At Red House Design Build, we understand that life changes often trigger a desire for transformative home renovations, especially as homeowners approach retirement. With the majority of adults over 50 in the US planning to stay in their homes for the long term, we recognize the importance of creating spaces that accommodate the evolving needs of their owners. In Rhode Island, where nearly 19% of the 1.1 million residents are aged 65 and older, according to Census data, the demand for home upgrades to age in place is on the rise.
As the Baby Boomer generation ages, homeowners are realizing that large, multi-story homes typical of New England may not be the most suitable for their long-term living plans. To address this, many folks are proactively seeking solutions to make their homes more age-friendly. In this week’s blog, we’ll explore some fundamental home upgrades for aging in place in Rhode Island.
The bathroom is one of the first areas to address when considering aging in place. Installing features such as grab bars, walk-in showers (especially threshold-free), and non-slip flooring can significantly enhance safety without compromising style. At Red House, our designers work closely with our clients to ensure the final result meets both their practical and aesthetic preferences. Check out our portfolio page on bathrooms to see more!
One of the most straightforward changes homeowners can make to create a more age-friendly home is to replace traditional doorknobs with lever handles. As we age, doorknobs become more challenging to grasp, especially if arthritis becomes a factor. Lever-style door hardware solves this problem, even adding a touch of modernity to the look (though there are also traditional-look levers). At Red House’s new client studio in our home office, we have multiple models of Emtek hardware sets to help our clients choose the best hardware for their dexterity-driven needs.
Additionally, widening doorways is another way to make a substantial difference in accessibility. New England homes, aged and majestic as they are, sometimes have narrower doors that predate modern building standards. Widening these openings to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs while installing zero-clearance thresholds can make a huge difference in navigating your home safely and easily.
Kitchens are the heart of the home and bread and butter of our projects at Red House Design Build, and making accommodations for aging home cooks is a popular aspect of kitchen renovations, with many opportunities to improve. For instance, designing cabinetry and counters slightly lower than standard (about three inches) makes reaching up and bending down easier to grab kitchen accouterments. Similarly, incorporating specialized shelves to hold flatware and small appliances is more ergonomic for everyone, not just older homeowners. Other upgrades include increasing lighting levels, induction cooktops with automatic shutoffs, and easy-to-grab cabinet hardware–all things our designers and builders are well versed in.
Even for ‘younguns,’ stairs can be a bit of a chore, and for older homeowners, stairs can become even more arduous. That’s why concentrating the highest-used spaces in your home on the ground floor is an important part of aging in place (installing a stair lift or elevator works, too). Red House Designers specialize in reimagining and rethinking floor plans to help optimize the convenience and accessibility of homes and can include solutions like removing walls to create more open spaces or even planning for a home addition.
At Red House Design Build, our commitment to making your dream home a reality–no matter your age–is at the core of what we do. If you’re considering home upgrades to age in place in Rhode Island, it’s never too early to start planning–contact us today to schedule your discovery call, and let’s get started!