How To Know When Your Home Isn’t Meeting Your Needs

How To Know When Your Home Isn’t Meeting Your Needs

 

Homes come in all shapes and sizes.  Some are spacious, and some are small.  Some are clean and simple, while others are cluttered with things we love. When we’re young and active, we never give a second thought to feeling confident and safe doing everyday basic things around this place we call home.  It’s a given…right? You’ve set it up and decorated it exactly the way you love.  So, how do you know when your home isn’t serving your needs? It happens when you least expect it, and not always when you’re ready.

Several years ago I became a Certified Aging In Place Specialist (CAPS).  During the two day course we learned how to modify homes so that clients can live there as long as they choose.  Basically, we learned how to make life easier in our homes as we age.  Little did I know, how several years later, we’d be needing these design tweaks in our own home!

Since helping clients remodel their kitchens and baths is my all-time favorite thing to do, I always recommend putting these Universal Design principals into place in these rooms.  But I also know that as aging Boomers, we think we don’t need them.  We still have the image of the institutional bathroom in our minds, and can’t face the thought of installing grab bars just yet. 

Well, that’s what I thought too, until the unexpected happened.  When my husband had his knee replaced a few years ago, we discovered all kinds of design issues with our three story townhouse.  This was certainly something we never considered when we bought it. The doorways were only 28” wide when a walker is 30”.  There were no grab bars in the bathroom, and too many stairs to maneuver that required him to stay in the lower level for weeks. Check out my blog post to learn more about it.

I was determined that all of these issues would be corrected when we designed our new home.  Every shower wall and toilet area was prepped for grab bars.  No need to actually install them now.  We’re healthy and active.  Doorways are 36”…check.  Plenty of good lighting…check.  Wide open walkways…check.  Appliances at a user friendly level…check.  We are good to go!

Or so we thought.  Until my own foot issues kept getting worse and worse.  I put off the much needed surgery for as long as I could, asking friends what to expect. 

I learned that I needed a knee scooter and crutches.  I learned that to maneuver the stairs, sometimes you just have to sit down and scoot.  Crazy, I know.  But sometimes you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do to make it all work.

What I didn’t hear from anyone was some basic advice that we all know and just don’t think about.

  • A curb-less shower would have made entering the shower so much easier, and I would have felt more confident. No problem with the actual showering, because a bench seat and hand held shower have made it so easy.
  • The beautiful accent rugs gracing our floors had to go. Yes, they are rolled up and sitting on the sidelines waiting for full recovery day.  Again, safety and confidence is an issue.
  • Grab bars in the shower would help the fear of losing balance and falling.
  • Grab bars next to the toilet, or even a temporary raised toilet seat with built in grab bars, would make life easier.
  • And this one thing, that has nothing to do with your home but everything to do with your physical body, is to exercise. For me it’s yoga…a strength building intense yoga…at least two days a week.  Had it not been for my yoga instructors Karen, Nancy, and Caren always stressing the need for balance and strong bodies as we get older, this journey would be a struggle.

As recovery continued, life got a little easier each day.  My “recliner office” was all set up, and I was plugged in to all my devices trying to get work done.  Life’s an adventure, I always say.  And now I know how to be prepared for “the next time.” 

Your Design Homework: 

  • Take a walk around your home. Check the doorways, the bathrooms, the floors.
  • Now make a list of the little things you can put in place that will make your life easier if you need to have an unplanned surgery…or an accident. Can you add grab bars to you shower or toilet areas?  Are your doorways at least 32” wide?  Do you have rugs that might cause you to trip if you were on crutches?

 

THE BIG MISTAKE MOST DIY’ers MAKE And How to Avoid It

THE BIG MISTAKE MOST DIY’ers MAKE And How to Avoid It

 

Most of us love a good DIY project every now and then.  I mean, who doesn’t love the challenge of planning a project and seeing it through to the end?  And then there’s the added bonus of saving a little money.  But lately, I’ve been hearing from a lot of Design-It-Yourself’ers that they’re disappointed in the way their remodels are turning out.  As I listen to their concerns, one common thread stands out loud and clear.  The biggest mistake they’re making is not communicating EXACTLY what they want to the people who are helping them. 

Being over-the-moon excited with your finished design project is what you dream of.  The vision you have in your head is sometimes the only thing that keeps you going when the dust and drilling is getting on your last nerve.  But unless you get that vision out of your head and onto paper, you might be headed for disappointment.  No one can read your mind, so communication is the key to your project’s success.

Somehow, in the rush of our crazy lives, the small details seem to get lost in the shuffle.  We assume  “they should know that”.  But they don’t.  Everyone working for you has their own idea of how something should be installed.   It might be standard in their industry, but not how you want it to look.

Here are just a few of those little details you need to consider:

 1. The height of your shower head.  Where do you want it?  Be sure to tell your plumber or contractor.

2.  The height of the tile in your shower.  Do you want it to go to the ceiling?  Is there crown molding?

3.  Garbage disposer…Do you want it on the small bowl side or the large?  On the left bowl or the right?  There is no right or wrong answer here, but you need to communicate this with the plumber.  If you think about how you like to work at your sink, and plan accordingly, incorrect installations won’t happen.

