Interior Design Trends: AGING IN PLACE

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 senior years.

For more inspiration...
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Interior Design Trends 2014 - A Global Perception

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 interiors.

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 d├ęcor 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 for you.

For more on color applications, email me or visit my website.

Environmental Responsibility Is Our Social Responsibility

Thinking green is more than picking a color.  

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 global consciousness.

For assistance in reducing your carbon footprint at the same time creating a customized, luxurious, and elegant design scheme, call or email Robin Lechner Designs.

Bold & Unexpected Interior Design Scheme

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.

Follow the project's development on Houzz.

For inspiration, design tips, and photos, visit my website.

Resolving Interior Design Challenges - Floor Lamps

Floor lamps are one of the most valuable items in an interior design scheme, contributing to the resolution of some of the toughest space challenges.

Low profile fixtures fit unobtrusively in tight spaces where a table won’t, or where a lampshade might interfere with an incredible view. 

Others serve as a focal point or to complete a vignette. A style with a bit of whimsy enlivens a room.

Whether you prefer the strong silent type that’s artistic and sculptural, or a sleek yet shapely form, there’s enough variety in design and material that will work for any design style. 

If you're looking for something fresh and original - email me!

Want some design inspiration - visit my website!