Making Your Home Multigenerational

 

Making your household multigenerational is fairly straightforward: have multiple generations live together in the home. Sometimes younger homeowners invite their parents or in-laws move in. Sometimes older homeowners want to age in place and have their kids and grandkids move in with them. About 50 million Americans currently live in multigenerational households.

But multiple generations often live in a home that isn’t ready for multigenerational living. Every day having to work around the problems and challenges of a home that works against the family instead of with them. Having a home that doesn’t facilitate multigenerational life doesn’t mean that you have to either deal with it or move. You can make changes that create greater harmony for the whole family.

Creating the Right Space for Multigenerational Living

The key to making a space multigenerational is Universal Design. This is design that is meant to be useful for as close to everyone as possible. Most homes are designed for able-bodied adults only, making them inconvenient or even hazardous to children and those with mobility challenges.

 

Top Projects to Make a Home Welcoming to the Whole Family:

 

multigenerational design, accessible living,
The shower, beyond the glass partitian, can be entered and exited freely.

Curbless Showers

Many showers in our homes are either mounted over a bathtub, or have a lip or edge you must step over to get into the shower area. That’s not the only way to have a shower, though. By installing a curbless shower, you make it easier for a person with a low step or using a wheelchair or walker to enter and leave the washing area. The whole bathroom won’t get wet, and shower users will be safer and more independent. Just one curbless shower in the home, preferably attached to the bedroom of the person who uses it, can make a huge difference.

 

Wider Passageways

The standard with doorways and halls in most homes can accommodate a wheelchair or walker, as long as nothing else is placed in the way and the person passing through is alone and a skilled driver. No deep pictures on the walls, no umbrella stand.

Widening, or building wide, passageways creates an easier to navigate home for everyone, not just older users and those with small children.

 

The First Floor Should Meet All of a Person’s Needs

Some members of the family may find stairs to be more than they can handle some days. Some people aren’t equipped to scale stairways at all. Parents of young children can find climbing stairs with kids on hips more than they want to do. The second floor and above are great places for additional bedrooms and social spaces, but the first floor of a home should meet the basic needs of life: kitchen, restroom, an accessible bedroom, and some social space.

 

Independent Temperature Controls

There are many reasons that different family members may feel most comfortable at different temperatures. One way to increase household harmony is to let each person spend their time in a climate that feels right for them. You just set upper and lower limits and then everyone can adjust within that range as they wish.

 

Being Aware of Height

At least one restroom and the kitchen should have lower counter heights. Children and people with wheelchairs can use this level, as well as standing adults. Having this lower counter area ready before kids grow into it or parents start using a chair can make independent life easier on both groups.

 

multigenerational living, design, interior design, remodeling
Door handles like these allow any user to open a door more easily.

Installing Easy to Use Hardware

You can switch door hardware for handles that you rotate with a hand around a flat handle. They’re much easier to use than doorknobs! You can also fit sinks with knobs that are easier to use, and give cabinets more ergonomic handles too. The ways our hands interact with handles, knobs, and other hardware don’t affect the healthy and young as much as other people. Putting in hardware that is ergonomically fitting and allows users to operate them with the larger muscles of the arm instead of the small muscles of the hands is a big step towards making daily activities more enjoyable for older generations.

 

Safety Details

This includes rounded corners on tables and counters. No unframed glass table tops (which can be invisible at times), and removal of any other tripping or collision hazard. Where there are children this can include cabinet and drawer locks, and keeping electrical outlets covered or using outlet plugs. The best time to eliminate dangers is before an accident happens.

 

Universal and Multigenerational design are more complex and nuanced than this article can fully address. Hopefully the basics of making a home comfortable for different generations can get you think. For help making your home multigenerational, contact Robineve Interiors today.

 

Creating a Focal Point in Your Home

Every home has walls, floors, ceilings, furniture. But not every home has been put together in a way that there are focal points in the spaces. Mastering creating a focal point can bring your home from “this is pleasant” to a sincere “Wow!”.

Whatever focal point you choose, it becomes the star of the room. People’s eyes will gravitate to it. The room will feel more connected and purposeful, and inevitably more beautiful.

What Should Your Focus Be?

You can select something already present to use as a focal point, or supply your own. A highlight waiting to be discovered might be a vaulted ceiling, a fireplace, unique window, another architectural feature, or a stunning view.

In the absence of already-present things to focus on, or if you have something you like even more, you can bring your own focal point. This could be a painting, a sculpture or other art, a musical instrument, statement furniture, or an accent wall. It’s really up to you, as long as the object you choose is worth looking at!

