Design Crew

Posted on Sat, 19 May 2012 by midcenturyjo

Got a problem? Need some help? Just standing there shaking your head? Don’t know what to do? You’re not alone. Send us a link to photos of your design quandary and let the Desire to Inspire design crew help you…. that’s you lot… the readers! This week’s problem is from Leslie and she really needs your help!

I am moving to a new 2-bedroom apartment – with no roommates – and I’m really excited about designing it the way I want. However, I came across a problem that plagued me in my old apartment as well, and which I am unsure how to solve. I have workout equipment – a treadmill, yoga mat, and exercise ball – and I don’t know where to put it. Initially I wanted to sort of ‘merge’ it into the second bedroom, which will be a guest bedroom. But the square footage in there is small enough that I am worried the equipment would crowd and annoy any guest I had staying over in there. Not to mention mar the design. I want the guest room to be inviting. But I just don’t know where else to put the stuff. Is there a solution for placing exercise equipment in an apartment where there is no dedicated exercise room? Could I put it in my main living area (a small double parlor) without ruining that design – which will be seen more often – as well?

Attached are pictures of the living room, dining room and bedroom. The living room and dining room are adjacent. None of the furniture in there is actually mine – it’s the current tenant’s. So we sort of have to imagine there’s nothing in there yet. The items there now do help illustrate scale/size, though.

Many thanks in advance for your help!

Mish says:

How exciting. I was in the same dilemma I sold my big bulky treadmill and bought a fold up treadmill that I store under the bed

oregonbird says:

The exercise ball is easy enough — there are a number of posts on site that show floorspace reserved by moving storage *up* — so, whatever you have in mind for the 2nd bedroom, if it's more bedroomy than home gym, include the idea of a large ball floating in a strategically aesthetic area. I've seen balls stored on high shelves. The treadmill, I take it, isn't a fold-up model; have you considered upgrading so the 'screen' treatment will work?

But if that won't work, well, then you have a treadmill in the 2nd bedroom; there's no point in ignoring the elephant. Especially if you are on the 2nd floor — the more padding between it and your neighbor's ceiling, the happier you both will be. So what you're left with is trying to force a small space to do double duty equally — and that won't work. A guest room is understood to be exactly that – a temporary kip. What makes it comfortable isn't a layer of dust on traditional bedroom furnishings that aren't used often enough to give a sense of comfort. It's the sense that you aren't seen as separate from the household you're visiting.

Go right ahead and dedicate the room to fitness, but make it into a guest-worthy space by bringing in a higher quality of design. Place the elephant front and center, in front of the window with the best view, and design out from that point. I'd try for a zen yet luxurious feel to the room. Add an extra layer to the window treatment ; prop up or hang a large but decorative mirror in front of the open space where you will practice yoga. For storage, consider athletic locker styling, but lux it up a bit:
or maybe just with paint, or a well chosen koan, or even emphasize the goal you're chasing by using wall decals:
(personally, I like the dandylions, but there are some 'city' decals and trompe-l'oeil effects worth checking out on that site.)

Rather than a spare bed, consider placing a simpler, more utilitarian lounge against a wall if you expect single guests: (It's a 1940/50's design – you could second-hand one at a good price.)
Or, rather more obvious, the ubiquitus sofa bed, available in every possible design (including loveseat-sized) from:
to :
Where they have very classy sleeper chairs and even sleeper *ottomans* — two of either would fit beautifully into the design of an up-scale, zen exercise room.
I think shifting the eye-line down, and emphasizing as much as possible the sense of vertical airspace, would help alleviate the 'small bedroom' feel that you're dealing with.

And that's it. Keeping it simple and dedicated, while lifting the tone with quality window dress (and rug?), a choice mirror and zen deco choices, will make it welcoming to your guests.

priscilla says:

wow, oregonbird! 'nuff said.
do it!

Monika says:

I think the key is to make the room feel like a real room, and not a junk room.

