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Maybe we’re getting smarter about houses. Instead of assuming we’ll be able to move to a more accommodating space as age and physical infirmities catch up with us, more Americans are adapting their existing homes or designing new ones with the realities of old age in mind.
Accessible design covers a wide swath. Curb-free showers big enough to handle a wheelchair, entryways that incorporate low-slope ramps, and even residentially sized elevators all are potential if not fairly obvious features.
But an equally important design element is the built-in flexibility allowing the house to change right along with our needs, even if we can’t foresee exactly what they will be.
And while accessible or universal designs seem to be aimed mainly at older or disabled people, they also make the house more appealing and more useful for folks of all sizes and ages.
Building new means thinking ahead
Bob and Sharon O’Brien’s home outside Ithaca, N.Y., is a good example of how advance planning can pay off years down the road.
Their four must-have features included accessibility, low maintenance, energy efficiency, and easy day-to-day living.
To read the rest of the story: http://www.finehomebuilding.com/item/20282/designing-and-building-homes-that-stay-accessible/page/all
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We continue to hear that the average square footage of homes in the U.S. is shrinking and many buyers, especially the baby boomers, are considering down-sizing. Does that mean we’re finished building large homes? Certainly not. However, rather than building homes that are either too big or too small, we need to build them just the right size.
Instead of creating homes with multiple specific-use areas, such as formal dining rooms and isolated media rooms, consider the fact that many buyers are attracted to more flexible designs that include the home theater in the family room and a dining room that doubles as a craft area or library. Instead of a dedicated study, buyers are going with a compact resource center or pocket office with a laptop computer, desk, and file drawers.
Overall, right-sizing a house requires floor plans with smarter traffic flow, flexible spaces, and overall efficiency in both material and energy use. The House Review design team presents an array of homes that range from relatively small cottages to larger, more luxurious designs. However, each has been right-sized to be very efficient and functional, while maintaining a great deal of curb appeal and interior design flair.