There can only be one focal point in a space, so choose wisely. And remember that however else you direct attention to it, you must always consider lighting. The most beautiful object in the world is unremarkable when nestled in shadows.

A few ways to create something as a focal point are:

creating a focal point with color

Focus Using Isolation

Your focal point piece of art may be the only piece in the whole room, or on it’s own wall. The window you want to bring attention to may have no window coverings and nothing blocking the view, but be fully exposed. The vase you’re highlighting may be the only thing on a large table. There are many ways to isolate your focal point, and it’s all going to depend on what the focus is and how it fits in the room.

Use Scale to Your Advantage

If your item is on the larger side, you can use smaller objects around it to increase its perceived size. Slightly smaller chairs and table tops, or perhaps drastically smaller framed photos. If you have control over the size of your focal point, like choosing between a grand piano and a baby grand, go big if there’s room for it.

You can also bring attention to something very small by isolating it and surrounding it with large items, like a tiny painting in a large matted frame. This is much harder to make pleasing, and should only be attempted for truly compelling tiny focuses.

Color to Boost a Focal Point

Your central focus will look extra striking and majestic if you use color to direct eyes to it. You can create an environment where your focus is the only thing in the room of its color, even with nothing of similar colors to be found near. If you have a bright red painting, consider banishing all other warm colors from the room, or limiting them to things no larger than an apple.

Or you can choose a color from the object and use that like you would use a neutral color, on large or small objects. The color you pull from the object can be an exact match, or a tint or shade of the same hue.

For help creating the dramatically beautiful home you deserve, contact Robineve Interiors today.

Save Time and Money Planning Your Remodeling Project

When and how to use an interior designer is something that isn’t common knowledge. Many people think that you call in a designer at the end of a project for finishing touches- deciding where to put a mirror and what colors to paint walls.

You can benefit from a designer during the last phase of a project. But you’ve missed the greatest opportunity to benefit from a designer’s knowledge and skills. Designers don’t simply decorate a space to make it appealing. They also design spaces- plan them- engineer elements to work together so that ergonomics are safe, spaces are accessible, and elements are optimally functional. And to do all of this they bring immense knowledge and resources.

Designers Keep Costs Under Control

An interior designer knows what costs to expect for materials and labor, knows what things are worth, and where to get the best value, and the highest alignment between your goals, budget, and results. A designer’s goals are to keep you in your budget, get you the most design for the buck, save you time and open your eyes to solutions you may have never seen.

An experienced interior designer can also see a space in-process and envision the final product far better than most of us. Almost like they can see how things will look before they’re done. This allows them to head off potential problems that you wouldn’t have anticipated, saving you time and money. A change made early on cost far less than one made later in the process.

Interior Designers can often use ready-made or easily sourced materials that are in common use, but create a custom-looking, unique space with personality way beyond the cookie-cutter look they’re often used in. This in itself can create a large savings during a remodeling project.

They See The Whole Picture

When left to make all our own remodeling decisions, we often consider price, how things look, and maybe whether measurements fit in the space. One valuable contribution of an interior designer, especially one with Universal Design focus like Robineve Cole, is focus on usability. How things work, how human bodies interact with them, and what the space will be like in use will never be overlooked.

Many unfortunate homeowners have found that once their project is done it works well but looks bad, or looks great but doesn’t work so well at all. A good contractor helps, while most contractors will execute whatever vision you provide them with, few are design experts. The specific design knowledge helps harmonize form and function.

remodeling project, interior designer, kitchen design, bath remodel

A Designer’s Resources Extend Far

With the many resources of a designer, there are ways to achieve your goals that you wouldn’t have otherwise realized. Custom options, semi-custom options, or little-known products, techniques, or suppliers. Designers have access to a wealth of materials that extends far beyond what many contractors usually work with.

One of the greatest resources of an interior designer is their mind. The way they understand the space and see options. They’ll arrive at suggestions that you’d never have come up with on your own. Maybe soothing, energy-efficient lighting or hidden storage solutions to create a better final outcome? Often a designer will solve problems you didn’t even know you had because you’ve grown accustomed to the burden.
Choosing the best layout and materials to provide the functionality and appearance you’re looking for.

Let Your Interior Designer Create a Smoother Experience

The guidance and supervision of an interior designer means an experienced expert is overseeing your remodel process. Each individual upgrade, installation, or replacement is part of the larger budget, larger timeline, larger result. Your interior designer will ensure all the parts fit together properly or action is taken if they don’t.

