17 Mar 2021
Whether due to budgetary reasons or lack of room on your lot, an addition may not be the answer for many homeowners. An unfinished basement, however, could solve your problems when you convert this underutilized lower level into a finished and functional space.
Remodeling a basement requires extra care to properly handle water issues, like moisture and drainage, plus egress windows, electrical wires, and other challenges. Be sure to work with a qualified professional remodeler to get the best result. If you would like our help, we’re ready to guide you through our process and help you get your new basement.
These are some of the top trends we are seeing in finished lower levels but we can also help you get the custom space you want, one that meets your needs.
Putting a bedroom and separate full bath in the basement offers a space with plenty of privacy. This can be great for a guest suite, especially if you have family or friends that come for extended visits. When the in-laws come for the holidays, that extra separation can be a big boon for family harmony.
This suite can be as simple as a bedroom and bath or include features like a sitting/lounge area or wet bar, depending on your budget.
Conversely, a basement is also a good space to put a bedroom for one of your family members who needs a little more privacy, such as a teenager. They get their space, and you get a little peace and quiet. It’s an even better solution for an older child commuting to college or working that first job.
It’s important to remember that building codes require that a new “bedroom space” must have an egress (exit) window or door.
There are dozens of ways to design your home theater or media room. Some comfy couches, a big-screen TV, and sound system can get the job done, but the real movie enthusiast can opt for a separate room with a projection system, theater-style chairs and surround sound.
An open TV space, on the other hand, offers plenty of advantages, including a lower price tag and greater utility. If you don’t spend a lot of time watching movies or TV, it makes sense to spend the money somewhere else. Working with your remodeler and designer will help you find the best solution.
Play Room/Game Room
If you’ve got kids, you know their ability to make a mess knows no bounds. A comfortable space in the basement is a great way to keep some of that clutter out of sight. A tile floor with area rugs will make it easier to clean up the space.
As children enter their middle school or high school years, the space can be converted to a game room, making space for pool tables, air hockey, foosball – whatever your family is interested in.
If there’s not enough space to give the kids their own room, why not get creative with the space under the staircase? That little area can be perfect for their own little hiding space. Add a bean bag chair, maybe a small table or lamp, and make it a comfy hideaway.
As long as there have been finished basements, there have been basement bars. It’s great if you like to host parties or just have some friends over while watching football. Adding kitchen amenities like a microwave, refrigerator and sink enhances the convenience.
With people working at home more than ever these days, finding a permanent space is a must. A separate room that offers a little privacy for your Zoom meetings is best. A basement office also helps you associate the office with “work” and separate it from your home life. Many studies have shown that natural light enhances productivity, so try to locate it in a room or part of the basement with windows.
Maybe you found yourself working out at home last year because of the pandemic, but even as things are opening back up, a home gym has some advantages. Most notably, you’re not paying the monthly fees anymore but investing in your home. Want to go high-end? Consider adding spa-like features, such as a sauna or steam shower.
However you choose to use your basement, when renovating the space it’s important to do it correctly. Hiring a professional to do the work can help you avoid hidden and unforeseen issues down the road. Give us a call when you are ready. We would love to help you with this project.
08 Jan 2021
|Improving Your Kitchen’s Energy Efficiency|
Making energy-efficient improvements in your home is good for the planet and lowers your utility bills. There are many ways you can improve your energy efficiency without making a considerable investment. This month, we’re going to look at the kitchen specifically.
Most of these improvements will pay for themselves in a matter of years. A professional remodeler can help you determine the best solutions for your home that will give you the highest return on your investment.
|Update Your Appliances
Appliance manufacturers have made great strides in energy efficiency over the last decade. If your appliances are more than ten years old, replacing them can significantly lower your energy consumption and utility bills. Kitchen appliances alone can be responsible for more than 30 percent of home energy consumption. Whether you replace some or all of your kitchen appliances, the long-term savings can be considerable—and will vary based on usage and the type of appliance.
|Every appliance has a yellow EnergyGuide label applied by the manufacturer that shows its estimated energy usage and operating cost. It also shows how the unit compares to the average cost of similar models. Energy Star-certified appliances can save you even more.