To that end, I too would try to make it feel as luxurious as possible. Key for me would be to have a large, beautiful and luxurious carpet, a real investment piece. Without knowing what your style is, I would suggest a traditional Ushak, perhaps in more subdued colours or a traditional Persian rug in rich reds. Paint the walls to coordinate with the rug, and install good window coverings (ideally, they should coordinate with the rest of your house). Refrain from using it as a storage room. Perhaps have a nice large plant, a frondy palm in keeping with the Victorian architecture.

Feature your exercise equipment — if you can, try to find some which is very attractive — here are some ideas:

As for the guest bed, you could go with a nice day bed, but since it is not a huge room, I would tend to favour a wall or Murphy bed, especially since it will get only occasional use. Here are some ideas:

Good luck!

margo says:

I agree, oregonbird do you have a blog? great ideas for sure, usually company doesn't care where they sleep, happy to have a roof over their head mostly the room is only used for sleeping anyway, even when on holidays how much time is spent in your hotel room? you are usually out and about seeing the sites.

SueE says:

I once had to squeeze past a drum set to get into the guest bed where I was visiting. Try doing that without waking up everyone in the house!

I agree with oregonbird about not trying to hide the treadmill. It needs to be a home gym that also happens to have a bed. Not sure if a new murphy bed, day bed, or futon are in your budget but they would be a great solution.

They are not in my budget so here is an idea I have been working on for our very similar guest room/ home gym problem. Warning! I have not tried this yet so I can't say that it will work. It's basically a makeshift murphy bed. I am thinking about getting two very basic but solid floor to ceiling shelving units, something like Ikea's OMAR series, and placing them against one wall with enough room between them for a bed. Instead of a bed, however, I was going to run a wooden board from the bottom shelf of one unit to the other. Then I was going to prop our mattress, sans bed frame, on that shelf and lean it back against the wall between the shelving units. Some type of tie or bungee cord with probably be needed at the top to keep the mattress from falling forward. Functional yet ugly so the finishing touch would be floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall curtains that hide the bed and all the stuff you've got stored on the shelves. I'm thinking a very neutral fabric, chosen to match the wall colouring so it seems like its just another wall when the curtains are drawn. When guests come to stay, pull back the curtains so that they just cover the shelves on each side of the bed, lower the mattress down and place a lamp, alarm clock, and maybe a vase of fresh flowers on that board and you've got an instant guest room.

Of course this means your guests will be sleeping on the floor when they come to visit which you may not like. To make that workable I would style the room as a very minimal, Japanese zen escape- jute rug, low furnishings, artless walls, perhaps in all white, cream and wood tones. A nice relaxing place to sleep… And workout!

Kim, I love, love, love Design Crew! Do you ever get any after pictures? I would love to see what people end up doing after reading all the great suggestions they get on DTI. Just a thought…

Christa says:

Wow, oregonbird, great suggestions. I used to have the same dilemma. For myself, I decided to do away with exercise equipment other than DVDs, a mat and hand weights which can be put away.

Caroline says:

If your guests don't stay often and for no longer than 1-2 nights I would let them sleep on a comfortable sofa bed in the livingroom. And then they can have access to a dedicated gym! 😉

Alteratively, raise the bed in the guestroom somewhat (to about 1 m?), so you can push (some of your) training equipment underneith it.
I once stayed at the hotel queen Elizabeth in Montreal (crown floor, floors 18-19) where they had quite high beds in dark wood (colonial style) and walls in a cream color. It all looked very stylish. You can google it and check it out.

sprintze says:

O.k., third try: Is the guest bedroom high enough – and large enough – for a loft bed?! Then you could optimize the often used ground level gym area. The occasional guests would sleep cosied away in the loft. (Consider the lighting carefully.) For IKEA options, starting at $ 119, see links below. To me, gym equipment only fits with a fresh, functional style. <– An unobstrusive desk (which can be smaller than this integrated one) plus your gymnastics ball would provide a place to write postcards 🙂 <– For a dresser (take a look a the options and the rest of the series)

Mabiel says:

It must be fun to have their personal space displayed on a website. As with the problem, I think oregonbird nailed it!

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