Interior Designers will have relationships with the best contractors, subcontractors and vendors in the business. In this way, they serve as a hub for all the professionals involved to coordinate efforts and communicate. This also means you’ll be connected to reliable contractors. If something goes awry, your designer can probably find the person, materials, or equipment needed quickly and easily.

Get guidance for your upcoming remodeling project. Contact Robineve Interiors today to see if the help of an interior designer is what you need.

How to Choose Kitchen Cabinets

Cabinets are the skeleton of a kitchen. Appliances and other features are worked into the cabinetry, which is the basis of the room. Counters sit on top of cabinets. Microwaves, dishwashers, and other tools of life are worked into the flow of cabinetry. Cabinets are so important because they are the storage, which kitchens thrive on. You must store food, cooking tools, cleaning supplies, and so much more. Cabinets make this work for you gracefully and beautifully.

2 different kitchen cabinet styles, choosing kitchen cabinetry
On the left we have Boxed Framed Overlay Shaker style — probably the most popular style right now. On the right is Frameless Overlay — with a sort of transitional look.

They also absorb the bulk of a budget during a kitchen remodel. Cabinets are not replaced frequently, and your choices will be with you a long time. This is why it’s so important to think through your choices, why you’re choosing them, and what you need your cabinets to do for you and anyone else in the home.

Doing a Refresh

Occasionally during a kitchen remodel people find that their cabinetry is arranged just how they want it, is sturdy and in good shape. When all that needs to change is how your cabinets look, you can do a refresh on them. This is either refinishing or replacing doors and drawer fronts and installing new hardware to create the welcoming kitchen look you desire.

Whole New Cabinets

When your cabinetry is either the wrong dimensions, in the wrong place, aging, or built in a way that doesn’t serve you well, new cabinets are the only way to go. When choosing new cabinets you have your choice of custom, semi-custom and stock cabinetry.

Stock cabinetry can be a perfect answer in many kitchens, but not all of them. Working with a good interior designer can help you decide. A talented designer can often find a stock option that fits your needs. There are, of course, occasions that the available stock cabinets just aren’t what you need. Then semi-custom and custom options became important, and having a talented designer that understands your needs becomes even more important.

Deciding on style

You’ll have to consider what construction type and door style you prefer.

Inset framed Mission style or Arts & Crafts style. This is very popular with Berkeley and Oakland Hills architecture.
Inset framed Mission style or Arts & Crafts style. This is very popular with Berkeley and Oakland Hills architecture.

Framed Cabinets have a front frame around them, creating a lip at the front edge of the cabinet opening. The door attaches to the frame, which itself attaches to the cabinet’s walls or edges. These are most popular in traditional kitchens. Traditional-overlay doors cover some of the frame on framed cabinets, full-overlay doors cover the entire cabinet frame and inset doors sit inside the cabinet frame.

Full overlay Frameless Euro style kitchen cabinets
These are Full overlay Frameless Euro style cabinets, which give a very clean look.

Frameless Cabinets, or European-style cabinets, have no front frame. The door attaches directly to the side of the cabinet. Frameless cabinets are common in contemporary kitchens. Without the front frame there is more open access to the cabinet interior. When installing frameless cabinets, you can have full-overlay doors or inset doors.

Make it Functional

Pull-out lipped shelves for pots and pans, oversized drawers for baking sheets and designated cabinets for pull-out trash and recycling are some ways you can make your space highly functional. Accessories like lazy Susans, built-in spice racks, drawer organizers and other extras make the kitchen easy to use and forgiving on your body.

Base cabinets are the most important functionally, while hanging wall cabinets are often the sacrifice for aesthetic features like windows and dramatic backsplashes. Although you may find base cabinets without hanging cabinets above, it’s very rare to find hanging cabinets over an empty space. Hanging cabinets can be more important in a house where someone is tall or finds bending over more difficult.

More and more lower cabinets are using drawers, because they make storage more accessible. Ergonomically, drawers bring contents out to you rather than you having to bend over and dig to find your wok or strainer.

Hardware

Hardware is the finishing touch. Pulls, handles, and knobs give the drawers and cabinets the personality and feel you want in your kitchen. They come in a variety of materials, shapes, sizes, and looks. This is a chance to express yourself.

2018 NARI Bay Area Remodeling Awards

On April 11th 2018 at EQ3 in San Francisco CA, Robineve Cole was proud to receive a 2017 NARI Bay Area Remodeling Award. This honor is  fondly known as a “Remmie Award”.