More efficient appliances may have a higher price tag, but most will end up saving you money over time in lower operating costs. Consider how long you plan on staying in the home. We can help you run those numbers to see what makes sense for your home.
It’s also worth asking about other incentives. Many utility companies offer rebates for making the switch to more efficient products, and federal, state, and local tax credits may be available.
Refrigerators and Freezers
Refrigerators and freezers are the most significant users of electricity in the kitchen. According to Energy Star estimates, U.S. consumers are collectively paying an extra $5.5 billion in energy costs because of old, inefficient units.
Refrigerators in the range of 16 to 20 cubic feet are the most efficient. The bigger the unit, the more energy it will use. Some features, like icemakers, will also add to the operating cost. Decide if the tradeoff in convenience and storage makes sense for your budget and family’s needs.
|Ovens and Stoves
Gas stoves usually have lower energy costs—if you have a choice. You could also consider an electric induction cooktop if gas is not an option. Other considerations include self-cleaning ovens as they generally have more insulation and hold heat better, while convection ovens use about 20 percent less energy as the fan continually circulates heat.
Energy-efficient models of other appliances, including dishwashers, exhaust fans, and microwave ovens, are also available. We can help you find the best solution for your home.
|Consider LED lighting
Another way to lower your energy costs in the kitchen and throughout your house is to look at lighting. In most homes, the kitchen lights are on more than in any other room. Replacing incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs can make a big difference. According to Energy Star, an LED bulb produces light 90 percent more efficiently than an incandescent bulb.
LED bulbs cost more initially but require less energy and last longer than incandescent and fluorescent bulbs. And, unlike fluorescent bulbs, LEDs have the familiar shape of incandescent bulbs and contain no mercury.
A phantom load is the electricity a device uses even when it’s turned off and can add up to significant costs over a year. These include popular small kitchen appliances such as toasters, coffee makers, and blenders. In other areas of your home, voice-activated devices continuously draw electricity to listen to your voice commands. Additionally, any device placed into “stand-by mode,” instead of turning off completely, will continue to pull electricity from the grid, even when not operating. These can include computer monitors, printers, TVs, or cable systems. The worst offenders of phantom loads are typically related to entertainment systems: TVs, cable boxes, video game systems, audio systems, phone/device charges. Unplug them when they’re not in use to reduce
Hammerschmidt Construction is proud to announce it won top honors at the 2019 Silicon Valley NARI’s prestigious Meta Remodeling Awards.
The competition recognizes the achievements of highly respected contractors, and has honored Hammerschmidt
Construction with a gold medal for best remodeling project in the category for Residential Interior $100,000 to $250,000.
“We are absolutely thrilled with being recognized for excellence in remodeling and receiving a gold medal,” said John Hammerschmidt, the owner of Hammerschmidt Construction. “To be honored in this way given all of the outstanding entrants is a big achievement and something we are very proud of.” Meta Award recipients are selected by an impartial panel of judges, who work within the residential building industry and associated fields.
John added that his Los Altos Hills’ client wanted to remodel the main floor to the standards of the recently remodeled master suite. The goal was comprehensive: to renovate the entire kitchen, upgrade the lighting, flooring, trim, and highlight the displayed artwork; additionally, create a half bath and expand the pantry area to match home’s existing style while maintaining the natural flow already established in the home.
“A bigger island was needed, more cabinets and counter space, and better window placement for a more dramatic bay view,” he explained. “It was a complicated job but I think in the end the client was very satisfied. We filled in the old windows and install a new larger one over the sink for an optimal view.” John said that a large white shaker cabinet was also included to match the master bathroom and reflexes lights, new appliances and more counter space were added as well.
The name Meta is short for “metamorphosis,” and signifies the transformative process and beautiful results that can be accomplished through a remodeling project. But the evaluation process is strict. The judges cannot be members of NARI of Silicon Valley, and all submissions are evaluated on objective criteria in problem solving, functionality, aesthetics, craftsmanship, innovation, degree of difficulty and entry presentation.
