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How long do you plan to live in your own home? As do most of
us over 45-ers, you probably want to continue living independently for as long
as possible. If you’re younger, you most likely have parents or close relatives
who feel the same way. “Aging In Place” is a concept for modifying your home to
accommodate age related physical and mental challenges that allows you to live
safely, comfortably, and happily throughout your senior years.
It’s a subject we don’t like to think about, but aging is
inevitable. Today, I attended a workshop at DCOTA (Design Center of the
Americas) on aging that provided a catalog of aging-related recommendations.
However, I condensed the list to suggestions that you can begin making today
that enhance life whatever your age.
Lighting: Replace yellow incandescent lights with LED bulbs
that have a white light. As we age, our eye lenses turn yellow making it more
difficult to see in light produced by incandescent bulbs. Add under cabinet light
strips in the kitchen and bath. There are even battery powered strips with an
adhesive that fit inside drawers and shelves. Layer lighting with direct,
indirect, and task fixtures that are on dimmers for total light control.
Showers: Update to a barrier-free shower.
In addition to the
drain in the middle of the
shower, place one flush with the tile by the door,
eliminating the necessity of stepping over the low threshold. Add a bench and a
hand-held showerhead for showering while seated.
Baths: Many bathroom fittings have been designed that are
attractive and can double as grab rails: paper holders, towel bars, soap
dishes, etc. Make certain they’re affixed to walls that are reinforced to withstand 250lbs.
Flooring: Consider the slip factor. Pre-finished engineered
wood flooring is more slippery that traditionally finished wood floors. Slate is
naturally a non-slip surface. Porcelain tiles are less slippery than marble.
Use radiant heating in bathrooms; area rugs become very slippery in moist settings.
Kitchens: French door refrigerators reduce bending and
reaching. Microwaves should be placed at or under counter top level instead of their
customary spot above the stove. Induction cooktops are the safest stoves you
can own. The surface cools immediately after lifting a pot, and many turn off
automatically when water boils out.
Stove controls should be at the front rather than at the rear.
Doors should be a minimum of 32” in width.
“Smart” equipment and appliances are energy efficient and
makes life more convenient. Many applications can be downloaded to your cell
phone to run many features of your home from a distance.
These are just a few design updates that can be incorporated
into your home to make life more convenient and enjoyable at any age, add value
to your home, and will continue to address comfort and safety as you reach your
Earth conscious design – in the spirit of conscientious sustaining
and protecting our environment, there’s a fresh and original focus in interior
design that incorporates raw materials and organics into design schemes. Used
brick, river stones, weathered woods, organic shapes, texture, and simple, low
line furniture forms keep us connected to our environment. Inspiration from the
depths of the ocean and earth’s outer atmosphere offers natural drama to
Color palettes range from neutrals mixed with pales to vibrant
and dramatic to outwardly chaotic.
Central to neutral design schemes is creating a balance using
either warm and/or cool hues with a mix of metallics that establish a
minimalist spirit without appearing stark. Preferred color palettes include graphite,
slate gray, creamy beige and a wide range of browns.
Blue-based reds like the wines of Burgandy and Pinot Noir
and berry tones are being replaced by warmer reds verging on orange. Vibrant
designs are spicey, warm, bold, exciting yet welcoming, they can be toned down by
adding corals, cream, and gold, or made more exuberant when paired with brights
like sunny yellow, green, and blue.
Move over Emerald! Transitional décor blend hues from the Mediterranean
and Carribean waters that include the palest blue, teal, turquoise, and cobalt
to ethereal atmospheric blues. Accented with jewel tones or with bright white
work for city dwellings, beachfront homes, and everything in between.
Multi-color palettes move away from color blocking replaced
by individualistic patterns in multiple brights. Refreshing and unconventional,
the look is distinctly unique.
Whether your look is vibrant and dramatic; soft, neutral,
and textural; or atmospheric, there are multiple trends that is a perfect fit
A growing trend in building, interior design, and
architecture is the widespread integration of sustainability into mainstream
practice. Producers are increasingly aware of their responsibilities in terms
of their environmental impact. Respect for nature and ecologically sound
business practices are influencing every facet of design. This conscientious
thinking is filtering down to end users – Interior Designers and their clients.
Of equal importance to consideration of the environment, is
the impact on health. Design elements include provisions for recycling - kitchens
are outfitted with separated trash receptacles. High performance and non-toxic
fabrics and materials are included in the manufacture of furniture frames and
upholstery. VOC-free paint is available from all major paint producers.
More home owners are environmentally conscious, purchasing energy
efficient appliancesand lighting fixtures. Wi-fi has enabled the development
of the “smart home” with heat, air conditioning, lighting controls controlled off-site
with smart phones. Smart controls eliminate the clutter of wires and has allowed
for better functional design and appearance of equipment.
Reduction of material waste and reduced energy consumption
translates into less expensive more durable products, increasing the capacity
for affordable customization. Through creative restoration, furniture is being repurposed.
Thoughtful use of antiques enhances the most contemporary design scheme.
Consideration of our environmental footprint through being carbon
neutral, thoughtful use of water, cautious thinking about mobility,
sustainability, renewable energy, recyclable and repurposing materials have
become part of our everyday way of life and doing business. The interior design
and architectural communities have taken their part to be environmentally and
socially responsible which not only impacts the individual at home but affects
For assistance in reducing your carbon footprint at the same time creating a customized, luxurious, and elegant design scheme, call or emailRobin Lechner Designs.
An apartment renovation comes alive with rich colors, period
details, and art. The owner is ready to exchange her floor-through 5 bedroom
apt for a smaller and easier to handle. She didn't want to settle for the
expected, but something fresh and new.
So this, my newest project, is awash in reds and corals with splashes of
yellow, green, and white, incorporating as many of her antiques and furnishings from
her existing apartment without looking too pristine and 'old'.
An all white kitchen will provide a serene oasis. Granite
counter tops with black, deep burgandy, and shades of tan add strong accent
colors to balance the bold red walls of the apartment. A red bistro set, red
accessories, and a bright poster finish the space.