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In 2009, Akin Akman moved to New York City without an address of his own. He spent the first few months crashing on his cousin’s couch before moving on to live with four roommates and eventually his siblings. Fast-forward a decade and a half: He has bought the apartment of his dreams in Manhattan, carved out his niche on the fitness scene, and won over almost a million followers on TikTok. “I’m a big believer in manifesting,” he says. “I drew the view I was going to have…now I live on top of the Crunch studio where I used to teach.”

Custom Sofas; Yellow Pillows, Côte à Coast; White Linen Pillows, Jenni Kayne; Cardin Round Coffee Table and Cooper Hair-on-Hide Ottomans, RH. Artwork by Jenny Holzer.

Akman cofounded NoHo-headquartered workout studio AARMY at the end of 2019, after 10 years of coaching at Crunch, SoulCycle, and various other big-name outfits around the city. Stars like Karlie Kloss and Victoria Beckham fell hard for his upbeat, can-do attitude, helping Akman build a persistent buzz around his classes—both in person and online through his long-standing partnership with Lululemon and their digital workout accessory, Mirror.

Reclaimed Oak Plank Round Dining Table, RH; City Modern Dining Chairs, Ralph Lauren; Rug, Côte à Coast; Vintage Vase; Artwork by Andy Warhol.

Which means these days Akman is awake and working before sunrise. Even so, when he started looking for a larger solo space to call home, he had two nonnegotiables: lots of natural light and tall ceilings. “It just brings me inspiration and joy to wake up to the sun hitting my face, so I leave all my windows and shades open; I never shut anything,” he says, jokingly adding, “Although [sleeping in] only happens on weekends.” This two-bedroom penthouse in the heart of NoHo with a private rooftop felt like destiny, despite needing some work—it was nothing a renovation couldn’t solve. He’d stay in his rental until it was done, right? Wrong. 

Cabinetry, Italkraft.

As his move-in day neared, Akman adopted a sheepadoodle, a very good boy named Jimmy. Then the pandemic hit, the remodel ground to a halt…and his current apartment didn’t allow dogs. Akman found himself living in what was essentially a construction site. He and Jimmy slept on blankets on the floor and spent their days livestreaming workouts from the AARMY studio. “I had no doors, no kitchen, no anything. I didn’t have a mattress and I moved in,” Akman remembers.

Cashmere Striped Knit Blanket, James Perse; Carter Table Lamp and Ski Polo Bear Throw Pillow, Ralph Lauren; Stool, Côte à Coast.
Barton Bath Sconce, Ralph Lauren.

Three years later, Akman is finally able to enjoy his dream home. He describes his aesthetic as Mediterranean meets Ralph Lauren. This tracks, given all the vintage Ralph Lauren pieces—check out the oversize chair from 1stDibs—interspersed with custom, clean-lined furniture in natural materials, from the caramel leather sectional to the fumed-oak platform bed.

Bookcase, Italkraft.

The neutral pieces manage to blend seamlessly with even the most hyper-modern aspects of his home, like the pop-culture rendition of Superman over his dining room table and the all-black marble kitchen, which features a rolling ladder to access upper cabinets stocked with Tupperware, vases, and other extras. Akman credits one of his business partners, Trey Laird, for the push to go all in on an avant-garde cooking space. Even though it looks almost too nice to use, it’s as functional as any kitchen; Akman frequently whips up Turkish kofte, borek, and dolma here for himself and his family. 

Desk, RH; Lawson Arm Chair, Ralph Lauren; Rug, Côte à Coast; 55 Sunrises Artwork by Sho Shibuya for Saint Laurent.

Akman worked closely with his contractor and architects Dominic Kozerski and Mark Kolodziejczak on yet another custom feature in the living room: built-ins that house a concealed door leading to a second bedroom, which doubles as an office. Or should we say studio—it’s mainly where he feeds creative pursuits like painting and studying anatomy (and it sometimes moonlights as a playroom when his niece visits). “I’ve always wanted [a hidden door],” he explains. “I actually saw David Bowie’s SoHo apartment after he passed when it was for sale, and he had a bookshelf that led out to an outdoor stairwell.” Each detail seems deliberate, almost as though planned to the inch, but Akman laughs this away. “I never measure anything,” he says. “Everything you see here I just eyeballed and bought, and it always seems to work out.” And work out it has.