Age in Place Later; Make Good Design Choices Now  

Whether you’ve found the home you want to grow old in or you’re planning for an elderly relative to move in with your family, the design choices you make now should be made with a weather eye to the future.

You’ll want to consider adding those independent-living accessories now that will make life easier and safer for you or a relative down the road. Here are some suggestions.

Keep the kitchen safe and accessible by skipping trendy remodels that could transform it into an obstacle course.

Round the edges of countertops and shelves to reduce the risk of bumps and bruises. Place the microwave at or below counter height to eliminate the need to reach for hot dishes; frailer individuals have difficulty lifting and carrying cookware, which may cause spills and slipping hazards.

Also, make allowances for walkers or wheelchairs with lower countertops and extra space.

Consider installing a pull-out pantry with drawers that display all contents at a glance and permit easy access.

Note that U-shaped kitchen guidelines call for at least 60 inches (152 cm) of clearance between opposite cabinets, walls, or appliances; galley kitchens, a minimum of 40 inches (102 cm).

The bathroom can be a dangerous place for elderly people. Experts recommend you elevate the toilet, and install grab bars for getting in and out of the shower or tub safely.

Many designers are now including these features as a matter of course, so they needn’t negatively impact the resale value of your home.

Make sure the floors of your home are slip-resistant. Vinyl flooring offers good slip resistance and softness underfoot.

Tile floors should have enough grout and texture to grip. If your home’s interior has a few steps up to a landing or doorway, consider installing a threshold ramp; several kinds of affordable and easy-to-install rubber ramps are now available.

Well-considered changes now will make a big difference later.

Your Dream FROG Can Add Space and Value to Your Home  

Instead of just a place to store stuff (and maybe to accommodate your car), your garage may also be a moneymaker.

If you’re fortunate enough to have a FROG over your garage, you may be missing out on something.

Your finished room over garage (or FROG) could be the perfect spot for a game room, kids’ play spot, or best of all (financially speaking), a rental property.

FROGS and bonus rooms are widely popular with buyers these days. And while it certainly hasn’t reached the stage where you won’t be able to sell your home without a FROG, you will add value and may be able to get a higher price with one.

According to an article at ThisOldHouse.com, a FROG can be a cost-effective way to add space. In the article, architect Mary Dorsey Brewster notes, “An over-the-garage addition doesn’t increase a house’s footprint, which helps reduce costs…

But it also presents unique challenges in planning and construction.”  These include local bylaws and fire and safety regulations as well as a host of potential structural and design problems.

Building your dream FROG won’t be cheap: you will need special insulation and will have to heat, cool, and plumb it – and that’s just for a start. You’ll also need an entrance, and you may have to install more windows or skylights to bring in natural light.

FROGs can add to your home’s curb appeal or they can look like poorly done add-ons. Hire experts to design and build your FROG. You’ll be glad you did.