It’s that time again. Each May, we celebrate “National Remodeling Month.” What a perfect tie-in to aging in place renovations.
Some years, comparing purchasing a new home or having one built, acquiring an existing pre-owned home, or remaining in place with or withourt any renovations, the nod goes goes to new construction because new homes are more plentiful, easier to acquire, and more accommodating for what people want in their home rather than working within the four walls of their existing residence or choosing something other than a new home. During downturns in the economy, people invest in maintaining the homes they have and are less inclined to consider new construction. This is historically speaking. The past decade, however, we can toss out this historical reference.
People are still buying new construction. In some respects, it has never been stronger. Builders are quite active, and mortgage interest rates remain favorable. In responses to market demand and to remain competitive with what people are dong with their existing homes, new homes are including more technology and more accessible designs. The largest change, however, is the number of people remaining in their current homes and doing nothing with them in terms of addressing shortcomings they may perceive, doing minor repairs and updates, or making major renovations to them.
Since this is National Remodeling Month, it’s the perfect time to focus on what many people are doing to remain in place in their current homes. There are so many improvements they can make from simple and inexpensive to more elaborate. Complete makeovers are not out of the question – where just the exterior walls (not necessarily all of them) remain intact but most everything is subject to change.
People are examining entrances into their homes to make them more accessible and easier to navigate for themselves, visiting relatives, and friends and neighbors they may entertain. They are adding lights inside and out, which is so easy to do with the adoption of LED lighting. The variety of styles, colors, and lighting output is more than it ever has been in history, They are more efficient and less expensive to operate plus they are quite sustainable also.
Kitchens and bathrooms continue to be the focus of home renovations, but with a major twist. Historically, people have redone a kitchen or modernized a bathroom (or more than one) to make the home more saleable. It was a cost-benefit situation. People looked at what they needed to spend, or how much they could invest, in a renovation to make the home more appealing and competitive. They analyzed how much additional value this would give them and what the potential financial return at the time of sale might be.
They were willing to enjoy their new kitchen or bathroom, but they were designing it more for the marketplace and what they felt potential home shoppers would want rather than for themselves and their own needs. That was then. There is still some of this, but the emphasis has changed dramatically.
People are now designing for their own needs – to allow them to remain comfortably and functionally in their present home for many years to come. At such time as they do decide to sell their current home, these renovations should not be lost on the marketplace, it’s just that this is not their primary emphasis in making them. They are inwardly focused (to themselves and their families) rather than looking outward (to the marketplace and what they interpret as market desires).
People are willing to invest in kitchen makeovers – which often extend to other areas of the home – that involve more durable and safer to use hard surface flooring, brighter and more plentiful lighting sources, more accessible cabinets (with pullouts and more variety in shelving), more efficient appliances, and seating and serving areas that are more accommodating. Just with lighting alone, people have multiple options. In addition to overhead, ceiling fixtures (and there are multiple options here as well), people have indirect cove lighting, under-cabinet lighting, toe-kick lighting, in-cabinet lighting that illuminates when doors are opened or through glass door panels, and accent lighting over work areas and islands.
Cabinets are no longer just rectangular boxes with horizontal shelves (fixed or adjustable). There are a variety of inserts that can be installed to bring the contents of any cabinet to the use – swing out, pull-down, slide-out, rise-up, and more. Plus, there are more dividers and bins being used.
There is so much more going on in renovation potential in the kitchen, bath, hallway, entrance, outdoor spaces, and other areas of the home. National Remodeling Month is a great time to celebrate what we are able to do to remain in place in our present homes as we age in place – ourselves, our clients, and the those we would like to meet and begin serving.