As we approach the anniversary of the COVID-19 arrival in New York and the subsequent shutdown, it is no surprise that one area of the home that rose in importance was the workout room.
The pandemic forced gyms to shutter for months, causing people to either find new ways to exercise at home or pack on the pounds (The COVID-15 is real!). While realtors worked over time in 2020 to find people fleeing New York City for the Hamptons, one of the most requested amenities on buyers’ wish lists has been personal space to workout.
“One of the not so surprising phenomena of COVID-19 is the resurgence of home gyms,” says Gary DePersia of The Corcoran Group, one of the top brokers dealing in luxury real estate on the South Fork.
The popularity of home gym technology, such as the Peloton, has made it easier than ever for heart-pumping exercise routines, but few Hamptons homeowners settle for sweaty spin classes in their living room. They want well-appointed, dedicated spaces with room for their equipment of choice, not to mention large flat-screen televisions and mirrors.
“When gyms closed in March, many who counted themselves avid gym-goers scrambled to either improve their existing home gyms or create new ones from scratch, which is what I did myself,” he explains. “I couldn’t imagine a world where I didn’t work out most days so within several weeks I transformed my garage into my own personal GDP Gym Corp, with everything I needed to continue my workouts unabated, eventually adding a 60-inch TV, Sonos [wireless sound system] and a through the wall heat/ air conditioning unit.”
“And I’ve seen many people do the same thing,” he continues. “This past spring one of the first things one of my buyers did, in April when he closed, was turn one of his two garages into a sensational gym. But there were so many such stories that it created a huge void within the home gym industry that is just catching up today.”
Noted mid-century architect Alfred Scheffer designed the recently renovated the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath guest house at 26 Windmill Lane in East Hampton so that there was a designated place to get a workout in.
And even with the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccines and reopening of gyms, home-based workouts don’t appear to be going away. According to a RunRepeat survey, “home fitness is growing explosively amongst active Americans and gym members.” The three fastest-growing trends going into 2021 were at-home fitness equipment, which was up 49.6%, personal trainers/nutritionists, up 47.5%, and online fitness courses, classes and subscriptions, up 16.8%.
“At-home fitness equipment is the second most popular trend with 16.7% of adults seeing it as their best way to stay fit,” the report states, in comparison to the 8.2% of adults that chose gyms.
It’s no wonder that home gyms are such an integral part of new builds. At the ultra-modern oceanfront home at 115 Beach Lane in Wainscott, listed with DePerisa for $49.5 million, the expansive gym will likely get the most use. It is an inviting space with a wall of glass that any gym junkie will covet.
“The western ‘pavilion’ is a two-tiered compilation of five-bedroom suites, a recreational room, pool bath and a four-car garage,” the listing states. “A separate staircase descends to an expansive gym looking out to the grounds and augmented by [a] spa bath with steam and sauna.”
It’s not just buyers who are demanding home gyms. “In fact, it’s become one of the most sought- after amenities in rentals as well,” DePersia says.
Judi Desiderio, the CEO of Town & Country Real Estate, agrees, noting that it is practically a necessity given the sudden change in lifestyle brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Home gyms are a must have for those buying and working and schooling remotely,” she says. “Staying active when confined to home is mandatory for one’s physical mental and emotional well-being.”
Gone are the days when a few dumbbells and a flimsy piece of “As Seen on TV” gym equipment are shoved into a dark corner.
“No more basements with no doors and windows,” Desiderio says. “The best home gyms have plenty of natural light, large enough for two people comfortably and private adjacent rooms for massage acupuncture or other wellness treatments.”
The home gym at 675 Paul’s Lane in Bridgehampton — listed at $15.95 million with Town & Country — checks all the boxes. Located on the second floor, it is prominently on display as vitally part of the home behind two glass doors. A slanted glass ceiling makes it one of the most light-filled spaces in the home.
With home gyms like these, who wouldn’t want to get fit?
This article appeared in the February 2021 issue of Behind The Hedges.