Q: My husband and I are house shopping. The one we are looking at is older but nicely remodeled and move-in ready, except there is no place for working out. We are both avid athletes and love to work out together. My dream is to have my own home gym. Would it be worth converting the garage or should we leave that alone?
A: I love your idea of a workout space in the garage. You'll love your home even more if you can see ways to support your lifestyle that may be different from how a house traditionally is used.
And a garage is a really great place for exercise. You can more easily isolate the sounds of the machines and music. Plus, it won't be too hard later to convert it back to a garage if you want.
Because you'll spend a lot of time in your gym all year, consider making it a room that's inviting and comfortable. Consult with a licensed contractor to add better lights, heating, or air-conditioning if needed, and insulation. And you'll want to make sure there is no water or dampness coming up through the floor. You may even need to swap the garage door for an insulated one.
Add wall board for a finished look if you don't already have it. Paint it a calming airy color, such as a warm gray or off-white. Add a combination of dimmable recessed downlights and other lamps for a variety of lighting. Choose soft rubber flooring or durable, low-loop carpet with a commercial-grade pad for extra cushion, and leave some floor space open for yoga and stretching.
Give yourself a view to the outdoors if possible, with a glass door or windows. Line one wall with mirrors so you can check on your form. And you may even enjoy a cable or internet connection with a TV. Adding a couple of full-spectrum lights and large plants will also add to the invigorating atmosphere. If you have the space, a couple of chairs or a small sofa or chaise would make your gym relaxing as well.
Let me know how it goes. I can't wait to see photos.
Jennifer Adams is a designer, author, and TV personality.
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