Room by Room Revival: the Gym and Wine Cellar

A home gym may seem a decadent use of space, but sometimes you find yourself with an extra room in the house, and then why not? There have been these extra rooms over the years ~ as in the luggage room of an old house, or a curious, little room only accessible through my teenage son’s bedroom, and in our last house the garage beneath the guest house. Before there was an extra room, the ‘gym’ was my husband’s stationary bike, which sat beside the bed, or behind the sofa. When we splurged and added a treadmill, the bike and treadmill shared space with my home office. In this lovely, old home, the basement was an extra room, and the perfect spot for a gym.

Sometimes we carved out spaces for wine cellars. . .

The wine cellar was an unfinished space under the stairs 'before'
The wine cellar was an unfinished space under the stairs ‘before’

… the first of which occupied an old, British phone booth ~ apropos at the time as my husband was the President of a company that manufactured pay telephones. Our last home had a wine cabinet while the home before boasted a custom, environmentally controlled, 1200-bottle wine-tasting room.

We were smitten with the small, unfinished space underneath this home’s basement stairs as the wine cellar.

Little time was spent discussing the basement’s renovation. The ceramic floor tile was in good shape, which left us to replace the old paneling with drywall, add can lights, and paint. No one even thought of taking pictures of the original space ~ it was just the basement. And then it rained.

With the old paneling removed we could see extensive water damage, which led to the decision to close up the window that sat just above ground level. Then we seriously debated whether we should move the stairwell wall to gain those desperately needed inches in the kitchen above. We moved the wall about 2 inches instead of the full 6 inches we really wanted; 4 more inches meaning we would lose the beautiful handrail, and no amount of space seemed worth sacrificing the last of the basement’s original features.

The home's original basement ballustrade would have been lost had we moved the kitchen wall.
The home’s renovated basement includes the original balustrade. A new storage bench hides a gap between the tiles and the stairs.
Brick veneer was added to the outside wall of the basement landing.
Brick veneer was added to the outside wall of the basement landing.

Two narrow bookcases were discovered in the unfinished side of the basement, and we decided to use one of them at the landing. The brick veneer, listed on Craig’s List by a local design company who was clearing out their warehouse, was one of the first purchases I made for the house. The rest of the gym’s decor really came together by happenstance.

The accessories were “left-overs” from other rooms that I was unwilling to throw out for one reason or another. We found the leather hides in Hickory, N.C. years ago for $10 each, the flag is from the clearance corner of the Pottery Barn outlet, and has spent the past three years on our porch in the mountains. It was truly a mixed bag of decor.

An old bookcase was left in the unfinished side of the basement.
An old bookcase left in the unfinished side of the basement…
The old bookcase found a new home at the top of the basement stairs.
found a new home at the top of the basement stairs.
The space behind the old bookcase was originally a doorway to the kitchen. The new wall was built 2 inches closer to the stairs.
The space behind the old bookcase was originally a doorway to the kitchen.
The doorway to the basement in the corner of the original dining room.
The doorway to the basement in the corner of the original dining room.
The original basement door was replaced with a french door.
A new french door to the basement. . .
The original windows at the basement landing.
The original windows at the basement landing.

The lowest level of this lovely, old home now provides those things we find absolutely necessary for a healthy, happy life: a good dose of exercise in the morning, and a good dose of wine in the evening. Cheers,

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My first road bike, an early 90's Specialized, gets me through rainy days of cross training.
My first road bike, an early 90’s Specialized, gets me through rainy days of cross training.

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My Wing Chun Wooden Dummy
My Wing Chun Wooden Dummy
We never gave a second thought as to whether the treadmill would fit down the narrow stairway. Let's just say the treadmill will be in this gym the rest of its life.
We never gave a second thought as to whether the treadmill would fit down the narrow stairway. Let’s just say the treadmill will be in this gym the rest of its life.
The Wine Cellar
The Wine Cellar

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4 thoughts on “Room by Room Revival: the Gym and Wine Cellar

    1. It has been non-stop although we’re nearing the end (good news for everyone! haha). Waiting on window treatments for the office and dining room, although the dining room is the stubborn, uncooperative room of this house and may never find itself reveal-ready. :))

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