You have raised the kids and now they are up and out. Or perhaps you have enjoyed a long and rewarding career and have hung up your stethoscope, hammer, or computer mouse for new adventures. Congratulations, like it or not, have earned the title of Empty Nester! If you are like many other Empty Nesters, this new lifestyle has changed your priorities. Instead of living in a certain school district in a home with multiple bedrooms and a big back yard with a swing set, or instead of an apartment in a high-rise with easy access to your corporate world, you can now live in a home that fits the new you!
Many of our clients who are Empty Nesters prioritize quality design, materials, and workmanship. They typically prefer materials and finishes that are more durable and require less maintenance. Often, Empty Nesters want a small home that is easier to care for with ample storage and rooms where they can explore their interests. Many also want a place for their kids or guests to stay when they visit. Travel is often in the future for our Empty Nesters so a home that naturally maintains a more consistent temperature and is easier to leave is also desirable.
Many of our Empty Nesters do not ever want to move again! Universal design, single story, no steps, wider doorways, and more space in bathrooms and hallways, gives you the security that you can “age in place” should mobility issues develop. A home with abundant, natural day lighting makes it easier to see your projects, and super insulation and attention to acoustics makes it easier to hear as the years go by.
Finding an existing home with these qualities is even harder than finding your reading glasses. The best way to get exactly what you want and need is to build your own, custom-designed home that exactly fits your personal, Empty Nester lifestyle. Customize your work surfaces and counter heights to fit your size so that they are easy on your back. A floor with some “give” is more comfortable on legs that have some miles on them, and finishes that are easy to clean save work and precious time. The list goes on.
We work with our Empty Nesters to design a home that functions beautifully for their activities. A green home with natural daylighting, small heating and cooling loads and an efficient, functional design is more comfortable, cozier, healthier, and costs less to operate. Moreover, it is more sustainable and will be a much better long-term value and an excellent investment.
After decades of hard work giving to others, a thoughtfully designed home that truly meets your needs for now and forever could be your well deserved reward. Embrace the term Empty Nester, if you can, because this custom home design approach could be perfect for you!
Universal home design refers to barrier-free living that offers easy access for all people with and without disabilities. If you are planning to build your retirement home, consider incorporating universal design features from the beginning so you may continue to live comfortably in your home even if you develop mobility issues or other disabilities in the future. A friend or relative who comes to visit may also appreciate your universal home design features.
Universal Home Design Ideas:
- wider doorways that can accommodate wheelchairs
- cabinets with pull-out shelves
- kitchen counters at several heights to accommodate different tasks and postures
- lever handles instead of knobs
- smooth, ground-level entrances without stairs
- bathrooms with grab bars and easy access to the commode
- a commode that is the correct height
- bathroom sinks with wheel chair access
- extra room to navigate in hallways and small spaces with a wheel chair
Universal home design elements that help with difficulties in hearing or sight can often be added after a home is built. Kitchen cabinets and counters can be remodeled for those in wheelchairs, but certain design elements are best designed from the beginning because they are difficult, costly, and sometimes impossible to change later. These include wider doorways, elimination of stairs, and extra space for wheel chairs in hallways and in smaller rooms such as bathrooms.
If you have not yet chosen your building site and you would like to stay in your home forever, then universal home design should be a strong consideration. Choosing a flat site, if possible, will make everything easier, and less expensive.
You can get a lot more information about universal home design online. This is a large and growing area of interest and new concepts are being developed all the time. We think it is better to address universal design in your home plan and never need it, than the other way around!