NARI is the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, and they sponsor the awards. Local awards are the Remmies (a remodeling award). NARI National is in all 50 states, and offers regional awards as well as a national CotY (Contractor of the Year) award.

Achievement Awards recognize outstanding achievements by an individual, company, or NARI chapter because of their work to promote or enhance professional remodeling.

 

Previous NARI Awards

Robineve has previously won Remmie awards from NARI in 2014, 2016, and 2017  for projects done in Livermore and Piedmont.

he won the 2104 Contractor of the Year Award in the interstate Southwest Region. More impressively, she then won the CotY, or Contractor of the Year Award, from NARI National. She received the National award in New Orleans.

This year Robineve won a Remmie for the Best interior remodeling from East and North Bay and San Francisco, priced from 75-150K.

remodeling award presentation event
John Cole of JC Architecture, Robineve Cole, and Gary Collins of Windows and Beyond. This team worked together on this year’s CotY project.

As an Interior Designer, Robineve is often involved in remodeling projects. She makes an impression in the remodeling community as a source for high quality and highly functional design. Robineve brings professionalism that fosters great working relationships.

NARI Bay Area Remodeling Award presentation
Chris Cook of Cooke Kitchen and Bath with Robineve Cole, at NARI East Bay

Here at Robineve Interiors, we delight in receiving awards. We’re so proud of the work that has gone into earning it. As Robineve continues to use her artful eye and design skill, maybe the future will hold more recognition. We certainly hope so.

If you’re planning a remodel or not sure about what to do next with your home, contact Robineve Interiors for expert help.

 

Photos credits to Alexandra Malek for Drew Altizer Photography.

Make Windows Look Huge With Smart Use Of Curtains

Why make your windows look bigger? There are many advantages to having larger seeming windows! Your home seems bigger, ceilings may seem higher, the idea that the window is large makes the home seem higher-end, the outdoors seem closer at hand. In generally, windows are a bigger-is-better area of life. There are even entire rooms constructed out of windows, called sunrooms. People love sunrooms.

 

But what if what you have is a drywall or stucco or other non-window room, with a small window or two in it? It’s probably not ideal, but there are things you can do. Knock the wall out and get bigger windows! If that’s a bit too expensive, you don’t have time for that, or you’re a renter, you can still make the room feel like it has more window. There are aesthetic tricks that’ll trick you into feeling like your windows are bigger. And that’s a good feeling.

 

Make Windows Seem Taller

 

make windows look huge with curtains
Ceiling to floor curtains for windows that are not that tall create the illusion of huge windows, which would have looked unremarkable in curtains fit to their size.

 

Hanging Rod

The rod you hang your curtains from should not be placed right above the top window edge. You can put it from few inches above the actual top of the window all the way up to mounting your hanging rod on the ceiling instead of the wall. Putting space above the window behind a valance or cornice also makes the window seem taller and more impressive.

 

Fabric Length

Don’t stop your curtain at the bottom of the window. You can let the fabric flow from a foot longer than the window is tall to all the way to the ground. Floor-to-ceiling curtains give the illusion of large vertical scale to windows that are just average size. It’s up to you how extreme to go with length. The longer the curtain, the more powerful the vertical line made by folds in the hanging fabric.

 

Fabric Selection

To create an illusion of greater height, you can use vertical stripes, of course. Although that’s the obvious choice, it’s not the only one that works. Because the curtains hang in folds when open, any repeating pattern will create vertical lines, as will solid colors. They just each to so in differing amounts. You can also choose to hang panels of more than one fabric, making wider vertical bands.

 

Give Windows a Wider Appearance

 

Hanging Rod

For wider appearing windows, you can have your curtain rod extend past the actual width of your window. You can go as far as you’d like, but 60-80% wider than the window is considered reasonable. With your curtains open, expose almost all of the glass, leaving all wall area hidden. The human mind will assume that behind the remaining curtain lies an expansive window! Make sure your curtains are wide enough to cover the whole length of the rob when closed. You can use a straight-bottomed cornice or valance to emphasise the horizontal lines.

 

Fabric Length

If you want your windows to appear wider and not taller, Then fabric length should be kept to no shorter than 6 inches below the bottom of the window. Light would come through closed curtains if it were any shorter. Longer is not a problem, but the longer the curtain the more it will make the window appear larger in general, as opposed to wider.

 

Fabric Selection

Horizontal stripes, or even a curtain that has a horizontal color change, can help your windows look panoramic. Otherwise, sticking to solids is best, because any pattern will look like vertical patterning once visually divided by the hanging folds of fabric.

