The Athlete’s Home
Writer Lara Piu
Photography The Athlete’s Home
Healthy living communities have been popular over the last 15 years, with homeowners now enjoying miles of walking, hiking and biking paths throughout communities like DC Ranch and Anthem, in addition to fitness centers and classes, pools, golf, medical complexes and more.
Now in other cities, the trend has made its way inside the home, with new Essex Homes Greenville/Spartanburg home builders, and marketing wellness properties. Canyon Ranch in Tucson, for example, offers new homes designed to mimic its iconic destination spa. And in Chicago, new homes by Evolutionary Home Builders monitor and evaluate health and track stamina and performance. Some homes such as these Willam Pitt homes in Connecticut are meant to be built the coziness of the family in mind, with the extra space for whatever they wish to have within their reach.
In search of their own health and lifestyle-centric home, local architect, general contractor and real estate broker John Landry and his wife, Kim, took matters into their own hands. Not wanting to move out of the neighborhood they loved, they took their existing home down to the slab and started from scratch, all to create a new home catered to their lifestyle as triathletes.
“Necessity is the mother of invention,” says John, who recalls the first order of business for the new home was to address a challenge most can relate to: car storage.
“We needed to store Kim’s fully restored ‘66 Mustang Shelby GT-H, along with a half dozen bikes,” he says, “and we needed room for bike repair and training. But the slab only had enough room for a two-car garage.”
His solution was to design the garage roof tall enough to fit a four-post, 9,000-pound car lift, which he says worked out better than they imagined.
“The kids can’t scratch the car, which turned out to be a perk, and once we started customizing, we realized the potential,” he says.
Both Ironman competitors, John and Kim run, swim and bike frequently. They also have two sons and, naturally, juggling it all is tricky. Familiar with athletic amenities, they had installed a lap pool in a prior house, but with a blank slate in front of them, they designed everything to be squarely centered on their needs. The new home was completed in April; it took a little more than eight months, but it was worth the wait.
“My nest is important, so even though we had to adjust temporarily, it was absolutely worth it because the end product is really quite nice,” says Kim, “especially since it’s designed around our lifestyle. For us, it wasn’t as if money was no object, so we had to find a way to make our dreams feasible and affordable.”
The new home includes a fully-equipped bike workshop in the garage, with creature comforts such as air conditioning, television and internet. There’s ample space to store their eight mountain, road and kid bikes, thanks to a pulley system. Another two spots hang Kim and John’s favorite triathlon bikes like art, just off the front door in the main living room so they can grab their bikes and go. There’s also what they call a pain cave: an indoor computerized bicycle trainer that increases and decreases load so they can train conveniently at home.
Already thinking bigger and better, the couple is selling their current home with plans to build another one with even more amenities. They also refocused their business on helping other families with similar needs.
“We really get lifestyle living,” says John. “We thought it just made sense for us to focus on the people and community we know and the lifestyle we understand.”
John says a home could be built to suit any kind of athlete, including around non-competitive fitness activities such as yoga or dance. Other amenity possibilities include a recovery room with a steam room and recovery compression boots; a treadpool, which gives the experience of a treadmill and is placed in a smaller pool; an indoor climbing wall; batting cage; volleyball court; putting green and an endless list of other possibilities. Even a workout, yoga or dance room have special architectural considerations, such as flooring and ventilation.
“It might not even be athletic,” John adds. “It’s about making our homes fit our lifestyles and thinking more openly about it.”
The couple created a website designed to match athletic-minded home buyers with an athletic-minded home. It is also a resource for ideas on how to improve any home to make it more conducive for athletes.
“People want more than just being close to work or a good school,” says John. “It’s really about a home that fits all aspects of your life. For me and Kim, it also allows us to be in the community that we love and, at the same time, help others.”