accessible ground floor suite after constructionThinking about where you will live as you get older? Ever wonder if you will be able to stay in your current home? Have you been thinking about the feasibility of moving your parents in to live with you?

It’s amazing how often we are approached by people looking for help with these decisions from an architectural and construction standpoint. Some folks are getting close to retirement. Others are facing disability challenges and are having difficulty getting around in their current home. And then there are the children who would like their parents to stay in the home they grew up in, or those that would like their parents to move in with them in order to help their aging parents out. The common theme…they would rather stay in a home they love, than move to an assisted living facility.

Most older homes were not designed or constructed for aging in place living. Bedrooms and bathrooms are typically located upstairs and are hard to reach for people with leg, hip, back or balance issues. Often, people have been looking around for another house before they contact us for help. The reality is however, there simply aren’t many accessible single-family homes available around here.

accessible addition during constructionWhy are they contacting Harmoni Designs and Harmoni Build? Mostly because they are looking for professional design and construction guidance about the feasibility of making an existing home accessible or for adding on. There are of course many things to consider as with any design and construction project, but some of the key items related to converting for accessible living often include:

  1. Are they allowed to add on given zoning restrictions and setbacks?
  2. Will a zoning variance be required? If so, how do you go about getting one? In most instances, it requires the involvement of a licensed architect.
  3. Is it cost effective to add onto or convert parts of the existing home?
  4. What about resale value? Does it make sense to add on or remodel?
  5. What will the addition or remodel look like?

There are lots of unfamiliar and sometimes complex considerations to work through and having trustworthy design and construction professionals helping is important. This is often even more important for people that are getting a little older as they want to make sure everything runs smoothly and is done properly.

The project we are featuring in this newsletter was designed and constructed by Harmoni Designs and Harmoni Build for an elderly couple, Mary Ann and Doug, who live in Cleveland Heights. They already had a very nice home with a beautiful garden. They loved their neighborhood and wanted to stay if possible. However, all their bedrooms and bathrooms were on upper floors. Being concerned about what the future might bring in terms of being able to get up and down the stairs, Mary Ann and Doug contact Harmoni Designs after being referred by their next-door neighbor, an architect specializing in commercial design. Since they were concerned about design and construction quality, he recommended contacting us for a design-build solution.

Ground floor master suite additionAs we worked through the design process with Mary Ann and Doug, it was determined that they needed a ground floor master suite that would be accessible. However, they didn’t need it to function as a master suite right away as they both were still able to climb the stairs. Through some creative thinking, it was decided that a multi-functional suite would be the perfect answer for them. An addition was therefore designed and constructed to function as a guest suite when needed to house visiting family and friends. Between having guests, the bedroom would function as a year-round sunroom with nice views and direct access to the garden and patio outside. In the future, when Mary Ann and Doug find the need to move their master bedroom downstairs, the suite will be move-in ready. The suite features a very nice accessible bathroom with grab bars, hand-held showering, etc., and closet space as well. They absolutely love the addition and have told us that they have received a great number of compliments from neighbors about how nicely the addition ties in with the existing home.

Aging in Place bathroomAre you thinking of adding onto a home this coming spring? If so, now is the time to get started with the planning, design and pricing process. If you or someone you love are looking for assistance, we are here to help!