Designing A Stylish Home Gym
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Designing A Stylish Home Gym

A space to work out should be more than utilitarian.

By Jennifer Tzeses
Thu, Mar 3, 2022 11:40amGrey Clock 4 min

There’s no denying that home gyms are having a moment. Whether you have a sprawling space or a tiny corner of a bedroom, installing a workout area isn’t just about the equipment. Making it your own means adding flair. Here are tips from the pros to inspire your workout with style and substance.

Warm up the Space

“An important starting point for a well-designed and stylish gym is to determine a focal point or feature wall—whether it’s paneling and mirrors or a great view. And aside from just filling the room with gym equipment, consider using furniture and accessories to warm it up.

“I like to add texture, like grasscloth or linen wallcovering, and warm materials such as hardwood floors or paneled walls. And add artwork and a statement piece of furniture, like a console table below a television. Stack fitness magazines on top and stock bottles of water to make it feel more like you’re at a home spa gym, rather than the basement.

“The ideal flooring type depends on how you plan on using the gym. If heavy weights or medicine balls will be used, it’s wise to use something with give like rubber or cork flooring. Most often, however, we prefer to use a hardwood or tile floor, which offer the greatest flexibility, ability to clean and help add a little more ambiance to the space.”

— Vancouver-based designer Stephanie Brown  

Let There Be Layers

“The layout depends on the variety and amount of equipment. Leave a generous portion of the open floor for pilates, floor exercise, stretching and yoga. Layering a space always helps evolve the overall aesthetic. Opt for a patterned wall to elevate a plain white wall and add inspired lighting such as brass globe lights from The Future Perfect.

“The home’s architecture and flow will determine where to put your home gym. Ideally, separate it from the main living spaces with a custom build. With Covid, many clients have adjusted existing spaces—we’ve built gyms on lower levels and in unused rooms.

“Floor-to-ceiling mirrors with matching mirrored outlets create a streamlined look. We have also installed hidden TVs behind the mirror, which seamlessly brings in the audio/ video component.”

Floor-to-ceiling windows, natural light and a geometric wall lend character to a gym designed by Kendall Wilkinson
Bernard Andre Photography

— Kendall Wilkinson of Kendall Wilkinson Interior Design in San Francisco

Good Location Equals Motivation 

“Consider the backdrop—it’s amazing when a gym offers visual connections to water, nature and the distant horizon, and even better if the space is uncluttered and calm and trimmed with live plants.

“Choose a location that maximizes views or one that’s motivating to you. For example, we designed a gym at Jolie [on Greenwich] in New York, which is at the very top of the building. The double-height space affords spectacular views that everyone in the building can share—with streaming natural light from the west and vistas of the Hudson River and the World Trade Center.

“Natural light is always ideal to have in a gym as are oversized windows or floor-to-ceiling windows, if possible.”

Designed by Stephen Brockman for Jolie in New York, this gym offers double-height windows with views for days to inspire every workout.
Binyan Studios

— Stephen Brockman, partner at Deborah Berke Partners in New York

Add Seating 

“Adding a beautiful seating area is a great way to not only connect a gym to the rest of the home, but also to make the space feel less utilitarian. Adding color, soft textiles and pattern softens the overall look and feel of a gym, which has so many hard surfaces and materials. This also helps create a social space where you can work out with friends.

“I like to be strategic with mirrors so that the entire room isn’t consumed by them. For equipment like treadmills and stationary bicycles, most people want to be looking at a screen, so positioning them in front of a mirror isn’t necessary. For other areas of the gym where there are free weights, a reformer or other types of equipment, positioning them in front of floor-to-ceiling mirror elevates a home gym to a more professional looking environment.

“Add space for a sink and refrigerator loaded with water, energy drinks, fresh fruit—whatever you need to stay energized and focused.”

Distinctive details like a seating area, rug and bespoke shades lend warmth and style to a gym designed by Carrie Livingston.
Robb McCormick

— Los Angeles-based designer Carrie Livingston 

Soften the Space

“Paint your walls something fresh and clean, like Jolie’s Moonstone, Misty Cove or Spa. Greenery can be used to improve air quality, while an essential oil diffuser can help create a relaxing environment.

