Imagine moving into a house twenty years ago (plus or minus) and living in it for better or worse but not being totally committed to staying in it. There always was that possibility that another house could be found and that the occupants of this home would move into it to keep going with their lives.
The current home wasn’t designed to grow old with them in the way they had imagined and now is slightly at odds with their needs.
When they had moved into it, they loved it. That house which they embraced as their home at the time, not knowing how long they would stay there or what their future needs might suggest, was ideal for them when they started. It was just a husband and wife with no children, or possibly a family with young, pre-school age children. Over the years, they had children to begin a family or those young children became older, and the ability of that home to accommodate their needs was not keeping up with how they were using it.
A home that they had purchased hoping they would be able to stay in it for a while, with no timetable assigned to it and no particular thoughts or projected date of moving from it either, suddenly became less of a friendly environment for them and much more of a challenge. Closet space was at a premium, the kitchen was too small, the bathrooms did not accommodate everyone, visitors did not have the amount of space they needed to be comfortable while interacting with the family, and the home suddenly began to feel like it was at odds with the family. It felt constrictive and restrictive to what they wanted their home to allow them to do.
While they generally liked their home and wanted to continue living there because of the neighborhood, the location, and the memories of raising their family, their home just wasn’t working for them anymore. Was the only option to look for someplace else to live and to move? What about remodeling or renovating that space?
Until fairly recently, people generally thought that the best way, if not the only way, to meet their current needs when the home they had was failing to accommodate them sufficiently, was to find a different home – new construction or an existing residence – and move into it. This is still being done for people changing neighborhoods or downsizing, but it’s not the only option for dealing with an uncooperative home. In fact, it likely is not the best one either.
Older homes have a certain amount of charm and are chosen for their architectural style, among other characteristics of them. However, without any major updates, they may have inadequate wiring or circuits, doorways or hallways (or both) that are too narrow to allow comfortable access for them and their guests – especially anyone using some type of assistive device, kitchens without sufficient cabinetry, older appliances, hard-to-reach shelves (especially in closets and wall cabinets), hardware that is difficult to use to open doors or drawers, windows that are relatively small or hard to open, and lighting that is inadequate or an older style.
Fortunately, any of these complaints or issues can be addressed by a handyman, contractor, designer, or remodeler as part of an aging in place renovation and makeover. We won’t know what someone needs without doing a home assessment, so that is the first step. We need to determine what exists, how it can be modified or improved, and what the needs and desires are of the occupants of the home. In some cases, the home cannot be reconfigured easily without it being a major expenditure. However, we won’t know until we at least do the assessment or evaluation. We have to learn a starting point and then we can proceed from there.
The great thing about doing a renovation to turn an outdated or uncooperative home into a functional one is that there are so many options available across a wide range of budgets and finishes. There is something for everyone from a simple fix to a more elaborate and complete one. There is nothing established that has to be done to bring a twenty-year-old home up-to-date except building codes that might apply to wiring, doors, windows, hallways, egress, or certain building materials.
Other than that, we are free to help our clients create an effective renovation of their home that works for them – and just them. It doesn’t need to appeal to anyone else, with the possible exception of their guests is they entertain frequently or invite others into their home. We can turn a home that they had hoped would serve them for many years without really knowing what they might need or how their lives would change over time into one that can be their forever home and remain their residence for as long as they desire.