Options for Independent Living

Options for Independent Living

Live-in Caretaker

Design Basics 56564 Bauer CreekForbes reports that women have a 1 in 7 chance of celebrating their 95th birthday (sorry guys, you only have a 1 in 14 chance of blowing out 95 candles). Today’s longer lifespans, scattered families, and the desire for independence coupled with the fear and high cost of nursing homes has made live-in caretakers a viable option. Similarly, accident victims and wounded veterans may need around-the-clock aides, which, not surprisingly, are often parents moving in. Home plans like Scholz Designs® Bauer Creek plan 56564 are more than dual master suite homes, they really “live” independently for the caretakers with separate garages, entrances, and living spaces, plus direct connections from one side to the other.

Unrelated Adults

Design Basics House Plan 50039The median age of widowhood is 59.4 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011). After a lifetime together, it’s no surprise that many of these “suddenly single” widows (and widowers) desire homeownership AND companionship. They’ve told us they’re looking for separate owner’s suites with shared living spaces. Take Design Basics’ Tucker Terrace plan 50039. The owner’s suite and suite #3 achieve maximum separation for desired privacy, meaning neither individual needs to be annoyed by the other’s loud TV programming. The common entertaining space + sunroom + rear covered porch provide plenty of opportunities for togetherness. While more modest, suite #2 could accommodate a third companion.

Related Adults

Design Basics 50037 ToulouseParticularly due to the aging baby boomer generation, there is a growing number of households with siblings or sometimes cousins moving in together. In addition to the desire to be with family, we often hear this is out of economic necessity, such as a suddenly single widow or even older related couples wanting to split housing costs. Not surprisingly, these are two of the driving forces behind the surging popularity of plans with dual owner’s suites on the main floor such as Design Basics Toulouse plan 50037. Each of that design’s first floor bedrooms is generously sized for a couple. An important consideration for older homeowners, the Toulouse features a zero-threshold front entry, ensuring this home can welcome visitors of all abilities. Similarly, interior passage doors are at least 36″ wide, easily accommodating a walker or wheelchair. And the over-sized flex/hobby space off the garage entry has another welcome amenity – a shower stall; originally en-visioned for pet care, but equally adept as a wheelchair wash-off station.

Design Basics 24297 GarlandSpecial Needs

We recently spoke with a woman with a special needs teenage daughter that will likely be living with her mom for many years to come. This homebuyer wanted a home with an owner’s suite, a separate adjacent suite (so she could hear her daughter), a third bedroom for frequent guests, and a room for her home office – all in less than 1800 square feet. Our search narrowed to the Garland plan 24297, where bedroom #4 was a perfect fit for her and her daughter’s needs, and bedroom #2 being re-purposed as the home office she wanted.

Search more plans with multiple owner’s suites to find the one that fits your lifestyle.

Your Car will Thank You

Streets meander through the neighborhood. Curbs and sewers are already in place, as are young saplings hinting at the promise of beautiful tree-lined streets. This, the neighborhood you’re buying into. You’ve been planning this new home for years. Everything’s been selected, from the floor coverings to the lighting fixtures. No detail has been overlooked. Or so you thought. In the excitement of your dream home becoming a reality you didn’t notice. But your car did. That significant bump when you pull into your drive. In fact, low-slung cars can’t turn into your drive without bottoming out. It’s called a curb grind.

You just assumed that the end of your driveway would slope gently to the street level. But that costs extra money, and if it’s not in the specifications, it likely isn’t going to happen. The time to talk about a curb grind is not after the driveway has been poured—it’s too late at that point. The time is before your purchase agreement is signed!

The Air We Breathe

Most whole-home air purification systems utilize high-performance air filters installed in the home’s heating ductwork, which can be very effective at trapping airborne pollutants and allergens. Some systems go further, adding UV germicidal lights that can kill bacteria and germs in the air as that air passes by those lights. The limitation of such systems is that they are passive, treating only the air that passes through your heating/air conditioning system.

The next generation of indoor air purification is active rather than passive, neutralizing bacteria, mold, viruses, mildew, smoke, odors, and other contaminants throughout your home, even in air that doesn’t pass through the HVAC system. One such system is MicroPure® from Dust Free®. While this system also installs in the home’s HVAC system, MicroPure utilizes NASA-developed technology to naturally produce airborne “scrubbers,” circulated throughout the home through your ductwork that actively seek out and destroy pollutants in the air while also reducing contaminants on surfaces such as countertops and flooring. The MicroPure system comes in three sizes, 5″ (for 2-2.5 ton A/C systems), 9″ (for 3-5 ton A/C systems), and 14″ (for 5-ton and larger systems).

