With health and fitness at the forefront of our search for a better life balance, it’s no wonder that clients are earmarking parts of their new homes (not to mention the budget) to dedicated spaces that will enhance not only their physical but also their spiritual wellbeing. Where perhaps their lives are emotionally ‘noisy’ and their jobs are stressful, these dedicated spaces within the sanctuary of their home will bring calm and inner peace.
So what is ‘wellness’? According to Pfizer, ‘Wellness is the act of practicing healthy habits on a daily basis to attain better physical and mental health outcomes, so that instead of just surviving, you’re thriving.’ With the 5 most accepted principles being physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual. As one of London’s top interior design studios, we have the enviable opportunity of getting deeply involved in the design and implementation of areas and rooms that will help our clients build on this aesthetic. It permits us to stay up to date with the most current trends allowing us to provide clients with a considered and detail focused design.
The most obvious wellness space is a fitness room or gym. This room will usually house a combination of free weight options including barbells and dumbbells as well as mechanical equipment such as running machines and treadmills. Although there is no formula, the layout is pretty straight forward. Machines should face a mirror so that the exercisee can concentrate on their form; if they are lucky enough to have a gym with large windows overlooking the countryside, well that’s even better. They can concentrate on form whilst having the countryside reflection as their view. If you are lucky enough to have more space, then the world is your oyster. You can add a pole dancing pole, a ceiling suspended boxing punch bag…the list is endless.
The ultimate wellness space design would also include some specialist ancillary rooms like a Bikram yoga room (heated)! Think also sauna, steam room, Hammam, an ice room, a caldarium (for resting between the Sauna and the steam room), a massage room and beauty salon! All of these spaces provide a small part of a bigger health regimen.
The sauna originated in Scandinavia (probably Finland) and started out life as a hole in the ground with a centrally located fire and would have been used as homes in winter. They have come a long way since then and now have electrically heated stones and scented timber interiors evoking the smells of the forest. The trick of the sauna is the water! Where dry temperatures could be too high for people to tolerate, the evaporated water (steam) regulates the humidity and allows the experience to be a lot more pleasant while still allowing you to perspire and expel the toxins in the body. Anyone who has spent time in a steam room on the other hand, will immediately see benefits to the skin. Moisture helps the skin to look refreshed and dewy in the short term, but the benefits don’t end there. Moist heat may help relieve symptoms of colds and congestion (especially when combined with eucalyptus oil) and people with sore muscles often feel relief after sitting for a few minutes in a steam room. Of course the ultimate wellness space will also include a therapy room where one can have a massage, have your hair done, have someone attend to your nails and any number of the more up to date therapies such as ‘light therapy’.
Planning and designing the space is really important because getting power points for equipment in place and having good lighting design are paramount in achieving a seamless and uncluttered surrounding. Knowing whether the power cable to a bike is at the front of the back of the equipment will aid in locating the floor (or wall mounted) socket. In terms of lighting, spotlights should be rejected in favour of diffused lighting which will not glare down on you while you are on a mat facing the ceiling. Install dimmable circuits to ensure you benefit from brighter light while energising and softer light while practising yoga or Pilates.
Shower areas are an integral part of the exercise experience and there are many good quality fixtures and fittings available. Research will ensure you find exactly the right brassware for your needs including a rain shower, a club shower as well as stimulating body jets. You should also have a hand held shower not only for washing hair but to rinse down the cubicle after use. And don’t forget Chroma therapy!
Decorations also play a vital role in wellness design so choosing colours and textures that fulfil the essence of the space will take some thought. Finishes should be durable with mosaics and ceramic tiles the order of the day in the wet areas while ‘wipeable’ surfaces such as water resistant paint or vinyl wall covering are good solutions for the gym. Also make sure your choices don’t absorb the smells in the room and ensure areas such as the gym are well ventilated with a top mechanical system. Perhaps try out the new paint Graphenstone that literally absorbs smells!