John went on to say that sharing the results with his team has been a strong motivator and that everyone appreciates being honored in this way. But perhaps more importantly, he add, is that the award might have greater value as an evaluation tool for homeowners looking to find the best fit. “There are a lot of contractors in the Silicon Valley doing good work,” he pointed out, “but a high-end residential remodeling contractor that does exceptional work is not easy to come by.”
08 May 2017
I love my greenhouse from my Head (of lettuce) to my TomaToes..
At HCI, we pride ourselves in building houses that are Green, but I also enjoy building Greenhouses! As many of you know, I was raised on a farm and my first love is horticulture. In fact, my degree is in Landscaping and Construction. While I was forced to transition to “real construction” during the drought and recession of 1989, gardening continues to be a source of joy and relaxation for me. And, as a member of the Western Horticulture Society and California Native Plant Society, I spend a large amount of my free time with other fellow gardeners.
I have always wanted a greenhouse to start seedling and protect tender plants from inclement weather. I ordered a greenhouse “kit” over a year ago and was finally able to “build” it last month.
Left: My Happy Place. Right: Inside – shelves for seedlings, larger plants below
Greenhouse kits are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased through Lowes, Home Depot, Harbor Freight and various online stores such as Hayneedle. I purchased mine from Harbor Freight, primarily because it was economical, knowing that I could modify it to fit my existing space and because I had the tools and experience to do so. A word of caution: Don’t underestimate the term “Assemble” in the description. To construct my greenhouse, it required two weekends to “assemble” it and several more days to modify the stock structure into the “fully loaded” version I envisioned. This included the addition of strip lighting, decking, benches, a heater, a timer, automatic irrigation, and a vent.
To begin your collection of plants, start by selecting quality seeds. I like to purchase mine from Pinetree Garden Seeds because they have a wide selection of high-quality seeds. I also save seeds from fruits and vegetables that I’ve grown that are self-pollinated or locally cross-pollinated. That way they become hybridized to the local area.
Most likely, I didn’t do a decent job of convincing you that assembling a greenhouse is fun, but even if you never build a greenhouse, here are 10 good reasons that gardening is a worthwhile hobby.
1. Plants appreciate care and feeding, and they don’t talk back. (Those of you with kids will understand.)
2. The ROI is better than many of my investments. For the price of some seeds, water, and love, you can produce unlimited amounts of food. And, it’s amazing how much better it tastes when you grew it and it remains on the plant until it is ripe.
3. You will reap the rewards for your efforts relatively quickly; many plants bear fruit or vegetables within a couple of months.
4. Dirt can make you happy (and healthy).
Studies show that getting your hands in the dirt can have an unexpected range of health benefits including alleviating symptoms of psoriasis, allergies, and asthma, and improving immune function. Gardening has also shown promise in reducing the incidence of stroke and heart attack risk by up to 30% for those over 60. And, in one long-term study of 3,000 adults, researchers found daily gardening to represent the single biggest risk reduction factor for dementia, reducing incidence by 36%. Other studies confirm the antidepressant effect of gardening and found that a strain of bacterium in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, triggers the release of serotonin, which in turn elevates mood and decreases anxiety.
5. Composting for your garden reduces waste.
Compost is necessary to create a healthy growing environment as it infuses nutrients back into the soil, reduces evaporation, and moderates soil temperature. And, you can compost using your own plant-based kitchen waste and yard clippings. A recent estimate from the Environmental Protection Agency predicted that up to one-fourth of all landfill waste could have been turned into compost. Click on this link for 10 Reasons to Start Composting.
6. You will be the envy of all your friends and neighbors.
If you do use a greenhouse, you’ll be able to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, lettuce, basil, and other vegetables during the winter and lettuce and tomatoes year-round!
7. Gardening allows you to grow your favorite plants and it’s a wonderful way to perpetuate family traditions and recipes. One of my favorite vegetables to grow is Espelette peppers, which I use to make my grandmother’s Piperade Sauce.
8. It’s a house that you can build without a permit!
A free-standing greenhouse with a maximum size of 120 sq. ft. USUALLY does not require a permit. (Please confirm this with your local building department).