 

Super Size Them: Make Your Window Look Bigger Both Ways

 

Hanging Rod

Like when trying to create taller windows, you’ll want to raise the hanging bar above the window top quite a bit. Also, you’ll want to use the window-widening trick and extend the bar far past the natural window edges. This means a high, long bar. It’s a great idea to add a cornice or valance to disguise all that wall space above the window and behind your curtains.

 

Fabric Length

The longer the better, in this case. Well, almost. Curtains that drag on the floor look great in photoshoots, but are not practical in the home. Pooled curtains are a dangerous tripping hazard. Give your floor some clearance for safety and so that the curtain bottoms don’t became a shelter for dust bunnies.

 

Fabric Selection

Different stripes: horizontal, vertical, or diagonal, will all make your windows seem bigger, but in different ways. Think about what would work best with the space. Solid, light colors can also seem very big and bright, which is a great way to make windows seem large. Really the only way to go terribly wrong with fabric selection is to chose dark colors or large prints.

 

Getting the look right in your home is a mix of knowledge, skill, and inspiration, not to mention access to the right materials. For expert help creating gorgeous, functional spaces, contact Robineve Interiors. The award-winning talend of Robineve Cole can make your windows shine bigger than ever and so much more.

 

Why Do Interior Colors Matter in Your Living Space?

How colors are used in your home may affect you more than you realized. It’s been well established that colors affect the human experience. From the color red making people hungry, to yellow making babies cry, and green increasing our feelings of calm and health, there are many documented human responses to color.

 

Why Does This Matter in Your Home?

Everyone wants their home to feel good to them. Some people want their entire home to feel calm and welcoming. Others would like their home office to feel vibrant and alive. Some hope to create great socializing environments for entertaining. All of these things can happen with the help of color.

 

You’re Already Being Affected by Color

What you may not have considered is that without making conscious color choices, you are still being influenced by the colors in your home. Colors have power, and they may be creating something other than the emotions you’d hoped to have at home.

 

You may want a cozy, restful bedroom but have a bright rainbow of colors in your bedding and decor, keeping your body and mind from settling down at night. Or you may want to have friends over for a lively night of games and fun, but your monochromatic beige living space sets the scene for a quiet, almost professional gathering instead. You want the family to gather for great meals in the dining room, and the calm blues you’ve chosen influence the group to lose their appetite before they’ve even started.

 

monochromatic interior, interior design, ambiance
This bedroom is monochromatic sage green, using an undyed straw color as a neutral.

Before You Start: Color Terms to Know

Tint: A tint is what you get when adding white to a color. Pink is a tint of red, because white has been added.

Shade: A shade is what you get when adding black to a color. Few shade have their own names

Hue: Hues are variations of a color created by adding another color. Generally we describe the color added as a primary color. Teal is a hue of green, because blue is added.

Monochromatic: Monochromatic means “one color” and it refers to decor that is primarily tints and shades of the same color, but may include hues. The key is that notably different colors are absent.

Duochromatic: Duochramatic means “two color” and is a clean but lively look. There are two prominent colors, to the exclusion of others.

Accent Color: An accent color is used sparingly, and is generally very different than the other colors in use, it stands out.

Neutral: A neutral color is one that goes with everything, or fits in well anywhere. Black, white and grey are always neutral, and most people agree that beige, tan, and brown can also be neutrals.

Primary Colors: Red, Blue, Yellow. They are the simplest, most basic colors. All others come from mixing these three.

Secondary Colors: Green, Violet, Orange. These are the equal-part mixes you can make from each pairing of primary colors. They’re still bright and basic, and do well used with primary colors.

How Can You Use Interior Colors Most Effectively?

Knowing the amazing power of color, you may feel the urge to repaint, reupholster, and refinish your whole home. That’s entirely understandable, and doing so would indeed have a great effect on your home and homelife. The question is, how do you choose colors?

 

There is a lot of color psychology and color theory information out there on the internet, but the truth is that harnessing the power of color takes years to master. Choosing colors is not as straightforward is it seems. You must consider intensity of the color, scale or size of the piece, patterns and textures, ratios of colors present, and the effects of where you place the color. As you can imagine, having a black floor will affect you very differently than having a black ceiling would. A professional interior designer on your side can save you from a lot of pitfalls.

 

interior colors, interior design, color theory, color effects
This hallway is duochromatic in its most simple form: no shades or hues, no accent colors.

