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Turning "Living Room" into "Home Gym"
Maria A.
November 3, 2012 in Design Dilemma
We are buying a home with an unusually long, tall and narrow (by comparison) "living room" space (34x11). After a few unsuccessful attempts at trying to make this space work as a "living room" - and after thinking seriously what our family does and values, we are considering bringing the "gym" up from the basement and turning this space into a "home gym", bringing the things we love to do most in the center of attention. (there is another really lovely room overlooking the lake which we are going to use as "living room")

So, we LOVE ping pong, rock climbing, dance, etc... So, we are looking at installing a rock climbing wall on the back wall of the room, bringing a convertible pool/pocker/ping-pong/dining table in the middle of the floor, having a couple gymnastics mats, a game table (chess, backgammon) etc... This room has nice views of the pool, back yard and the lake and access to the large deck and large screened in porch. Also connects with the kitchen through a large opening so we could supervise the kids playing while we are cooking...

Any feedback/thoughts/ideas of what else we should consider including? Any disadvantage/problems you see with having this be so central in the house and so large? We are looking at ways of removing the large staircase going to the second floor, which pretty much divides the room in two. I'm looking at ways to move it along the "mural" wall and make it less intrusive and massive (not sure it's possible because stairs going down to the basement which are under this staircase - I'm working with an architect to find solutions for this).

If you have photos of staircase design I should consider, or in-home gyms you like, please share. Any other ideas for the gym? If you had a space like this and could dedicate it to an in-home gym, what would you add to it? Thanks!!
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michigammemom
Some essentials and amenities: gym-grade floor protection for your gorgeous wood floors, a mini fridge for water, a TV, storage for workout DVD's, window coverings to keep the neighbors from peering in, mirrors, and a good ceiling fan for air circulation. I would also suggest that you check with your home owner's insurance agency about liability for the climbing wall.
1 Like   November 3, 2012 at 3:41PM
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Maria A.
Good points, thank you! Neighbors are not an issue, there are non on this side of the house! I think my husband will vote against a TV in this space... but maybe I can make a case if we install DDR or I mention work-out DVDs :) I'd LOVE mirrors, and that might help with the "narrow" feel... Thanks again, I am getting more and more excited about this idea. I need to go back there again soon and sit in the room and imagine how it would feel... The good thing is, if we want to convert back to Living Room, all we need to do is toss the toys out, buy a couple couches and put a curtain in front of the climbing wall :)
0 Likes   November 3, 2012 at 4:26PM
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decoenthusiaste
This is one makeover where I am confident the vertical blinds will be appropriate! Don't forget a great sound system for some motivated workouts!
1 Like   November 3, 2012 at 4:31PM
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Maria A.
So are you saying that we SHOULD use vertical blinds on the windows? I believe there already are some vertical blinds there - I can't remember for sure but I think I see them in this photo... YES, you're right about the sound system. I'd love that :) In fact, we have one now which will probably go there because we would use this space for dance parties, too. :) So, I do need to think where the speakers will go and some storage for the noise-making equipment...
0 Likes   November 3, 2012 at 4:34PM
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PRO
the essentials inside
Hi Maria! Hi michigammemom! I LOVE the room and the staircase. LOVE your idea too - so much fun!! Can you take a picture showing what's on the other side the stairs?

Also - are you bringing actual exercise equipment up (bike, treadmill etc) up too?

Though I love the staircase, based on the theme and your ability to work with an architect, any thoughts on a combo staircase/slide? Some may think it is silly, but I love em! Here are some on pinterest: http://pinterest.com/search/?q=stair+slide I didn't look on Houzz for any yet - I knew there were some on pinterest, saw them before.


Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
0 Likes   November 3, 2012 at 4:42PM
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PRO
the essentials inside
Oooh....here' s a rock climbing wall...


Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
1 Like   November 3, 2012 at 4:45PM
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PRO
the essentials inside
Indoor swing:


Can you tell I'm excited for this room and want one of my own? :)

Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
1 Like   November 3, 2012 at 4:48PM
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PRO
the essentials inside
Rock Climbing Wall, Clubhouse & a slide:


Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
0 Likes   November 3, 2012 at 4:50PM
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Maria A.
Yes, Lyvonne, fun project indeed!! I love that last photo! Also you can find an entire article on home climbing walls with more photos
I'm glad we are not the only crazy people out there :)

Anyway, I love how "brave" with color the photo above is. I am nervous about picking strong colors - but in this tall room with lots of windows we could play a bit with color, too...

