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Helix - Garden Gym and Storage - Harpenden

Client Name:



4.5m by 3.3m

Client Comments:

"Please pass on our thanks to everyone involved in helping to create the room”.


We all need some storage in our garden, for bikes, lawn mowers, tools etc. Many of us would also love a garden gym. This client wanted to achieve both within the same build. Given its primary function was as a gym, this studio required additional height to allow for gym equipment. Of course, once built, this studio will last a life time and so its role may change but initially the ability to keep fit without expending time and money going to a commercial gym was the driver for this project.

Our Solution

Building a studio within two metres of the boundary of a property, within permissible development, requires that the external height does not exceed 2.5 metres. Gyms require greater internal height than standard rooms in order to house and use the equipment. To achieve this we lowered the area of ground on which the building was sited, by 150millimetres, effectively countersinking the floor. Our client talked through his design aspirations and the functional features required with our designer. Creating a useful storage area accessible from a separate external door was important but in order not to compromise the look of the building this door was seamlessly clad to blend with the rest of the façade. The cladding was upgraded from thermowood to our kiln dried Western Red Cedar. A fabulous FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) product, with smooth even grain, deep honey colours, thermal and anti-fungal properties and aside from optional annual oiling, maintenance free. The stunning floor to ceiling glazing and French doors across the width of the gym, are in anthracite grey uPVC frames with high security locks. All our double glazing is A-rated argon filled with toughened glass as standard, so it enhances rather than compromises the high thermal efficiency afforded by the buildings SIPs (structured insulated panel) construction. Within the gym our client chose a wall mounted convector heater, down lighters (as opposed to strip lights), five double power sockets and aluminium blinds, which sit perfectly within the recess of the framework. Outside the normal ‘step up’ was extended to create a substantial decking area with a shallow roof overhang above housing five external down lighters and protecting the entrance from the elements. The additional decking in our non-slip composite material (65 thermowood / 35% plastic) effectively converts this functional gym into a garden feature that can be utilised when relaxing as well as working out!