Wellness by Design: The Fittest House

Wellness by Design: The Fittest House

In Montreal, Naturehumaine has designed a home that doubles as a gym – a very stylish one at that.

These days, at the top of most health trend lists is the short-burst, high-intensity workout using body weight as resistance – no sports equipment required. Fitbit activity trackers and online classes with a do-it-anywhere appeal are also taking the gym out of clubs and home basements and into the realm of offices and living rooms. It’s part of a greater movement toward a more holistic lifestyle, one that’s finding its way into residential and hotel design. 

This fall, the Zoku Amsterdam hotel will open with gymnastic rings hanging from the ceiling of its XL Loft guest rooms. In Montreal, local firm Naturehumaine, led by Stephane Rasselet, has worked the sporting life into the home environment with the In Suspension House. The firm retrofitted two floors of a three-storey storefront on Côte-des-Neiges Road to accommodate shared and private living quarters for two athletic siblings. By slicing through the ceiling, the designers opened up the space in three areas to create double-height rooms, a feature that made way for hanging a pair of the sculptural wooden rings. On a nearby wall, a steel workout bar invites impromptu chin‑up reps. 

Two large volumes that now house bathrooms and bedrooms are clad in minimally treated rugged (and rather sporty) Douglas fir plywood. Fitness is no longer hidden from view. Says Rasselet, “The exercise elements came together with the suspended boxes, so the concepts melded perfectly.” 

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