What adjustments are you planning to make in your home to ensure your long-term comfort and safety?
For many of us, when it comes to our homes, the “Game of Life” plays out in two halves. The first being when we’re in growth mode: building careers, raising families and adding on. The focus is usually short-term or immediate. Perhaps we’ve just moved into a home that needs major changes to suit our active lifestyle. Or, growing children now crave a space of their own. Or we’re trying to create the “neighborhood destination,” a great indoor or outdoor space to keep our family and friends close by.
The second half of the game often includes considering options for the future as kids head off to college or we’re looking towards retirement. Perhaps this is the time to update your kitchen or bath, reclaim a space for your favorite hobby or otherwise make changes to ensure your long-term comfort and safety in your home. While the concept of Universal Design certainly applies to projects at all stages of life, it is often most relevant to “second-half” projects.
Universal Design is an approach to space planning and material selections that allows for the widest use of a space by those of varied ages and abilities. As we discuss projects that will allow us to stay in the homes we love for years to come, these principles are critical to ensuring long-term comfort, usability, and safety.
Some of the features asked for by clients that reflect their desires to stay in their home are comfort-height counters at kitchen islands and bathroom vanities. In kitchens, we’re providing steam ovens to promote healthier food preparation, small wine fridges for safe access and instant hot water units for making tea and hot cereal on demand. In our bathrooms, attractive shower benches and multiple grab bars are installed for safety and convenience.
We also see an interest in residential elevators for easy access and a surge in demand for whole house generators for reliable energy. While emergency generators are obviously great for comfort and convenience, sometimes there is a medical need, where the client requires access to working medical equipment in their home at all times. Or perhaps the generator is necessary to protect a prized investment, such as valuable art, furnishings or a wine collection. Some of these items are so sensitive that their value could suffer if they were to be without conditioned air in extreme months. The good news is there are now generator systems available that allow for safe, efficient, and relatively quiet performance that pass the most stringent Home Owner Association rules and regulations (we know from experience).
So, if you are considering how you can create a home that will serve you well as you age in place, call BOWA first. I’d welcome the opportunity to create a plan for you that will allow you to enjoy your cherished residence in comfort and safety for years to come.
Tim Burch is a Vice President of BOWA, an award-winning design, and construction firm specializing in renovations ranging from master suites and kitchens to whole-house remodels. A Northern Virginia native and third-generation builder, Tim enjoys calling on his 30 years of design-build experience to solve clients’ home-related challenges. He is the Construction Advisor for The Mosby Heritage Area Association and sits on the Board of Building Appeals for Fauquier County. Prior to joining BOWA, Tim was the Lead Project Manager of Construction for the Emmy Award winning construction reality television show, Extreme Makeover Home Edition on ABC Television. For more information on Tim and the BOWA team, visit www.bowa.com or call 540-687-6771.