celebrity trainer Jillian Michael’s $8.9 million dollar home.
But plenty of home buyers with a range of budgets are also investing in more inspiring workout rooms, or in the case of one Washington family, a “movement-friendly” house. From a repurposed bunkbed to a state-of-the-art barn, here are eight home “gyms” you’ll actually want to spend time in.
Montana winters can be brutal so when Missy Jones and her husband were designing their new home in Billings they decided to incorporate a sports court to fight off cabin fever. They wanted a space where their kids, and their friends, could release pent-up energy. Jones knew her husband was building a basketball court, but she had no idea he was also planning to surprise them with a climbing wall. The total cost for the climbing equipment and holds was around $1,000—fairly inexpensive when you consider the total cost of a membership to a climbing gym for a family of four.
If you think the $2,000-plus Peloton spin bikes in the 2016 Hamptons Designer Showhouse recreation room are expensive, don't even ask how much the room’s 1950s Vintage Willy Rizzo coffee table from Belgium cost. Designed by Dallas-based interior designer Elle Cole, the well-appointed space – complete with $640 designer Revello lamps, cashmere throws and original artwork—allows the homeowner to sweat in sophistication. After taking a riding on the Rolls Royce of exercise bikes, visit the hydration station—aptly stocked with glass bottles of San Pellegrino premium water. And that table? It has an $8,500 price tag.
When you’re in the market for a multi-million-dollar home, you can have high expectations for your home gym. You can even allot space needed for something most mortals can’t fathom—like an indoor soccer field. That’s what you’ll find on the lower level of the Inspiration Model Home at Summit Creek in Utah’s tech-hub, “Silicon Slopes.” The 7,759-square-foot, 4-bedroom, 5.5-bathroom home is priced at $2.9 million, and it comes with an AstroTurf surface installed to simulate real grass. When the homeowners don’t have enough bodies for an entire team, they can workout on the custom-made climbing net mounted next to the goal.
Magleby Construction, the builders of the Inspiration Model Home, didn’t stop at the indoor soccer field. They also built a cycling room with 13-foot ceilings and a wall composed of accordion floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open to the outside. Adjacent to the cycling room is a sauna. But according to Mayo Clinic, a 160-lb person can burn up to 600 calories an hour just by sitting in a sauna. (Note: If you can’t afford this home, look into premade sauna kits. They start at around $1,000, plus installation fees.)
It may be a windowless basement room ,but don’t judge Michelle Adams’ home gym on its subterranean location. The former Domino editor-in-chief and co-founder of Lonny, has a room fit for the glossy pages of either magazines. Since Adams puts in long hours at her Ann Arbor home where she runs her own online lifestyle shop, The Maryn, she doesn't have much time to travel to a gym downtown. So when she renovated her 1920s-colonial style home, she created a sanctuary for sweating in the basement. The flooring is composed of New York City subway tile and its walls are lined with hardwood flooring. With handpicked art mounted on its walls, the room can also pass as a gallery.
Katy Bowman, M.S. doesn’t have a home gym. She prefers to say her house is “movement friendly.” The biomechanist and her family have very little in their Washington home. “If you’ve got monkey bars where the couch should be, the odds are you’ll probably do some swinging instead of sitting,” says the author of "Movement Matters." Bowman’s monkey bars are actually a repurposed bunkbed frame sans mattresses. Less is more in her home, which frequently appears on her Instagram feed with the hashtag, #furniturefree. Her philosophy works to keep her family moving. If you don’t have chairs, and you have to sit on the floor, you’ll exert more energy traveling that additional distance. And since you’re on the floor already, why not do a few push-ups?
When it comes to working out, Iris and Zachary Nathan, directors of Gingerhill Farm Retreat on the big island of Hawaii, are all about variety. They’ve experimented with everything from CrossFit to Convict Conditioning and You Are Your Own Gym by Navy Seal trainer Mark Lauren. When their local elementary school told them they couldn’t use its jungle gym for their group workouts, they decided to build a home gym. For less than $3,000 they turned their open-air garage into a multi-use space complete with interlocking padded flooring, benches, pull-up stations, kettle balls, wooden blocks and an Olympic bar. “It’s our meditation hall at 6 a.m., our cross-training gym at 7 a.m. and our yoga studio at 11 a.m. The school can keep its jungle gym; we now have the home gym of our dreams,” says Iris.
What do you do when you don’t have room for a gym in your house? Use an outbuilding such as a garage or a shed. For example, you won’t find farm animals in this 1,175-square-foot barn in Pennsylvania. Built by Griffiths Construction, Inc., the timber frame structure boasts a vaulted Douglas fir ceiling that allowed for Philadelphia Rock Gyms to come in and install a climbing wall. The barn also has cardio equipment, a plunge pool and an Endless Pool swimming machine that simulates real currents for additional calorie torching. After a tough workout, muscles can recover in the barn’s dry sauna or Watkins Wellness Hot Springs spa.