Retired-Inspired Design – 10 Tips for Designing Your Forever Home in Montgomery County

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Retired-inspired design can be challenging since it involves long-range thinking.  If you want to age in place, you need to build a house that will not only meet your current needs, but will also allow you to live comfortably in your home during your retirement years.

However, with the expertise and care of a competent design-build firm like Winthorpe, you can build a house you’ll love for the rest of your life.

We’ve come up some retired-inspired design ideas for your forever home:

1. Think About Your Current and Future Needs

Retired-inspired design requires thoughtful planning. If you’re building a home where you plan to spend the rest of your life, then you should consider your current needs and the ways your lifestyle will change 10, 20, or even 30 years down the road.

Here are some guide questions you can ask yourself:

Current needs
  • How many people will live in your home?
  • Do you or your family members have special needs?
  • How much space do you need for your entire home?
  • Do you need space for your hobbies?
  • How are you going to use each room?
  • Do you work from home or have plans to do so?
  • Do you entertain guests?
Future needs
  • Are you planning to raise a family or have more children?
  • Are your parents going to move in?
  • What design features will make your life easier as you age?

grandfather and baby

2. Choose a Good Location for Your Forever Home

You’ll be spending decades in your forever home, so you might as well look for a place where you can live happily for the rest of your life. First, you must consider your lifestyle. Will you thrive in a rural, suburban, or urban environment?

Then you need to consider the people around the neighborhood. Will you be able to build lasting friendships and community ties with them? Are you comfortable with the prevailing culture in the community? How is the peace and order situation in the area?

Last but not least, you must consider the proximity of the area to your workplace, schools, hospitals, grocery stores, and other services you may need now and in the future.

3. Budget Properly

When building your forever home, you need to set a realistic budget to avoid financial strain. If you’re building a home you intend to stay in for 10 years or less, you’ll do just fine with a small budget. But if you plan to stay longer, you may need to spend a little bit more for upgrades and features that ensure that you will be safe and comfortable in your home when you retire and will eliminate the need for renovation in the future.

If you need guidance with budgeting and estimates, Winthorpe can help you. We can work together to make sure that you’ll get the forever home you want while staying on budget.

4. Take Size and Layout into Consideration in Your Retired-Inspired Design

Designing a forever home requires the expertise of a licensed architect. Drawing up a floor plan entails a lot of discussion, planning, and organization.

Your floor plan should give you room to grow so you won’t have to spend too much on building additions later. There should be a seamless flow from one space to the next. An open floor plan allows an easy flow of traffic and creates more usable living space.

5. Choose the Right Building Materials to Make Your Forever Home Sturdy

Obviously, durability is an essential consideration when designing your forever home. Thus, it’s important to think from the outside in. First, talk to your contractor about the larger construction elements. You have to make sure that the foundation and the walls are as strong as they can be.

Make sure that your builders use high-quality, low-maintenance materials. Your roofing, siding, doors, and windows should be strong and sturdy enough to withstand almost anything. Your insulation should have a high R-value so it can effectively prevent heat from either leaving or entering your home.

You’ll save on utility bills and maintenance costs in the future when you choose the right building materials for your forever home. It will also bring repair costs to a minimum.

6. Opt for a Single-Story Home or Make the Main Floor Spacious, Safe, and Livable

Using stairs is risky and difficult for the elderly. It’s also a hazard for kids. If you’re raising a family or plan to stay in your home as you age, building a single story home is your best option.

If you really want a two-story home, you can build a spacious main floor and add a room that you can convert into a master bedroom later. You can also add a bathroom within the space or nearby. That way, you won’t have to use the stairs should you or anyone in your home have mobility issues later.

It’s best to avoid uneven floors and flooring height changes as these can cause trips and falls. Consider using flooring materials that are soft and smooth or use a cushioning layer like SmartCells that reduce the impact on a body in case of a fall.

7. Make Sure You Plan the Plumbing and Electrical Work Thoroughly

You must carefully consider where your plumbing and electrical work will be located as these will stay in the same position for a very long time. Work with a licensed electrician and plumber as you plan your home’s electrical and plumbing systems. Let them know that you intend to build your forever home so they can provide the best solutions for placement and ensure that everything is installed correctly and safely.

8. Plan for Mobility and Accessibility in Your Retired-Inspired Design

As we grow older, mobility and accessibility become issues. Thus, when building a forever home, you must take these factors into account.

Every area in your home will present its own unique challenges. To help you cope with these potential challenges, here are some tips you can follow:

  • Use a fold-down table or a bistro table to accommodate people with mobility issues in the kitchen.
  • Make sure that you can reach the kitchen sink from a seated position and you have enough leg room underneath.
  • Buy kitchen appliances that have controls that are easily accessed.
  • Consider building a walk-in shower in your master bathroom.
  • Install safety grab bars in your bathroom. (These can double as towel holders when you don’t need them yet.)
  • Build your staircase wide enough to accommodate a stairlift should the need to install one arise.
  • Make sure that there will be enough space on the driveway so that a wheelchair-bound person can exit a vehicle easily and safely.

forever home kitchen and living room

9. Go for Timeless Style and Finishes for Your Retired-Inspired Design

Trends are apt to change and leave your home looking outdated. If you’re building a forever home, think classic and timeless design when it comes to architecture and floor plans. Retired-inspired design doesn’t mean boring. You can be trendy and adventurous with your furniture or your home’s color scheme because they’re easy to change. But it’s expensive to remodel your home especially when you have to rearrange rooms and tear down walls.

Going for a timeless look and feel will ensure that your home will never get out of style. Plus, you’ll save money on remodeling and/or redecoration.

10. Embrace Universal Design

According to the National Home Builders Association, Universal Design is “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.”

Universal design accommodates everyone’s abilities and needs. Moreover, it won’t require you to make costly renovations to your house later on.

You can read our blog “How to Retirement-Proof a Two Story House in Montgomery County” to learn more about Universal Design.

Thinking of building your forever home? As mentioned above, it can be challenging. But with Winthorpe, it doesn’t have to be that hard. We’ll be there to help you with planning, budgeting, and everything else you need to do to build a forever home you’ll love. Call us today!

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