 

Things to avoid:

  • When looking at paint chips or color samples, bright colors will seem more reasonable in that small form than they would be on a large item. That sorbet orange that looked invigorating on a 2-inch by 3-inch paper card is actually blazingly bright on an entire wall. The larger the space you intend to paint or item you intend to reupholster, the more you need to look to tints, or possibly shades. Because of this, a bright color on a wall will generally look much less exciting on a paint sample card.
  • Be mindful with patterns. Having too few patterns or interesting textures can create a more sterile look than intended, whereas having too many patterns can create feelings of chaos or messiness.
  • It’s not generally a good idea to decorate in all primary or secondary colors. Try to include more complex hues, like dark, rich colors or light, dusty ones.

 

Orchestrating the interior colors in your home to help create the life you want is something that takes skill and knowledge. And it’s not difficult with the right help. If you have a home decorating or remodeling project coming up and need some guidance on how to use colors to your advantage, contact Robineve Interiors.

 

Why you can’t afford NOT to hire an Interior Designer

save_time_and_money
The biggest reason is Time– it saves you so much time.

The next biggest reason is Money– you can’t afford to make costly mistakes.

Followed closely by That Vision Thing– a professional designer knows what it can look like even as you are describing your dream home.

And hundreds more:

  • Spousal negotiations (!!)
  • Design direction
  • Style guidance
  • Fashion trend forecasting
  • Contractor consultations
  • Architectural experience
  • Amazing exclusive resources
  • Budget management
  • Code regulations
  • Building permits
  • Material specifications
  • Fabric selection
  • Color knowledge
  • Complementary patterns
  • Space planning
  • 3-D renderings
  • Lighting expertise
  • Product knowledge
  • Value comparisons
  • Shopping nightmares
  • Purchasing experience
  • Layout efficiencies
  • Delivery coordination
  • Installation supervision
  • Problem solving
  • Project records

And so much more…….

I will love helping you turn your house into the home of your dreams.

Robineve Interiors: Designing Homes for Life

2016 Walnut Creek Interior Design award

Two and a half years ago, I decided to locate my new design firm in Walnut Creek, because the energy is crazy great here-sooo much growth, and the location was perfect for my clients up and down the 680 and Hwy 24 corridors. It was all about the location, but I’ve come to really like this town.

So I was surprised and delighted when I received the Best of 2016 Walnut Creek Interior Design award this summer.

These are the words from the awards committee:

“We focus on companies that have demonstrated their ability to use various marketing methods to grow their business in spite of difficult economic times. The companies chosen exemplify the best of small business; often leading through customer service and community involvement.” This is really gratifying to me, because serving my clients, and supporting our neighbors in the county ( those who have been economically marginalized), are two of the most important things to me.

I am thrilled to have launched this design business that has been so well received. Thank you Walnut Creek!

Designing Ahead of the Curve

You may not be familiar with the term Universal Design, but I believe it will become the way all homes will be built in the future. Just as Green Design was a niche concept in the 1990s and is now the standard for all savvy, responsible design, I believe Universal Design will become part of our broader understanding of how our homes can enhance the quality of our lives over time. In short, Universal Design just makes sense.

I first became aware of the practical applications of Universal Design seven years ago when I had to redesign parts of my parents’ home because my Mom had Alzheimer’s disease. At that time, I noticed that I was doing some of the same accommodations that had made my own home easier and safer when my daughter was little. I was impressed that the solutions were multi-generational, and could benefit younger families as well as people over 60 who wanted to “Age in Place”. (Have you heard that term? It describes the way active Boomers–aka Zoomers–are looking to the future. I am a Certified Aging in Place and Downsizing Specialist). As a matter of fact, the active 50+ couple who eventually bought my parents’ home were thrilled that it had everything they needed for their future retirement–and because of that, they were willing to pay top dollar. No costly retrofits would be necessary down the road for their ease of living.

However, what finally cemented my commitment to at least introducing Universal Design principles to all of my remodeling clients was an even more ‘up-front and personal’ experience:  I was hit by a car while crossing the street. My life changed in the blink of an eye, and I spent the next 5 months in a wheelchair with two broken legs. Trying to maneuver through my home became a ridiculous obstacle course! My architect husband had long ago educated me in accessible design requirements for commercial architecture; suddenly, I was handicapped and these studies made even more sense–even though I only needed the adaptations for a little while. I came out of the experience wanting to apply these really thoughtful, practical principles to other homes as well–and do it in an elegant, almost invisible manner for my discriminating design clients.