Yes, honestly I did think about the slide idea... although I've never seen anything like what you posted above! FUN! :) But, we may save the slide idea for the outdoors swingset or for the pool :)

About exercise equipment - I am not sure. Not a big fan of that. I'd rather play a game of ping-pong. I like the social aspect of partner/team sports. But, it's not excluded. However, I'd rather keep the floor space open for the kid (and us) to run around, do gymnastics, dance, etc... Thanks for the great photos and the enthusiasm.
1 Like   November 3, 2012 at 5:18PM
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Maria A.
Oh, about the question of what's on the "other side" of the staircase... Not sure which side? Under the staircase, there are stairs going to the basement. there is floor on each side of the staircase, the stairs are at about 2/3 on the long side of the room.
0 Likes   November 3, 2012 at 5:26PM
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the essentials inside
I like the idea of the play/gym room w/out the exercise equipment too. I just wasn't sure if you were going to include exercise equipment too.

Thanks for the link to the rock climbing wall article!

By the other side of the staircase, I meant the view looking to the right of the stairs if you are coming down in to the play/gym room to be.

I vote for bold colors too - good choice for a vibrant, high energy space.

I always wanted a gymnastics spring floor but that's probably too much for your space - some heavy duty gymnastics mats would be just fine.

Are you going to keep the fireplace?

Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
0 Likes   November 3, 2012 at 7:35PM
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Maria A.
We are taking the fireplace, mantel and brick off this wall so we can install the climbing wall. We are moving the fireplace up one floor to the master bedroom. There is another fireplace in this space.

Yes, there will be some heavy duty gymnastics mats at the base of the climbing wall. These mats fold up and lock in place when the wall is not in use for security, so the little ones don't use the wall unsupervised and get hurt.

Indeed, spring floor is too much, but if we move those stairs there will be a hole left in place which could turn into a foam pit :)))) just kidding!

I'm thinking one of those caged trampolines outside would be more practical.

Ahhh... Dreams :) so fun!!
0 Likes   November 3, 2012 at 11:06PM
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the essentials inside
I don't know where you get these yet but they look fun. You could put them against the mural wall.

Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
0 Likes   November 5, 2012 at 10:40AM
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decoenthusiaste
Yes, I was saying not to worry about the vertical blinds - change them last 'cause they won't be to industrial for a gym. Did someone mention a slide? Great way to use the stairs!
0 Likes   November 5, 2012 at 1:36PM
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Maria A.
Lyvonne, those things look great, but WHAT are they? :) oh, I'm so excited for this room! Tomorrow I get the contractor's quote and will decide on the scope of work. I still think getting rid of those stairs would be a good thing... But if I can't get rid of.them, should I change that curvy banister?
0 Likes   November 5, 2012 at 1:43PM
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the essentials inside
I'm not sure what they are made of but they look like a fun way to add seating to me. (I found the pic on pinterest but it wouldn't link me to the source) The kids can sit/climb on them while they are waiting for their turn at a game or just a cozy place to rest after playing.

I would change the banisters to coordinate with the room. Something that would make a nice transition from the living area to the play/game room. You could straighten it out at the end (take off the curves or maybe even square them if that's possible). I'd change the ones leading to the basement too. I'll look around for some ideas.

Can't wait to see what the contractor says. I'm living vicariously through you on this one.

Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
1 Like   November 5, 2012 at 2:55PM
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Maria A.
Well... You are not so far. Once we are done renovating, you can come visit. :)
0 Likes   November 5, 2012 at 3:27PM
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the essentials inside
I can hear my daughter now: "I want one, I want one, I want one" Oh wait, that's also the voice in my head. :)

Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
1 Like   November 6, 2012 at 8:18AM
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r78taylor
wow i know my imagination is running wild with this room and it's not even my house! Yours must be going 24/7. lol i'll warn you now... I missed the "sense of style" bus. However being a mom of 7 kids. yes 7 we are a blended family and we have all 7 100% of the time. I know what they like... just some fun idea's.

stair case . what about a Spiral coming up from underneath to the top maybe even extend it down to the basement with a slight break in it for access to the gym but not having to exit if going from top floor to basement. then creating maybe a crawl tunnel or even that slide from the stair case to basement already in place just for fun.

