November-December 2018 | Home & Garden

Designed for Fitness

Inside three local home gyms

share this
Larry and Warrenetta Baker wanted a large space in their home to be fun and kid-friendly. Larry built the climbing wall with plywood panels and climbing holds. Photo by Greg Powers.


Climbing the Walls

Step into Larry and Warrenetta Baker’s home in the Palisades neighborhood of Bethesda and the first large room to the right will not be filled with art or a grand piano, as it was with the previous owners. There is no dining room table or even a couch.

Instead, the room, with its 22-foot-tall vaulted ceiling, has a climbing wall, regulation height (10-foot) basketball hoop and a bare heart pine floor.

“We are not into fancy entertaining,” says Warrenetta, a corporate tax attorney. “We wanted the space to be fun. We set it up to be kid-friendly.”

The Bakers created the indoor fitness area in their contemporary home in 2011, when their sons were young. Larry, a retired attorney, built the climbing wall, using plywood panels with climbing holds. The panels are secured to the studs but can be rearranged into different configurations to adjust the level of difficulty. On snowy days when their dead-end street was among the last to be plowed and the kids were stuck inside, the climbing wall was a big draw.

“Boy heaven,” Larry says, echoing the words his parents used when referring to the house, which also has a foosball table, pool table and pingpong table on the main level.

Although their sons are now 19 and 23, the climbing wall is still used. “My personal trainer recommended some stretches for me to do on it,” Warrenetta says.

Originally, most walls in the house were beige. When the Bakers installed the climbing wall and basketball hoop, they chose colors with a playful vibe. “It was a big open space with lots of angles and freestanding walls,” says Debbie Wiener, owner of Designing Solutions in Silver Spring, who helped Warrenetta transform the space. “She wanted fun, and I felt the colors fit her personality.” They chose Benjamin Moore’s Jalapeño Pepper green for the climbing wall and Salsa Dancing red for the wall behind the basketball hoop.