Friday, March 30, 2012

Single Floor Living - The New Normal

Do you know what the current real estate trend for the baby boomer generations and their aging parents is?  I can give you a clue - it doesn’t include stairs. Give up?  It is single floor living.   

In many subdivisions throughout the country where land is plenty, the multi-story home has been the popular floor plan, built several feet above grade.  However, city dwellers typically reside in three to four levels due to the scarcity of land.  These many levels have many stairs that are often steep without a functional handrail. Perhaps this was avant garde when built, but as these residents age their physical abilities become restricted.  

As all of us age, we are figuring out that negotiating stairs can pose problems.  For many seniors who suffer from arthritis, maintaining their balance and cardio-related symptoms suddenly find the traditional multi-story homes not only exhaustive but quite inconvenient.  And, whether it is one flight or multiple flights of stairs, they can limit mobility of many. 

What are the options for this demographic?  Many empty-nesters are considering a smaller, one level home for simplicity.  Those that wish to remain in their multi-level home can modify the current arrangements of rooms that will accommodate their physical limitations.  Consider converting the main-floor family room to master suite.  The same can be done with first-floor bathrooms.  Laundry rooms can be easily transferred to the main living area, reducing the need for carrying heavy laundry baskets up and down stairs. 

Single level living is quickly becoming the new normal for baby boomers and their parents.  Through thoughtful planning and consulting with an Aging in Place contractor, simple modifications in existing homes and condominiums can make a significant difference. Imagine your parents being able to remain in their home while living their daily lives without having to trudge up the stairs?  Everyone will have peace of mind knowing that they are safe and happy.

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© Architecturally Speaking 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012

Will your house look like this?

An interesting piece on how much glass plays a role in our everyday lives.

Watch and tell us what you think!

A day made of glass - Corning Glass

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© Architecturally Speaking 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012

Aging In Place catching on!

The Archdiocese recently recognized a shift from nursing homes to managed care at home. With a decline of 350 nursing homes over the past six years and the New York Archdiocese closing two of its nursing homes in favor of opening seven adult daycare facilities, the elder care industry is embracing Aging-In-Place as the cost effective and beneficial solution to the high cost of traditional managed care.This will have an enormous effect on many industries such as the real estate, home building/remodeling and private managed care industries.

Will the government step up and support, through Medicare/Medicaid and other subsidies, those looking to reduce costs of their care?

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© Architecturally Speaking 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What's in your attic?

Antique door knob
With spring soon upon us, many use this season to clean up basements, garages, attics and any other spaces that need organizing.  Instead of throwing some of your forgotten attic treasures, junkyard finds or discount store overstock in the trash, hold on to them.  Yes, I said, hold on to them. 

Many of these items can be re-purposed into stylish d├ęcor that can spruce up your existing home, condo or apartment.   How many times have you found precious items with a design that you love, but don’t know what to do with it or how to incorporate into your current home style? 

For years, I have been fascinated by discarded industrial or commercial fixtures and the endless possibilities for their new purpose.  Perhaps it is my frugalness from my college days, but I have always tried to find innovative ways to transform traditional items into something else.

$15 Close-out vase found at Homegoods
I had found a black and stainless steel payphone stand (quite old school) and turned it into a bedroom valet stand complete with compartments for watches and jewelry, a rack for suits slacks and other clothing.  The hardest part was figuring out how to get it home from the flea market since I only owned a bicycle.

Fast forward to now, and I am still refurbishing trinkets and oddball pieces of furniture.  My most recent project involved turning a contemporary mosaic glass vase into a hanging lamp fixture.  As you can see, it serves this space well as an affordable yet interesting lighting option. 

Enclosed are some architectural artifacts
Other projects I have done in recent past have been converting a vintage pulley wheel into a coffee table where I simply had the glass cut to fit what is now the base of this vintage piece of furniture.  By placing a plywood base underneath the wheel I was able to create a shadow box to showcase additional artifacts. The industrial casters allow the table to be moved with just a push of a knee. Other fun ideas include salvaging antique door knobs (easily findable at antique stores) and drilling them onto finished wood that can serve as coat hooks, drawer pulls or depending upon the size as a great way to hang jewelry.

Do you have something in your attic, basement or garage waiting to be re-purposed?

Please comment and share your ideas, photos or successes.

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© Architecturally Speaking   2012