Is your family approaching a transitional stage in the lifecycle of home ownership? Perhaps the kids have already moved out, or your “nest” is nearly empty with the youngest heading to college this fall. Maybe you’re planning ahead for a living space that would be more accessible and comfortable should your mobility someday become limited. These are just a few of the reasons couples choose to modify their existing homes to meet their evolving needs, or ‘age in place’, rather than purchase someplace new.
Where the Heart Is
Many people have spent years making memories in their homes, and have grown to be deeply connected to their neighbors and the community. So instead of uprooting and leaving their home’s rich history for a new property, couples are seizing the opportunity to transform their beloved homes into spaces that fit their specific immediate and long-term needs. The solution may involve optimizing existing space by reconfiguring the layout and incorporating a user-friendly residential elevator, or it may be adding more ground-level square footage in a style that complements the home’s architecture.
A “Suite” Addition
The most common “aging in place” project involves adding a more-accessible master suite to the main level of the home. This convenient change allows a couple to go about their day-to-day living without having to navigate stairs for cooking, bathing or doing laundry, while still having ample space upstairs for visiting children and guests. When managed correctly, this type of remodeling project is relatively unobtrusive and allows the family to remain living in their home during construction with minimal disruption.
Details that Matter
When planning a renovation ensure there is enough space, especially when a person with a wheelchair or walker is involved. Creating a five-foot turning radius with wider doorways, hallways and open areas, can greatly improve maneuverability for someone with limitations but also feels a bit more spacious for the active family. Other popular requests with noted value include appliances with lever doors, varied countertop heights, and minimal steps through passageways. And large curb-less showers with grab bars and hand-held shower heads are common features even for families without disabled loved ones. Additionally, first-floor laundry facilities and outdoor ramps also add convenience to the new space if needed. It’s a reality that many people will endure some kind of temporary mobility challenge in their life, perhaps from surgery rehabilitation or an accident, so it makes sense to design your home in a practical, universal way to accommodate such unpredictable circumstances. But, with all of these changes, it is important the project is well designed and executed to complement the look and feel of your home and ensure your satisfaction.
In instances when a small lot or zoning restrictions hamper the ability to add on square footage for a master suite or other room, there are alternative options to help a family stay in their home. There may be seldom-used space on the first floor that can be reconfigured into a cozy master suite thanks to the expert eye of a skilled design-build team. Working with a partner who is accountable for the project from conception through completion helps to make sure your needs are met with the optimal solution and that the renovation process is seamless for a family on-the-go. Transforming a home to accommodate your later-year needs allows you to create a place that is easier to manage and maneuver without having to give up the opportunity to reminisce or surrender the cherished role of hosting distant family and friends.