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October 2007 - [Sustainable Concepts] Designing for Retirement and an Eco-friendly lodge
Sustainable Concepts )
Design Forward Newsletter October 2007, vol. 55
in this issue
  • Designing for Retirement
  • Eco-friendly lodge
  • Feedback


    Welcome to the October 2007 newsletter from Design Forward. Please take some time to enjoy this month's features.

    Quote of the Month: "Retirement has been a discovery of beauty for me. I never had the time before to notice the beauty of my grandkids, my wife, the tree outside my very own front door. And, the beauty of time itself."
    -Hartman Jule

    Lisa A. Swan

    Designing for Retirement

    Designing a home for retirement can be a dream come true for many people. It is the opportunity to build the home they always wanted and focus on spaces for themselves. With family and children grown up and moved away, designing a home for two growing into old age has special considerations. Here are 10 ideas to consider for you retirement home:

    1. A single level floor plan is the easiest for getting around. If designing a multi-story, be sure to put one full bedroom and bathroom on the first level.
    2. Consider an open floor plan that eliminates hallways and is the easiest plan to modify for changing needs in later years.
    3. Design all hallways at 4'-0" wide and doors at 3'-0" wide for wheelchair access, in case it is needed in the future. Use the lever style door handles instead of knobs.
    4. Put light switches and climate controls no more than 48" off the ground for easy reach in a wheelchair. Use rocker light switches, which are easier to push.
    5. In the kitchen, designate areas using low height counters where you can sit to complete basic tasks such as chopping vegetables or kneading bread.
    6. Low maintenance appliances and surfaces - consider countertops with anti-microbial finishes and features that make life easier, such as a pot-filler faucet located next to the stove or a separate sink for washing fruits and vegetables.
    7. When designing a bathroom, consider walk-in showers with a separate tub. This gives a more luxurious bathroom experience, but also allows for practicality if mobility is limited or a wheelchair is needed later in life.
    8. Choose hand-held showerheads for easy use while sitting, a shower with a built-in seat and do not design a shower with a curb, instead use a gently sloped floor.
    9. Outdoor kitchen - if you love to be outdoors or barbeque, building an outdoor kitchen can make dining outside a pleasure. It eliminates several trips back and forth between the main kitchen and outside, and gives you all the luxury of using the outdoors. A small kitchenette with a sink, under the counter refrigerator, icemaker, grill and hot plate can be perfect for warm climates and year-round use.
    10. Oversize the garage to make it easier to get in and out of the car, especially if you park more than one car. The standard two-car garages are just enough to get in and out, but larger garage will allow for easy access.

    Article Lisa A. Swan. Photo www.democratherald.com/wib/

    Eco-friendly lodge

    Carol Ann Garrett doesn't mind that there is grass growing on the roof of her house. In fact, she encourages it.

    The Lodge at Lick Creek she built in Copper Hill is an eco-friendly dwelling, with a mammoth, eight-sided greatroom with walls built of cordwood, a bedroom built of straw and solar "trees" that provide electricity for sun-powered refrigerators.

    What first raised Garrett's consciousness about the need to take care of the environment and work with it came the summer her son, Shawn, was born. He's now a sophomore at the University of Virginia at Wise.

    "Needles were washing up on the shore in New Jersey because trash barges were dumping medical wastes in the ocean," she said. "I got to thinking about all those disposable diapers that don't biodegrade."

    It was not until 2000 after the former New York City fashion designer - who did fashion shows with Peter Max and skinny model Twiggy and spent time flying between the Big Apple and glamorous places all over the world - had an opportunity to build her environmentally friendly retreat.

    She spent more than four years - and her retirement fund - building the lodge on 38 acres just across the Roanoke County line, pretty much half-way between Roanoke and Blacksburg.

    In April, the lodge was featured in the Go Green Initiative 2007 Tour as an environmental retreat attraction.

    Article Meg Hibbert. Picture ourvalley.org


    Design Forward works toward promoting Sustainable Design. If you know of a project that should be featured, please contact us. Let us know why you think it should be featured and give us a basic intro to the project, the sustainable elements and any websites or contact information.

    If you would like to submit a fun and/or entertaining quote about architecture, building, the environment or such, send it in! If it at all possible, include the author.

    If you have any other feedback concerning this publication, please feel free to send an email or use the form.

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