4.  Counter top overhang.  Standard is 1 1/4″ – 1 1/2″.  Make that clear with your counter top people.  Check it for consistency once it’s installed.  In my own kitchen, the first installation had different overhangs all around the island and had to be re-done.

5.  How high do you want your window treatments hung?  To the ceiling?  To the top of your trim?  Somewhere in between?  You need to decide this before they’re constructed and then communicate this to the installer.

6.  Placement of pendant lights.  Size of the pendants and size of the island usually determine how far apart they should be.  Your installer may have a different opinion than you do, so make it clear ahead of time.  Also, ceiling beams or joists may throw a wrench into the plan.  Keeping an open line of communication with your installers and contractor will make these last minute changes less stressful.

7.  Exact placement of mirrors and vanity lights.  This is determined by ceiling height, backsplash height, size of the lights, etc.  Plan and ahead and then communicate this plan to everyone involved, especially if you can’t be there when they’re installed.

To avoid miscommunication on your design project:

  • Ask a lot questions about the little details so you know what to expect.
  • Understand that, if the details aren’t spelled out in advance, you’ll get calls for last minute decisions.  If you’re not available to answer, something might get installed where you don’t want it.
  • Plan out every detail of your project before construction begins and make sure your contractor and subs are on board.
  • Arrange to have daily or weekly updates on progress.
  • Hire an interior designer to handle these details for you.  A designer will make sure they’re installed according to your vision.

Always remember that how well you communicate your design vision determines how happy you’ll be in the end.  And that’s exactly what everyone wants for you!

If you’re finally ready to begin your own home makeover, contact us today to schedule a Design Success call and get your project started in the right direction .  Info@RandiDestefano.com  

 

Bathroom Results You’ll Love: Bathroom Remodeling Tips

bathroomwhiteWhen it comes to remodeling your bathroom it’s important to remember that it’s one of the main rooms in your home.  So besides looking stylish, you want to make sure that it functions just the way you need it to.  Do you just need the basics?  Or do you crave a spa-like bathroom that you can retreat to at the end of a long, crazy day?

 

Quote Steve Jobs

 

By considering these 5 bathroom remodeling tips, you’ll be on your way to the bathroom of your dreams…one that’s not only beautiful, but functional.

1.  Dream big…then get real

 

brick wall bathroomPhoto courtesy of Colorado Homes and Lifestyles

Make a list of everything you want in your bathroom remodeling.  Think about how you like to shower.  Do you dream of a handheld or a rain shower head?  What finish do you like on the fixtures?  After you’ve made your Dream List, take another sheet of paper and make a list of exactly what you know you need to make it better but not break the bank.  Somewhere in the middle will be your reality.  But if you don’t make these lists, you’ll never know.

2.  Make a plan…and stick to the plan

 

tub into shower

 

Changing your mind about the products you use in your bathroom can get expensive, especially if you’re moving things around.  Most showrooms will not let you return product.  And if they do, there will be a restocking fee.  And your contractor will also bill you for any changes that aren’t written in the contract.  So that means…If you’re turning a tub into a shower, don’t change your mind and decide to put the toilet there instead!

3.  Keep price in mind

 

river rock bathroomPhoto courtesy of Colorado Homes and Lifestyles

Your bathroom will have a lot of materials to make it complete.  When you work with your designer, she’ll be able to help you decide where to save money and where to splurge depending on what you value most.  Do you want the full-out showering experience?  Then multiple jets, and two shower heads might be the way for you.  One thing I’ve learned is that bathrooms are very labor intensive.  When planning your budget consider that labor might cost twice as much as your materials.

4.  Find the right contractor/installer

 

platform bathroomPhoto courtesy of Colorado Homes and Lifestyles

 

As I mentioned in tip #3, bathrooms are labor intensive.  So it’s really important to hire a contractor and/or installer who knows what they’re doing.  And it’s even more important to tell them EXACTLY what you want.  They can’t read your mind, and if you’re not specific, you’ll get their vision for your bathroom.  Make a list of questions to ask when you interview them.  And, in fairness to all, make sure you ask the same question to every contractor you’re interviewing.  This way they can all be bidding on the same project concept and you’ll have a more accurate bid.

5.  The right designer can make all the difference

 

wood panel bathroomPhoto courtesy of Colorado Homes and Lifestyles

 

Your dream bathroom is going to be your personal retreat.  It’s a space to relax at the end of a tiring day.  And it’s a space that requires a lot of decisions. Did you know that bathrooms are the number one room for falls to occur?  A designer always takes that into consideration when designing your space.   Turning a drab, funky bathroom and turn it into something magical is what a designer does best.  From adding more organized storage, to creating that WOW focal point, your designer will take your needs and wants, and turn them into a dream bathroom just for you.

 

Roswell, GA – Master Bathroom Remodel

Relocating an awkwardly placed shower was at the top of the list for designing this 1980’s remodel.  The cabinets, plumbing fixtures, and tile were a bit outdated, and the floor plan no longer suited the homeowners.