9. Small business employee retention.
In addition to “growth” opportunities, my crew enjoys being my samplers and recipients of the “fruits” of my labors. A happy and healthy crew is a productive crew.
10. Gardening is a hobby that evolves with you and your family:
- For newborns, you have healthy pesticide-free fruits and vegetables that you can puree into baby food with confidence.
- For toddlers and elementary school students it’s a good educational tool.
- For teenagers… well, you might have to make sure they haven’t planted their own “green plants.”
- At any age, it’s a great place to escape from your cell phone, work or chores, and you will be all set for “the weird hobby years.”
Check out this wonderful book for kids from IKEA! 90 colorful pages of how its great fun making things grow!
Why Grow in a Greenhouse?
Learn more about Greenhouse Growing Benefits & Basics
03 Feb 2017
When you think of “good design”, it is common to think of what you see when you look at a room or a product. For example, the color, style, size/proportion, and the overall feel it imparts. However, good design is also what you cannot see. Good design has a purpose even though it may not be immediately visible. It is also functional and sometimes solves a problem. It must be sustainable in that the materials must be long lasting and not just a trend. Good design is also thorough – even to the last detail.
An example of good design is how some interior designers choose to hide functional items such as air registers in a home. We connected with one of our favorite designers, Hellen Hsieh, from Design Loft in Palo Alto. On a recent tour of a spec home she designed in the Crescent Park neighborhood of Palo Alto, we were drawn to the open and airy feel and the simplicity of the room. Visually, design elements such as the pendant lighting, clearstory windows, paint and furniture colors, and the proportion of the art and mirrors all add to the ambiance of the room. However, there is one element that is not initially noticeable – an HVAC supply air register.
Hellen pointed out that the air supply grate is hidden in the custom Austrian Walnut bookshelf above the TV. Designed to match the entertainment unit below, the bookshelf features made-to-order door inserts from Light Wave Laser which hide the grates.
There are also alternatives for floor register placement. In this family room remodel HCI completed last year, our designer Suzette O’Farrell chose to tuck the air vents into the toe kick of the entertainment unit, eliminating any vents protruding from the floors or walls. This allows for more options when placing furniture and carpeting in the room and prevents unwanted debris from entering the duct work.
Similarly, larger air returns can also be hidden, as in this recently-completed whole house remodel. The intricate crown molding detail of the vaulted living room ceiling was already populated with multiple can lights and speakers. To eliminate another interruption of the ceiling architecture, we hid the return air vent and whole house fan air intake inside the skylight wells.
More From KBIS 2017.
02 Sep 2016
By Liza Riguerra
When it comes to old or unused fireplaces, there are a variety of options that will transform the space from an eyesore to a treasured focal point.
In this traditional Noe Valley home in San Francisco, we transformed the living room by dressing the inside of the fireplace with birch logs and replacing the mantel with a more distinctive one. This low-profile fireplace now makes a statement as a beautiful central feature of the room. More photos of this timeless and elegant home can be found on www.riguerradesign.com.
From the easiest to the most labor intensive, here are four ways you can give your fireplace, and thus the entire room, a brand new look.
- Dress the inside. The easiest way to give your fireplace a facelift is to simply liven-up the empty inside space. If you don’t use your fireplace for heating or ambiance, adding a pile of logs, a plant, or a piece of art such as a sculpture can immediately make the space look more finished.
- Paint it. It sounds so simple, yet the effects can be astonishing. A coat of paint can freshen up the whole area, breathing new life into a room. Whether you choose a subtle, neutral tone or a vibrant hue to make the area stand out, this effective method will immediately make the fireplace come to life.
- Replace the mantel and/or the surrounding tile. While adding an inside feature or a coat of paint may be the easiest methods of updating an old fireplace, replacing the mantel or tile are two of the most effective ways to create a standout look. John Hammerschmidt agrees that re-facing a tired fireplace can make the whole room feel fresh and current. “Try a new mantle, a tile surround or even tile all the way to the ceiling,” he says. Look for a ready-made mantel or have one custom made to suit your unique taste. Either way, a new mantel or tile surround can create a dramatic, lasting change.