To learn more, visit: www.dustfree.com

Multi-Generational Living

Multi-Generational Living

By definition, multi-generational households have at least two adult generations living in the home. Today, about 1 in 5 Americans live in multi-generational households. Traditionally, in-law suites were the design solution — in a pinch, mom and/or dad moved into one of the secondary bedrooms. But better for achieving both independence and togetherness is a bedroom suite with its own entertaining area, a private bathroom, and a generous closet. That way mom can have the ladies over without having to “schedule” the primary entertaining space.

Design Basics 42027Design Basics’ McAllister (42027) plan illustrates this arrangement beautifully. With the addition of its own exterior door off the front porch, plus its kitchenette, the in-law suite’s living area is sure to please. Increased natural light levels are paramount as we age and this plan delivers with windows on two sides of both the second suite’s bedroom and living space. With an older family member in that suite, you’ll also want to consider zoned heating and cooling, as older individuals typically need warmer temperatures to be comfortable. And, while tile continues to be the preferred flooring choice in bathrooms, falls are the leading cause of fatal injury among seniors. Selecting slip-resistant tile flooring just makes sense.

Boomerang

According to PEW Research of U.S. Census data, 45% of college graduates move back in with their parents after graduation. Dubbed by some the “boomerang” generation, 7 in 10 college seniors graduated with student loan debt averaging nearly $30,000 each, as of 2013. At other times, adult children were moving back in with parents following a job loss or divorce.

Design Basics 42302These scenarios have given rise to the popularity of “casitas” – independent living quarters with private access – often found atop or behind the main home’s attached garage. Design Basics’ Petaluma (42290) and Westerly (42302) both exemplify these options.

Accessed from its own entrance/staircase behind the garage, the Petaluma’s casita over the garage presents a sizable living space, kitchen with eating bar and private bedroom suite with oversized shower and walk-in closet. Alternatively, the Westerly’s casita (at left) is positioned behind the garage and main home’s kitchen. Again, there is private access from behind the garage and this ground-level casita layout offers a pocket office, too.

Recently, the McAllister plan was re-designed as the McAllister Knoll OTB (42319) with the addition of a “roomer” off the rear covered porch. Think small studio apartment with private bedroom and bath plus modest living space equipped with kitchenette for your college student or perhaps your separate home office.

No matter what multi-generational living arrangement presents itself, our plan specialists can assist you in finding the right fit for your situation. Search Plans

Smarter Windows and Doors

Smarter Windows and Doors

The new Insynctive™ technology by Pella® is leading the way with smart window and door products that make life easier for your customers. Insynctive wireless Window and Door Sensors relay information to a compatible home automation system via the Insynctive Bridge. Homeowners can check whether their windows are open or closed from virtually anywhere using a smartphone, tablet, or computer. The Insynctive Entry Door Deadbolt Sensor can be integrated into a new Pella entry door. If the entry door is left open or unlocked, a compatible home automation system will let you know.

Couldn’t remember if your Garage Door was left open? Your smart device can bring you peace of mind. Ready for bed? You won’t have to get up to close your blinds or shades — program them to automatically lower at bedtime. In a home theater room, blinds and shades can be programmed to raise and lower when your home automation system raises and lowers the lights. The comfort of your home is enhanced when blinds and shades and doors with Insynctive technology are connected with other products through a compatible home automation system — to get the most out of life and the home where you live it.

Learn more about Pella’s Insynctive technology by visiting their website: www.pella.com

Note: Product spotlights are for informational purposes only; we do not formally endorse any product or service.

Planning for the Future

Planning for the Future

There are many design elements that can be added to your home at a later date, but some things should be incorporated during the planning stages. Here we present two such items – one is an almost impossible change after the fact, and one will simply save you time, money, and unnecessary headache.

Basement Design

Slightly less than one-half of the homes built in the U.S. are built on basements. If your new home will sit atop a basement foundation, before you build, do your best to determine future uses for your basement. For example, you’re probably going to want taller basement walls in order to have a ceiling height that is at least 8-feet. You’ll know where to rough in plumbing for a bathroom, where to optimally locate structural poles, and where a small kitchen or bar might be situated. You will also want to make sure you don’t finish off too much of that lower level at the expense of much needed storage!

Happy Feet

If your feet are warm, chances are you’ll feel warm all over. But the converse is also true. And few things at home are more dreaded than climbing out of a warm bed or after bathing and stepping onto cold floors! Concrete, stone, tile, and even wood floors can be quite cold to bare feet. Radiant floor heating, in which either warming electrical wires or recirculating hot water lines are installed under the flooring, creates a wonderful, warm floor. Importantly, the decision to spend money for warm floors must be made prior to construction!

Read more home design tips on our Design Resources page.

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