The Exercise Room

I have one “before” photo of this room, which actually makes it look more cheerful than it was. This was the bedroom of the previous owners. The man died in the 1980’s, I think, and his wife died a couple of years before I bought the house — in this room, I believe. There was a nurse’s call button still plugged ino the wall, though the room was otherwise empty. The entire house had issues, but this room in particular was drab and dark. The paint and wallpaper looked to be decades old. The pictures on the wall took the form of pinned magazine photos. Though the entire house was neglected, in this room you could smell poverty.

We are talking about my first visit to the house, almost exactly seven years ago. Robert had died in our California bedroom only months before. There was no bedside button. I called the paramedics, who did their best, to no avail. I was still coming to terms with living without him. So, walking into this room, where a woman slept without her beloved for decades until she died in apparent destitution, well, it hit me pretty hard. The whole house needed work. This room needed an antidote.

Thus the pink paint. I tend to favor saturated and grayed colors. Here, no, it had to be bright. So, bright it is. Since then my challenge has been to tone it down with the brown of the sofa and floorboards and the blues of the carpet and reformer. I’m auditioning that lithograph right now. The colors are right and it’s a strong image. I just don’t know whether it is strong enough to hold that entire wall.

Thus too the choice of this room for the exercise equipment I brought from California. I found the vibe in this room to be too disturbing to put guests here and anyway, the stuff had to go somewhere. Why not the room that needs to be livened up?

The place is pretty well equipped. I have a rowing machine, a TV to distract me from the boredom of rowing, a Pilates reformer, a DVD player with way too many exercise DVDs, a yoga mat and props, hand weights, a balance ball, a medicine ball and miscellaneous books and other stuff. Yes, I do sometimes use it, generally in winter when going outside is not fun. I also have my meditation altar here, right where the bed used to be; I try not to think about it.

That’s basically the story of this room. It still has a different feel from the rest of the house, though no longer a problematic one. It is quite practical and peaceful. I have read that pink is calming and it does seem to be the case. This is no longer a difficult room to be in at all. Jacques seem fine with it.

12 thoughts on “The Exercise Room

  1. Oh come on, ‘fess up. Those are not exercise machines, they are clothes holders. Blouses on the upright thing-a-ma-jig, slacks on the the long low whatchamacallit, I see the shoes are already on the couch and M. Jacques has the expression “I like visiting this other closet, Dog Mo even if that red ball is a little big for me.” Anyway, harassment aside, I like the wall color. On my monitor (of the large and rather Chinese made variety) it almost looks a very pale lavender. Terrific floors- that must have taken some refinishing effort. As to accessories, affiant sayeth not – above my paygrade but any workout room need beaucoup mirrors to admire all that sweat as it drips down on that very nice floor. Maybe a plant would like to live there with you?


    1. I kill plants, remember? They only live because Julien keeps an eye on them. Since he rarely comes in the house, even a cactus would expire. The room could use a little more on the walls. I do keep exercise clothes in there — sharp eyes or a huge monitor to spot those — mainly because I’m so lazy that I wouldn’t climb a flight of stairs to change if that’s what it takes to work out. That or I’d misplace the shoes. Guest rooms next. I’ll tell you about the floors.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It looks like a happy room to me, so you’ve definitely succeeded in changing the atmosphere. Love the sofa too. We had something very similar by de Sede in the last house but in darker leather.


    1. This sofa is by Cassina. It was planned for the living room but plans change. I bought it early on. Now I think I’d choose something better scaled to the high ceilings. It’s a good room on dark days, especially when it rains so hard we close the shutters. I just need to find a few more things for the walls. That’s a tough room to photograph — almost square with lots to see but no real focal point. It functions well, though.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Something like that would work really well. It’s a clear, unified geometry and set of images. At the same time the images are not so strong that they overpower the space. Normally I do very little planning. I buy what I like and count on my taste remaining consistent to make everything look intentional. But I have an idea that will require the collaboration of my framer and a friend who is a genius at photoshop. Time to talk to the genius, see what he thinks. Thanks! When the wall is done, I promise an update.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Reading about the demise of the last owner reminded me of the previous owner of our last house in France.. A philosopher and writer she died alone in poverty in a house that she had reduced to two habitable rooms. I felt so depressed at the memory that I could not teply to your post.
    You have clearly removed the vibes…but don’t tell me Jacques uses those insturments of torture.


    1. That’s even hard to read. I grew up poor, thinking a college degree would assure a decent job. Then I graduated during what then was the worst recession since 1929 crash. So no, it didn’t help. Obviously things turned around, but it took years. I actually thought about it before I moved here. This country seems to have a bit of a tradition of letting women die in destitution. There is Violetta and all the real-life discarded courtesans. Josephine Baker. Hazel Scott, a Juilliard-trained pianist who had a thriving career until Joseph McCarthy destroyed it. She died in Paris. There are plenty more, of course. It’s kind of a scary tradition and I have no interest in taking part in it.

      Jacques actually loves the reformer. I do a lot of the exercises on my back. That little platform slides back and forth. So as I work out he lays on my chest and goes for a little ride.


Comments are closed.