Living A Simplified Life!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Universal Home Design or Aging in Place Cottage

Mother In Law Guest Cottage House, Carriage House Plan
*courtesy of The House Plan Shop

I do have to admit that since I am getting up in age, I know that there will come a time when I am going to have to be looking at a little residence like this. I surely would love to live on my own where I could have my independence, rather than in a nursing home!

With 1 in 8 Americans now over age 65, with that ratio going to 1 in 5 by the year 2030, and with 1 in 5 people having disabilities presently, you can see how important Universal Design is so important in the housing industry. More and more builders are already capitalizing on this Universal Design market, knowing how so many people aging people want to "age in place."

I particularly liked this plan because it is very open and would work well for a loved one who might have to use a walker or a wheel chair. I would make sure the doorways to the bedroom and the bathroom area are a minimum of 34 inches wide, but preferably 36 inches wide. I would be sure to put in security grab bars in the bathroom and do a tub that opens up (those new walk in tubs) or else just a nice large shower where you could roll a wheel chair right in there and also have a bench where you could sit down. The toilet would be one of the taller models for ease of use.

The kitchen will be designed with the lower cabinets having rollout shelf units for ease in reaching items at the back of the cabinets and a lower cooking top (there are even ones now that you can raise and lower) with open space underneath so a wheel chair could be rolled up close to work.

I would love to see a living room decorated like this in this home. This picture is from

one of my favorite magazines, country living ! I love the casual shabby chic look, where you can just relax and don't feel like you have to be really formal.

and when it comes to my favorite colors, all I have to do is look at mother nature and right here is my color palette:
let me fill my home with nine patch quilts, romantic laces and frills!
Pillows for the sofas and chairs and on my bed. My home would be very feminine since I am alone and don't have to share it with anyone. Keep the colors light and airy, for that is what I love, pinks and spring greens, pale blues combined with billowy white shades like the colors of the clouds in the sky. Let there be shelves for my collection of angels and cherubs, the walls filled with pictures of my grandchildren and beautiful candles placed on top of the mantle along with some mirrors and beautiful artwork. Beautiful hardwood floors not only will enhance the casual feel of your home but will also be easy to navigate with a walker or a wheelchair and will be much easier to maintain than carpet.

I also get many ideas from several other magazines for cottage style, shabby chic and country decorating. In the long run remember that "less is more" because as we age we don't want to be cluttered down with unnecessary items that require lots of maintenance (dusting and cleaning).

This little carriage house would be perfect to add on to a relatives property, where you could have the companionship of family and still have your independence.

There is a 2 car garage attached to this home, which would provide plenty of room for not only your vehicle but could be used for storage of items that you just might not be ready to part with.

With 84% of people now wishing to stay in their homes as they age, you are most likely going to be joining the ranks of the "elderly" before you know it. What other special amenities would you like to see in this home if you were either disabled or planning on aging in place?

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