“Opt for flooring that can be wiped down and sanitized and add rubber mats, corkboard, and floor pillows to soften the space, absorb sound and cushion your landings. If you need to hide concrete or transform existing floors, paint them and add a floor varnish for easy clean up after workouts.

“Windows are great for bringing in natural light. Opt for roman shades in linen or natural fibres for a more relaxed style. When it comes to lighting, recessed cans are a great option, especially if they have a dimmer so that you can easily adjust the brightness depending on your workout type and time of day.

“And place larger equipment as close to the edge of your space as possible to leave yourself room for stretching and floor work.”

— Lisa Rickert, CEO and creative director of Jolie Home based in New Orleans 

Reprinted by permission of Mansion Global. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: March 2, 2022



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Booming demand for wellness tourism shows no slowing, with travel related to health and well-being projected to have reached $1 trillion last year and to hit $1.3 trillion by 2025, according to the Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit based in Miami.

Curated wellness travel programs are especially sought-after, specifically holistic treatments focused on longevity. Affluent travellers not only are making time to hit the gym while gallivanting across the globe, they’re also seeking destinations that specifically cater to their wellness goals, including treatments aimed at living longer.

“I believe Covid did put a spotlight on self-care and well-being,” says Penny Kriel, corporate director of spa and wellness at Salamander Collection, a group of luxury properties in places like Washington, D.C., and Charleston, South Carolina. But Kriel says today’s spas are more holistic, encouraging folks to understand the wellness concept and incorporate it into their lifestyle more frequently.

“With the evolution of treatment products and technology, spas have been able to enhance their offerings and appeal to more travellers,” Kriel says.

While some growth is connected to the variety of treatments available, results and the digital world are also contributing to the wellness boom.

“The efficacy and benefits of these treatments continue to drive bookings and interest, especially with the support of social media, influencers, and celebrity endorsements,” Kriel says.

While genetics, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices such as regular exercise, a diet free of processed foods, sufficient sleep, and human connection play essential roles in living well and longer, experts believe in holistic therapies to help manage stress, boost immunity, and ultimately influence length and quality of life.

Anti Ageing and Beyond

“For years, people have been coming to spas, booking treatments, and gaining advice on how to turn the clock back with anti ageing and corrective skin treatments,” Kriel says. However, today’s treatments are far more innovative.

On Marinella Beach in Porto Rotondo, on the Italian island of Sardinia, guests at the five-star Abi d’Oru Hotel & Spa can experience the resort’s one-of-a-kind “longevity treatment,” a unique antiaging facial using one of the island’s native grapes: Cannonau. The world’s first declared “Blue Zone”—one of five designated areas where people live longer than average, some into their 100s—Sardinia produces this robust red wine varietal, the most widely planted on the island.

Known as Garnacha in Spain and Grenache in France, Cannonau supposedly contains two to three times more antioxidants than other red-wine grapes. By incorporating Cannonau, Abi Spa says its unique 50-minute longevity session increases collagen production for firmer, younger-looking skin.

Maintaining a youthful appearance is just one facet of longevity treatments, which range from stress-reduction sessions like massage to nutritional support and sleep programs, Kriel says. Some retreats also offer medical services such as IV infusions and joint injections.

Keeping with the trend, Kriel is expanding Salamander Collection’s existing spa services, such as detox wraps and lymphatic drainage, to include dedicated “Wellness Rooms,” new vegan and vegetarian menu items, and well-being workshops. “Sleep, nutrition, and mindfulness will be a big focus for integration in 2024,” she says.

Data-Driven Wellness

Skyler Stillings, an exercise physiologist at Sensei Lanai, a Four Seasons Resort—an adults-only wellness centre in Lanai, Hawaii—says guests were drawn to the social aspect when the spa opened in November 2021.

“We saw a huge need for human connection,” she recalls. But over the past few years, what’s paramount has shifted. “Longevity is trending much more right now.”