- Remodel. Maybe you bought a house with a fireplace in the corner, but would prefer to have your entertainment center occupy that space. Or, perhaps you didn’t want a fireplace at all. If this is the case, you can move the fireplace to another area in the room or another room in the house, or remove the fireplace entirely. According to John, “Some people remove the existing wood-burning fireplace altogether because they want to reclaim the space that a brick and mortar fireplace takes up, or they want features that a standard fireplace can’t provide; energy efficiency, lower maintenance, air cleanliness, linearity, remote control, or a see-through option that shares the fireplace between two rooms. While removing a fireplace can be a big job and one that requires the services of a professional, it may be worth the investment to create the look you want for your home.”
Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Riguerra Design is an innovative, award-winning design firm that has helped many clients create their dream homes. If you have questions about interior design, our services, or our process, please give us a call at 415.662.8882 or email us at email@example.com.
17 May 2016
Designer: John & Lynn Hammerschmidt/Photo by Charlie Gibson
Even if you don’t have room for an office, a small dedicated space in your kitchen can serve as your family’s “Command Center.” It can serve as a writing desk, high-tech hub, homework zone and first aid station. It creates the ultimate multi-tasking space! Pay bills, sort mail, schedule appointments, and shop online all while your dinner in simmering. Here are a few options if you are considering incorporating an office area into your kitchen:
Stand-Up Station Designer: David Raymond/Photo: Laura Moss
For folks on the run, a stand-up message center, armoire-like may be the answer. No space required for sitting and the extra bookshelves makes good use of space. With a corkboard backsplash and open bookshelves recessed on all three sides, provides immediate access to binders, calendars, and everything one might need to get out door in the morning.
The Convertible Photo: Shenandoah Cabinetry
Requiring a little more space, is this desk situated at the end of a long countertop. Close to the action but out of the working triangle, the beauty of this layout is that it can also be used as a buffet, or to prep food or roll out a pie crust, by just stowing the office supplies in the drawers. The counter top is high enough to function as a standard kitchen counter, or a counter-height stool can be used for seated tasks.
Mighty Movable Desk
To add an office area to an existing kitchen, a mobile desk is a good way to experiment. It can also transform into an impromptu bar or buffet for entertaining!
Looking for more kitchen office ideas? Homedit Interior Design & Architecture’s article, 20 Clever Ideas To Design A Functional Office In Your Kitchen, will convince you that an empty wall, small table, and a comfortable chair are all you need to incorporate an office into your kitchen.
* To coordinate the style, you can use the same table legs used at the nearby island.
* Designers generally recommend a desk height of 28 to 30 inches and a knee-hole depth of 25 inches.
* A desk “backsplash” made of custom corkboard, chalkboard or dry-erase board keep communication organized. Visit Pinterest for unique bulletin boards creations.
Kitchen Office Organization
Specializing in storage and organization solutions
The Container Store features elfa storage and organization systems which function beautifully in the kitchen!
From Meredith@unOriginalMom Creating a Command Center that Works for Your Family
01 Mar 2016
Talk about an explosion for the senses… With over 1.5 million square feet of exhibit space to cover and over 500 vendor displays, Suzette attended the Kitchen and Bath Industry show to compare new products, get answers straight from the manufacturers, and hear about advances in technology and sustainability in the kitchen and bath industry.
Below you will find just a few of the products our designer wants to share with you.
The Gridscape from Coastal Shower Doors is a multifunctional door that is on the forefront of bathroom trends. This sleek window pane configuration can be ordered as a stand-alone panel, room divider or as a bypass shower door.
All Gridscape divided-light shower doors are available with a choice of three glass types: clear, satin, and smoke grey. The clear glass option combined with the black anodized finish is perfect for those wanting an industrial-modern factory windowpane look; alternatively, the satin frosted glass provides the feel of a Japanese shoji door, and the smoke grey glass contrasted with a chrome metal finish is ideal for those seeking sleek and modern vibe. One key to the success of the design is the versatility. It can be intermixed with an endless number of tastes and styles ranging from industrial modern/steampunk to rustic shabby chic.
