Can’t get to the gym? Build your own

Best in class: Home gyms can be as simple or as elaborate as your workouts

Menter Byrne architects

Menter Byrne architects


1. The pavilion concept

With this pavilion-like space, Seattle-based architects Menter Byrne reimagined the traditional family room. Instead of a room centred around the TV this multipurpose space encourages their clients, a family of five, to engage in healthy activities and creative play. After school rather than plopping down in front of a screen, these kids go to the garage to play and literally, hang out with each other, reading books in comfy swings and hanging from monkey bars and climbing ropes. “The pavilion concept,” explains the firm’s director Margaret Menter, “allows the building to open up to the garden and still be connected to the outdoors while providing a covered play space for rainy Seattle”. A concept that translates well to Ireland.

2. No need for laughs

2. Shomera

If you are serious about getting fit, you need to build your exercise programme into your daily routine. A Shomera garden room will provide a space to call your own to break a sweat in without any family members laughing at your efforts. This cedar-clad space, has a covered outdoor area where even on rainy days you can get out in the fresh air. Indoors there is space to set up the machines of your choice or indeed a yoga studio. €13,000-€30,000.

3. Don’t pull a muscle

3. Designed by Sisters in Sync
Designed by Sisters in Sync

Make use of dead space such as an empty garage or, better still, an attic to create a yoga studio where you can work on your core strengths. A timber-floored attic will give you ample space to work out while Velux windows wash the space in light. This studio is simply equipped with a couple of mats, an exercise ball, a weights bench and a bike. It has cool angles that were designed by Toronto-based interior design firm, Sisters in Sync. Shop for bulky and/or weighty items online from specialist stores such as McSport so you don’t pull a muscle getting them into your home before you’ve even broken that first sweat.;

4. Stay motivated

4. Nico van der Meulen Architects
Nico van der Meulen Architects

The trick, of course, is to stay motivated. A great view to look out at will help keep your mind off the clock. Take inspiration from this verdant patioscape at House Sed in Johannesburg, South Africa, where the copper accents of the rest of the property have been brought into its exercise arena. The design is a collaboration between Nico van der Meulen Architects and M Square Lifestyle Design.;

5. Blurring the lines

5. Technogym

Technogym is a brand of gym equipment seen in all the best homes. This American gym features a state of the art Recline Personal, about €10,600, ex delivery, that combines professional biometrics and a Unity entertainment console to keep you focused. Designed by Antonio Citterio it is set in a space that has Crittall-style double-height glazing that helps to blur the lines between indoors and out. The sensation of working out in a space with that amount of headroom is bound to de-stress. Conservation and design specialists Lambs Tongue can supply similar styles of glazing.;

6. Appealing storage space

6. Sogno Design. Photograph: Langdon Clay
Sogno Design. Photograph: Langdon Clay

Many of us living in urban areas are now combining commuting with exercise, cycling to get to and from work to help achieve some of our weekly cardio goals. But where to store the bike, or bikes, when not in use? California-based Sogno Design Group has created a warm and appealing room to hang out in. It is floored with reclaimed barn wood, has a hammock hanging from the rafters and wood upright posts or fins that dim out some of the California sunshine. In an Irish context these can hide unsightly views and can be uplit to create interesting shadow play.

7. Just hanging

7. Penchero hoops
Penchero hoops

You can exercise anywhere. Many of you may already have installed a pull-up bar into the doorframe of a teenager’s bedroom. To help stretch, you could also use a bedroom wall as a climbing wall. Kettle bells work core strength so when not in use position them as door stoppers so that they’re always on show, their presence reminding you to do your repeats. Gymnastic rings are another beautiful form that can double as garment hooks. Designer Lee Broom has hijacked the shape to create cool lighting and these Penchero hoops, €35, from Spanish website Aixo make hip coat hooks.

8. Look at that

8. West Elm mirrors
West Elm mirrors

Mirrors are an essential part of any gym kit, says personal trainer Jane Shortall. At home she breaks down new routines in her living room, an open plan room of polished floors and large mirrors to help refract light in but also to make the space double as her own dance studio. You can follow her dance moves step-by-step on her website. Judiciously placed mirrors mean you can see how you move and correct any mistakes as they happen, she says. They also help you maintain decent posture and carriage throughout. These mirrors are from West Elm’s new SS18 collection and will be dropping in stores, including Arnotts, in March.;;