Thursday, September 30, 2010

Aging in Place and Universal Design

Is it possible to make a space that is "universally" designed look like this? I think it is! The project at right was completed way back in about 2000, and it wasn't specifically designed for someone with disabilities. I've learned a lot since then!

We have a current client in her late 60s who wants both the contemporary look and universal design. I'm thrilled! We have consistently encouraged our clients to think about the long term. It isn't very expensive to plan a home with accessability for limited ambulation in mind. What can be expensive is remodeling a home to accommodate a walker, scooter, or wheelchair! And something like a skiing accident can limit the mobility of even the most active adult.

Our client has come to us to remodel a home that she just purchased to make it possible for her to age in place - this will be the last home she plans to purchase. She will be able to live in this home, surrounded by familiar and personal posessions in the event she can no longer care for herself. Her house won't force her to live in an "institution." We are addressing universal design - design for everyone - in her remodelling project.

  1. Her spare bedrooms are being planned as a suite for a future live-in caregiver
  2. Her master bedroom and bath are being refitted with accessible shower, exercise machine, accessible toilet, closet, lavatories - the works - and it will be beautiful, too!
  3. Her kitchen will accommodate a scooter and planned for maximum efficiency for the work flow
  4. Flooring: we are considering how to plan for the tripping hazard that area rugs can cause

Watch for more posts about this project as we progress!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rid of Cookbook Clutter

I'd love to get rid of all my cookbooks and replace them with this. I have 2 exceptions however.
I have my maternal grandmother's Betty Crocker cookbook from the 1950s with her hand written notes. My grandmother, Eva Lewis, was a wonderful cook. She managed kitchens for a nursing home and an elementary school before she retired. Even after she retired, my family would have dinner at her house every Wednesday evening. She wasn't a fancy cook, but an old fashioned southern cook - she gardened and we would have home grown fried squash, home grown creamed corn, scalloped potatoes - this list goes on. I cherish that cookbook - it contains so many family memories around the dinner table - and I hope my son carries on memories of his own. I really miss both of my grandmothers. They were both incredibly strong and wonderfully loving. I strive to be so much like each of them - and I catch a glimpse of them from time to time.

The other exception is the 3-ring binder that was my mother's. It's actually quite a mess - but that's why I love it. Mother scrounged sheet protectors from my interior design students' project binders that they never picked up after grading. Mom was the queen of reuse before it was fashionable. The recipes it contains were cut from the newspaper and are hand-written scraps that she saved and some that were my grandmother's.

As cool as this multi-media home tablet PC is - it could never compare to my hand-me-down recipes!

Thursday, September 16, 2010