Two Rooms in One: A Guest Room and Workout Area


About the author: Brenna Malmberg is a writer for Houzz, which is a platform for home remodeling and design, bringing homeowners and home professionals together in a uniquely visual community.

Designers Reena Sotropa and Alanna Dunn met the owners of this condo as they were downsizing from a much larger house. Having given up quite a bit of square footage, the couple wanted every room in their new home to function well, and for some rooms to serve multiple purposes. The design duo started thinking creatively and decided that the yoga studio, which was a must-have space, would be a great room to sneak in more function.

Home workout room with large mirror and yoga mat

Phil Crozier, original photo on Houzz

Exercise and Guest Room at a Glance

Who lives here: A couple in their 60s who downsized from a 6,000-square-foot home to a condo

Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Size: 181 square feet (16.8 square meters)

Designers: Reena Sotropa, principal designer, and Alanna Dunn, senior interior designer, at Reena Sotropa In House Design Group

One of the clients avidly practices yoga, so the room’s first purpose was to serve as a workout area. They brainstormed with the client to make sure the room would have everything she needed: a cushioned floor, open and hidden storage, a TV for workout videos, and lots of open space.

Guest bedroom

Before photo, original photo on Houzz

BEFORE: The room served as a bedroom. Its colors were subdued, and it didn’t have much storage.

Yoga mat in bright home workout room

Mirror 3: Phil Crozier, original photo on Houzz

AFTER: Bright, colorful wallpaper now covers the ceiling. “We had thought about putting the wallpaper on the walls,” Sotropa says. “But then we thought about how the room would function. When you work out, you spend a lot of time lying down and looking at the ceiling. We knew it made more sense up there.”

The wallpaper was the inspiration for the rest of the room. They painted the walls white, created a blue window seat cushion, bought colorful yoga mats and covered the floor with a soft but firm rug. To ensure that the rug would work for yoga, the designers had the client test samples until they found one that provided the right support underfoot.

They also worked with a local millworker to create open and closed shelving throughout the room. The client needed space to store equipment, such extra mats and free weights. The weights fit in the drawers under the window seat. The drawers were engineered to hold the additional weight.

Bookshelf next to a Murphy bed

Phil Crozier, original photo on Houzz

The open shelves provide storage for the client’s collections, such as the yoga figurines found on her travels around the world.

Murphy bed folded down from a wall

Phil Crozier, original photo on Houzz

The room also transforms into a guest room. The designers worked with the local millworker and a custom framing company to create a Murphy bed behind the studio’s large mirror, shown in the first photo.

“This was the biggest challenge in the room because none of us had ever done anything like it before,” Sotropa says. “We all knew this was a great idea, but we didn’t know exactly how to do it. We had some great team players to make it possible.”

The millwork company used hardware from Murphy Wall-Beds to create the cabinetry for the bed. The mirror, which the framers secured to the bed’s underside, also acts as the pull-down handle. It easily comes down from the wall, creating an instant guest room.

The shelves by the sides of the bed also stick out an extra few inches on the bottom to serve as nightstands.

“I am really happy with how this room turned out,” Sotropa says. “We were able to make the room work for both purposes without sacrificing on function.”

Related links from Houzz:

workout room
guest room
yoga room


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