Grand View Entries
www.gventries.com Grand View Entries products are unique. GVE is the first patio door manufacturer in the USA to offer both, “custom-sized” shades between the glass and blinds between the glass as a viable option to traditional patio door blinds or shade systems.
Here is a quick summary of the benefits of one of GVE premier products, Café Shades Between the Glass
- A better view! GVE Café Shades are engineered to “raise”from the “bottom-up” and not “lowered” from the “top-down” as most all blinds between the glass systems are designed. GVE Café Shades when lowered will not obstruct view, and allow you to fully take advantage.
- Control. Whether it’s your office, your classroom, your business, you should have control of your domain. With GVE, you control the amount of light, vista, privacy and security to each room.
- Ambiance. GVE Café Shades provide for a softer, warmer, more elegant “feel”. GVE patented Café Shades are made of a pleated fabric and are not your typical aluminum louvers.
- Affordability. When compared to average quality window/door coverings, your cost will be lower.
- >Better Functionality for all types of door systems. Are you thinking about opening up that wall and putting in a large accordion type folding or bi-folding door system? Perhaps a multi-slide pocket door? A new set of French Doors? These multi-panel door systems are large and typically are designed to go floor to ceiling. But what to do about door coverings? GVE has the solution.
- Safety. it is a well known fact that child safety and cords from blind systems has been at the fore-front of consumer safety for years. There is no need to take chances. GVE Café Shades between the glass system is a child-proof system, in the sense that there is no danger of entanglement. If you are a pet lover, the same can be said about protecting your fury friend.
- The Health of your family So lets see, the shades are “in between the glass”? YES! That means they never need cleaning. No dust. No Allergens.
GVE also offers Blinds Between the Glass as well. These have the same benefits as the Café Blinds but they tilt, raise & lower blind operators provide you the maximum ability completely control your light, your view and you privacy by allowing “Tilting” of the louvers while the blinds are in full or partially suspended position.
While KBIS was full of such functional items as hardware, cabinets and sinks, there were also some grownup toys.
Warning: if you are trying to “disconnect” skip this section!
“Mirror, Mirror on the wall…”
Now your mirror can actually talk back to you! Take a look-see at MirrorVue – A mirror with a built-in TV. MirrorVue is a fully waterproof LED TV. Made to order in almost every size and shape with a large selection of beautiful frames to match any décor. Can you image the TV completely vanishes when the TV is turned off. No need to have bulky TV’s hanging and taking up space.
An extraordinary showpiece from Miele
The DA 7000 D Aura island Rangehood combines sleek, stylish elliptical design suspended by four virtually invisible wires, with the ultimate in recirculation technology, ideal for kitchens where ducting is challenging.
offers innovative products, a relentless commitment to quality and a broad range of exquisite surface coverings at an affordable price. At Pera Tile, they “believe in spaces with a soul and a story”. With over 600 SKU’s in their product line, from classical to ultra-modern, it will be pretty easy to find a Pera Tile product that will tell your story. Click here to view Pera Tile Inspiration Gallery. The local rep for this product is Tile Fantastic www.tilefantastic.com 2910 S. Bascom Avenue, San Jose, CA.
is now the European leader in reconstituted decorative stones. MODULO offers a comprehensive range of manufactured stone veneer products and accessories for historical and modern walls, in line with the main decorative trends. MODULO offers a wide range of products that are easy to use and suits all budgets. The result is sure to add value to your home.
With consumers wanting easier and faster solutions, Modulo’s Easy Fix is the answer: a stone veneer that can be installed without grout or glue.
Check out Modulo’s online catalog and you will be amazed at the indoor and outdoor applications available.
Design Milk’s Best of KBIS 2016
Design Milk rounds up editor favorites from the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) 2016: includes Wilsonart (antimicrobial & durable laminate surfaces), Bosch (new small space appliances), Brizo( gorgeous new bath hardware) Wellborn Cabinet (cabinetry that is adjustable!) and Ann Sacks tile(serious eye candy.
Modenus BlogTour KBIS 2016
(KBIS on Pinterest)
If you’re looking to see the most cutting edge design techniques from Design & Construction Week in a real-world application, our friends at @IBSVegas have the ticket: The New American Home® is back for 2016! You can tour the 33rd home in the TNAH series, a 5,050 sq. ft. design wonder.