Human connection is a central draw for guests at Sensei Lanai, an adults-only and wellness-focused Four Seasons Resort in Hawaii.
Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

Billionaire co-founder of tech company Oracle Larry Ellison and physician and scientist Dr. David Angus co-founded Sensei. After the death of a mutual close friend, the duo teamed up to create longevity-based wellness retreats to nurture preventative care and a healthy lifestyle. In addition to the Lanai location, the brand established Sensei Porcupine Creek in Greater Palm Springs, California, in November 2022.

Sensei has a data-driven approach. The team performs a series of assessments to obtain a clearer picture of a guest’s health, making wellness recommendations based on the findings. While Sensei analyses that data to curate a personalised plan, Stillings says it’s up to the guests which path they choose.

Sensei’s core three-day retreat is a “Guided Wellness Experience.” For spa treatments, each guest checks into their own “Spa Hale,” a private 1,000-square-foot bungalow furnished with an infrared sauna, a steam shower, a soaking tub, and plunge pools. The latest therapies include Sarga Bodywalking—a barefoot myofascial release massage, and “Four Hands in Harmony,” a massage with two therapists working in tandem. Sensei Guides provide take-home plans so guests can continue their wellness journeys after the spa.

Sensei Lanai, an adults-only and wellness-focused Four Seasons Resort in Hawaii.
Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort

Sanctuaries for Longevity

Headquartered in Switzerland with hotels and on-site spas across the globe, Aman Resorts features an integrative approach, combining traditional remedies with modern medicine’s advanced technologies. Tucked behind the doors of the storied Crown Building in Midtown Manhattan, Banya Spa House at Aman New York—the brand’s flagship spa in the Western Hemisphere—is a 25,000-square-foot, three-floor urban oasis.

Yuki Kiyono, global head of health and wellness development at Aman, says the centre provides access to holistic and cutting-edge treatments benefiting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being. Aman’s customisable “Immersion Programs” consist of a three- or five-day immersion. “The programs encompass treatments and experiences that touch every significant aspect to create a path for longevity, from meditation and mindfulness to nutrition and movement,” Kiyono explains.

Banya Spa House at Aman New York.
Robert Rieger

The spa’s “Tei-An Wellness Solution” features 90- to 150-minute sessions using massage, cryotherapy, and Vitamin IV infusions. Acupuncture is also on offer.

“With its rich history of Chinese Medicine, modern research, and the introduction of sophisticated electro-acupuncture medicine, acupuncture has been proven to assist with problems and increase performance,” Kiyono says.

Resetting the Mind and Body

Beyond longevity, “healthspan”—the number of years a person can live in good health free of chronic disease—is the cornerstone of Mountain Trek Health Reset Retreat’s program in British Columbia, Canada.

Kirk Shave, president and program director, and his team employ a holistic approach, using lifestyles in long-living Blue Zones as a point of reference.

“We improve our daily lifestyle habits, so we live vitally as long as we’re meant to live,” Shave says of the retreat. He built the program from an anthropological stance, referencing humans as farmers, hunters, and gatherers based on their eating and sleeping patterns. Food includes vegetable-centric meals sans alcohol, sugar, bread, or dairy.

Guests wake at dawn each day and have access to sunrise yoga, several hours of “flow” or slow hiking, spa treatments, forest bathing, calming crystal singing-bowl and sound therapy sessions, and classes on stress reduction—one of Mountain Trek’s primary goals. The program motivates people to spend much of their time in nature because it’s been proven to reduce cortisol, the stress hormone that can lead to inflammation and disease when elevated for extended periods.

While most guests aren’t aware of how immersive Mountain Trek’s program is when they arrive, they leave the resort revitalized after the structured, one-week program. Set in the Kootenays overlooking its eponymous river, the resort and adventure promise what Shave calls a “visceral experience of transformation.”

“They’re interested in coming to be in nature,” Shave says of the guests. “They hit a wall in their life and slipped backwards, so they know they need a reset.”

Banya Spa House at Aman New York provides access to holistic and cutting-edge treatments benefiting physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being.
Robert Rieger

This article first appeared in the Winter 2024 issue of Mansion Global Experience Luxury.

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