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Designing Your Forever Home? How to Plan for Now and Then

While you are in the design phase for your forever home, your mind whirls with all the features you need in your home now. But don’t forget to think through what you may need from your home in the future, too, so you have the perfect place to live for the rest of your life.

We’d like to give you a few ideas to chew on so that your dream home of today is still your dream home tomorrow.

Decide how you will use your home’s space in the future

Maybe you need four bedrooms—for three children and a guest room—right now. As you look ahead, consider how you may want to use all that glorious extra space for yourself when the kids leave the nest. Will you want a home gym? A yoga studio? A home office or craft room? Maybe a remote place for your husband to display his model trains?

Will you want a potential in-law suite?

If you have the patience to deal with your in-laws or your grown children living with you, maybe you’d like to have the flexibility to quickly transform part of your home into a mother-in-law suite? Then you can adjust to your family’s changing circumstances while staying in the forever home you love.

A full bathroom, a bedroom, a living room area, and room for a small kitchenette (with a sink), would be a charming secondary suite or attached apartment.

Before committing to a specific house plan, think through all the possible options.

  • Would it be better to have the kids’ bedrooms in the basement, perhaps, with a ground-level entrance than on a second floor? 
  • Would an outbuilding (like a granny flat or casita) be a better option for your mother-in-law to provide additional privacy and independence for her—and (even more importantly) more sanity for you? 

The great thing about an attached apartment, detached apartment, or accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is that you can also use that space as guest housing for your grandchildren to stay over, an Air BNB, or a rental. 

Another plus to having dual master bedrooms is that you can get away for your own little stay-cation on the other side of the house if your husband is sick or snoring. Or if you just need some extended “me time.”

Built in bench in a utility room with french doors overlooking a deck

Live happily-ever-after with universal design principles

It’s easy to make adjustments during the design process. This is the time to think through everything you could ever possibly desire. We want you to have a forever home you will always love. 

Universal home design makes a forever home possible

A good universal design definition might be—it’s a way to approach home design for accessibility for everyone. This way, anyone can easily use the space. Your sweet grandkids. Your cranky father-in-law. And, of course, especially you!

Choose lever door handles

Lever door handles are stylish, elegant, and easier to use than round doorknobs. This way, you can open the doors with your elbow or forearm when you are carrying a baby or a load of groceries. 

Opt for generous doorways and hallways

Design wide clearance 36-inch doorways (or larger) and 5.5 feet wide hallways to give yourself plenty of room to maneuver around. You never know when you may need to break out and do a Salsa dance in a hallway, after all. 

For extra space and dramatic flair, include double doors for main entryways, the master bedroom, and the kitchen. Or for the kitchen, forego having a door at all and just provide a wide opening.

Avoid pesky stairs when possible

Try to design one stair-free outside entrance. Then none of your family members will have any excuse that they can’t visit because they can’t handle stairs.

A ranch-style home is an ideal forever home. But if you want a two-story home, set aside a space that could be turned into an elevator shaft in the future. Place appropriately-sized closets one on top of the other on the first and second floors. And, voila! You have a place for a luxurious elevator without any hassle.

Create a main floor master bedroom oasis

With your master suite on the main floor, you can live a charmed, stair-free life, if you want to. 

If you have a master suite on the second floor, consider also designing a room with a closet and full bath access on the main floor. It could be a home office for now. But you can brag to all your friends that your home has dual master suites and be the envy of the neighborhood!

Double kitchen stove and kitchen cabinets with gold hardware | phase one

Imagine the possibilities with universal kitchen design

Everyone needs to eat. And even more importantly, help with the cooking and the dirty dishes! Accessible design in the kitchen means no one gets to skip their turn to cook and clean up—unless you decide to let someone else take your turn, of course.

Here are a few of our favorite universal design examples for the kitchen to make your life easy-as-pie.

Choose a microwave drawer rather than an over-the-stove microwave.

Why not make your life easier? You’ll thank us one day!

Create wide spaces around the kitchen work stations.

You never know when you’ll need room for extra cooks in the kitchen.

Use drawers instead of cabinets

It’s tragic when important things get lost in the dark recesses of the bottom shelf of a cabinet and disappear, never to be seen again.

Choose lever handles for faucets or even touchless faucets

You can use your forearm or elbow when you’re holding a big pot of your famous pasta.

Opt for large drawer handles and cabinet pulls

They make a bold, stylish statement and are easy to grab.

Plan a two-level kitchen island

If you have a food-prep/eating area at table height, people can stand or sit when helping you whip up an amazing meal.

Consider an adjustable height countertop/cabinet combination

Then whether your 7-foot tall nephew or your 4-foot tall cousin Betty comes to visit, you can adjust the countertop height so they don’t have to strain. But then you can have the counter height you need when they leave.

Free standing bath tub and shower in a forever home

Accessible bathroom design

The bathroom is one of the most important areas to be thoughtful in your forever home design for easy living and luxury. (Don’t forget to take your friends on a tour once your spa-like new bathroom is complete.)

  • Plan to have at least one full bathroom on the main floor of the home. 
  • Choose non-slip flooring for all floors, especially in the bathroom where things can get slippery.
  • Consider the glory of an oversized curbless shower with a custom shower bench and at least one handheld showerhead. For an extra dose of luxury, have multiple showerheads. Trust us. You’ll love them.
  • Leave ample room under the sink for knee space so you can sit to primp in style.
  • Provide extra clearance around the toilet. You never know when it may come in handy.

Ready to think about designing your forever home in the Columbia, SC area?

We’re here to help you with the first phase of your renovation process—the planning and design! We want you to love your home now and way into the future. 

Please contact us today and let’s get started!

February 2, 2021
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