2016 KBIS Bath Trends
Go behind the scenes with The Editor at Large TV as they spoke with experts at this year’s show about how durable, innovative new technologies and products are emerging for bath design. Check out the footage here:
2016 KBIS Kitchen Trends
Walking through this year’s show, certain trends for the future of kitchen design in 2016 were clear. The Editor at Large TV spoke to some of our industry’s leading designers to find out how kitchen design will shape how we live going forward. Watch here:
01 Feb 2016
The term “Aging in place” refers to the preference of most adults that they remain in their home of choice as long as possible. In fact, 90 percent of adults over the age of 65 report that they would prefer to stay in their current residence as they age. Many considerations regarding aging in place, such as health and wellness, general assistance, and transportation are outside the realm of remodeling. This article focuses on home improvements and remodeling that facilitate the ability to stay in one’s home and provide resources.
As we age, our bodies and capabilities change. Examples of changes you might experience are:
- Reduced vision and hearing
- Decreased muscle strength or endurance
- Reduced mental processing capabilities
- Increased risk of falls due to balance
- Increased risk of illness
- Decreased mobility
Some or all of these changes happen to most everyone. Knowing that this is the case and choosing to have a plan to allow you to stay in your home means you will have a greater chance to control your quality of life and independence. Planning also presents you with an opportunity to lessen the burden on your family by outlining how and where your needs are met as well as, lessening the need for emergency assistance from community resources.
When we’re vibrant and independent, we rarely give consideration to aging-in-place concerns. However, it’s best to make changes in advance rather than when there is a crisis. Many of these ideas could benefit everyone, not just the elderly, but they become increasingly important, as we age. Here are three areas to consider as a starting point for aging in place changes to your home: Decluttering, Accessibility and Safety.
The first step in facilitating aging in place improvements in your home is decluttering. Decluttering will allow you to assess how much space you really need if you are considering downsizing to a smaller home or retirement community.
AARP’s HomeFit Guide offers advice on how to prepare a home for aging in place and reminds us that decluttering and organizing your belongings while you are young enough to tackle the job allows you to:
- Access what you want easily.
- Enjoy memories stored in mementos, photos, letters, videos and other treasures.
- Reorganize possessions for safe reach.
- Maneuver more easily through the home in case you become disabled.
Once you have tackled decluttering your home, look for ways to organize your items to make them accessible. To make things easy to reach, you’ll want storage that’s not too high and not too close to the floor. If you’re able to remodel your kitchen, the AARP suggests that you hang your upper cabinets 12 to 15 inches above the countertop instead of the normal 18 inches and place your lower cabinets six inches above the floor.
You could also install Pull Down Shelving in existing upper cabinets. For lower cabinets, adding rollout shelves (or replacing the cabinets with drawers) can make things much more accessible. Anne-Marie Brunet at Next Avenue provides numerous examples of how lower cabinets can be replaced or redesigned.
When it comes to the clothes closets, storage solutions that get the shoes off the floor are generally a good idea since bending becomes harder with age. Pull-down closet rods can make clothes easier to reach in closets where the rods are fairly high. Most people will be satisfied with far simpler solutions, but it’s still interesting to see the innovative storage products that are available to keep things within easy reach.
Safety and Lighting
There are many risks for injury to older adults in the household that impact their ability to successfully age in place. Among the greatest threats is falling. According to the CDC, falls are the leading cause of injuries leading to death among older adults. Common features in an everyday household, such as a lack of support in the shower or bathroom, inadequate railings on the stairs, loose throw rugs, and obstructed pathways, and poor lighting are all possible dangers to an older person.
Additional railings, grab bars, a hand-held shower head, walk-in bathtubs, curb-less showers with seats, nonskid flooring, removal of throw rugs and clutter, and increased lighting with accessible 3-way switches are all improvements that will create a safer environment.