ceiling . i know your husband is against a T.V. but i can see my family pulling out air mattress on movie night laying on our back watching a movie on maybe a projector screen that can retract back so your gym time is not distracted by "i wanna watch T.V. just because its hanging from the ceiling."
I would also add retractable blackout curtains just incase some want to watch a movie and some want to be in pool area with lights on ...this space could be so versatile . i'm brand new on this web site but i want to make sure i follow up on this room .... i'm so excited for you!!!!!!
1 Like   November 6, 2012 at 11:22AM
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r78taylor
see now look i'm gonna be on here all day looking up stairs!!!
1 Like   November 6, 2012 at 11:35AM
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Maria A.
Thanks so much! Yes, lots of possibilities! So exciting! Thanks for all the ideas! I really love the slides! Could make coming down for breakfast a lot more fun, and faster! :)
0 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 12:19PM
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Maria A.
I found a good solution for the stairs - to move them from the middle of the house and make them less intrusive. I'm waiting for a quote from the architect and if it's all within our reach, we will definitely do that so we can get the benefit of the full floor area for ping-pong and other games that may require more space, or why not? a small group dance lesson! Unless I missed something major (resistance walls or pipes or such that may be in the wall) I think the solution I found should be relatively easy to implement. Keep your fingers crossed, I can't wait to hear back from the architect! :)

I like the projector idea - and indeed, much better than a TV!

And I'll need to find a good source for large pillows or mats or foam blocks that could be used for gym as well as for watching TV. Please help if you know of a good source. Basically, furniture that is all soft, no "bones" that could hurt the jumping monkeys. :) I've seen someplace a "futon" type that folds up in an arm chair and opens if needed in a sleeping twin size, all foam. Please provide a link if you know what I'm talking about and where I could find such a thing.

Thanks again!
0 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 12:33PM
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dcer
Sounds like a great project! Have fun with it...The suggestion from Michigamemom is great, pretty much exactly what I would suggest. If you don't need window coverings, I would definitely remove the existing ones. Good Luck!
0 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 12:41PM
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the essentials inside
r78taylor So happy to meet another stair/slide fan + person living vicariously through Maria w this room.

Maria - I have never personally ordered from here but looks like they have good reviews on amazon - www.wesellmats.com. I did a quick search for "foam futon chair" and saw some on overstock.com. Sorry we don't carry anything like that.

We do carry the sofa pictured below but I don't think you want the kids jumping all over an $860 couch (and it does look like it is crying out for someone to jump on it).

Keep us updated if you can!

Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
0 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 6:10PM
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Maria A.
Wow, Lyvonne, that couch would be great for some of the stretching we do in Rhythmic Gymnastics! But yes... A bit pricey to abuse in the "gym" :)
0 Likes   November 6, 2012 at 6:26PM
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Maria A.
So... we visited again the house and measured some walls and possibilities for moving those stairs... And the news is, looks like we can't move them easily without changing the entire house architecture... The plans we had were not at scale so my assumption about some walls was incorrect... So, back to square one, I think stairs are staying put. Which is not entirely bad... we looked at the space and it seems like we could have enough space for a ping-pong/pool table between the stairs and the rock climbing wall, which is what I care about most :)
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 7:38PM
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the essentials inside
It's going to be a fantastic room, stairs wherever! Keep us posted!!

Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
0 Likes   November 7, 2012 at 9:01PM
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r78taylor
idea since it is to much to move them. build.....UP....OVER.....MAYBE....EVEN UNDER THEM . use them as a foundation for something you want. like your rock wall or slide :)
1 Like   November 10, 2012 at 2:17PM
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PRO
Urban Renewal Builders Ltd
I wouldn't even spend any money moving or changing the staircase. The room is so long, separating it into two areas isn't a bad thing. The climbing can be on one end on the tall wall, and game table at the other end. Sounds like a great non conventional use of space, without changing the resale value, but adding functionality to it for your family.
1 Like   November 10, 2012 at 2:34PM
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PRO
the essentials inside
Hi Maria! How's the coolest room ever coming along? Did you move in to the house yet?

Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
0 Likes   December 11, 2012 at 6:36PM
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Maria A.
Hi, Lyvonne! We moved some stuff, including the ping pong table, which got some good use so far. :) we have not done any major renovations yet... as we discover some of the things we wanted to change are not so bad after all. :) many friends advised us to live in the house for 6 months before changing anything big. But, the ping pong table is staying for sure. :)
0 Likes   December 11, 2012 at 6:43PM
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the essentials inside
Smart friends you have! Glad you're having fun so far. Happy Holidays. Keep me updated. :)

Lyvonne
www.essentialsinside.com
0 Likes   December 11, 2012 at 6:56PM
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