Seniors need two to three times as much light to see as well as younger people. Low lighting may contribute to slips, trips and falls by lowering visibility of hazards such as unexpected steps or sudden changes in floor surfaces. Ways to increase light in the home include:
- Consider toe-kick lighting in the bathroom or kitchen to provide visual cuing and an additional reference point for judging distance or depth when entering a space or approaching objects.
- Add a skylights or solar tubes in dim hallways or dark rooms.
- For nightlights, SnapPower makes an outlet cover with a built- in night light.
For more lighting recommendations, check out Lamps Plus 25 Lighting Tips for Seniors.
Decluttering and Organizing
StorageMotion Inc. is a company that is dedicated to creating all types of products that improve closet and home design and dramatically increase the amount of useable space. Their products are automatic and power-assisted so that anyone can use them.
Whether you have thirty seconds, one minute, five minutes, or fifteen minutes, this organizing daily devotional offers tips, checklists, weekend projects, quizzes, and encouragement that will help you find the time, motivation, and permission to let go of sentimental clutter, set up storage solutions, and establish routines that make sense for your life.
National Association of Home Builders
We are fortunate to have several quality senior programs in the Bay Area, including Avenidas Village.
Avenidas supports seniors in various aspects of senior living. Last year, as an approved contractor, Hammerschmidt Construction was invited to participate at their vendor fair. It was at this fair that we found a comprehensive check-list of Home Safety Recommendations for Aging-in-Place, complements of Nancy Goldcamp from Coldwell Banker.
Did you know that seniors and the homebound residing on the Peninsula and in the South Bay may request free assistance with household tasks through REALTOR® Service Volunteer Program (RSVP)?
2016 RSVP week will be in May. (Look for more info in the Los Altos Town Crier next month)
RSVP 2015 sample BROCHURE
Senior Helpers is an in-home care-giving franchise that recently moved to Los Altos. They offer personal care and companion services.
01 Jan 2016
For the first time, Pantone the world-renowned authority on color and provider of color systems for the selection and communication of color across industries, has chosen a pair of baby-hued pastels as the Color of the Year — Rose Quartz (a kind of mineral pink) and Serenity (a light blue).
The team at Pantone see this as “A symbolic color selection; a color snapshot of what we see taking place in our culture that serves as an expression of a mood and an attitude. Rose Quartz is a persuasive yet gentle tone that conveys compassion and a sense of composure. Serenity is weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times.”
We need all the help we can get. It’s a good thing that Leatrice Eiseman is looking out for all of us. Who is Ms. Eiseman? For the last 30 years, she has been the Executive Director at the Pantone Color Institute. Lee is widely quoted and is recognized by Fortune Magazine and the Wall Street Journal as one of the most influential people in the world of color.
“We wanted compassion, which today a lot of people are looking for,” Ms. Eiseman says. Pantone’s news release describes the colors as “inducing feelings of stability, constancy, comfort and relaxation,” and argues that they “create balance in a chaotic world.”
Rose Quartz and Serenity Color Pairings
Whether in soft or hard surface materials, the pairing of Rose Quartz and Serenity brings calm and relaxation. Appealing in all finishes, matte, metallic, and glossy, the engaging combo joins easily with other mid-tones including greens and purples, rich browns, and all shades of yellow and pink. Add in silver or hot brights for more splash and sparkle. View Pantone’s website to learn more.
Below are 10 home furnishings to match Patone’s latest selections. Do they invoke a sense of tranquility and inner peace?
- Ambit Pendant Lamp by TAF Architects for Muuto
- Aalto Vase by Alvar Aalto from Iittala
- Denim Cushion from BoConcept
- Askew Vase from CB2
- Nairutya – Citron Pillow from Eskayel
- SMEG Toaster
- Ruché Chair by Inga Sempé for Ligne Roset
- Tallow Candle by Ontwerpduo
- Pivot No 1 Shelf from Hay
- Hai Chair Razzle Dazzle by Luca Nichetto for Hem
Leatrice Eiseman is the author of several books. Below are 2 of her 9 books on color.
KitchenAid’s stand mixer in Guava Glaze.
Check out this Diebenkorn piece that incorporates flashes of both colors. At ART.com you will find how to accent with these colors and to find art that incorporates both shades.