If you are thinking about adding an in-law quarters or renovating a space that will be occupied by an elder either in their home or in yours, choosing the right floor can affect comfort, health, and well-being. The rapid growth of our senior population in our country is a much publicized fact – by 2020, there will be 55 million Americans over the age 65 and 6.6 million over 85. As a result renovation of existing housing stock to accommodate an elder is becoming quite common place.
When choosing flooring, the most important issues to consider are vision and mobility. If using wood, tile or carpet, it is wise to employ color contrast solely for identifying a change in elevation or a barrier on the floor’s surface. This will also help to identify where the floor ends and walls, stairs and doors begin. Color contrast simply helps with visually mapping out the whole floor.
Utilization of sharp contrast at the edge of a step down can be accomplished in a number of stylish ways. I think of one kitchen I was in recently where the owners installed a somewhat darker border of tile around the edge of an entire ceramic kitchen floor to help identify access points for the family room and the basement. For hardwood floors, an end cap that is a few shades darker can improve both appearance and safety. When done right, this can look really sharp.
If your elder is using a walker or some other mobility aid, hardwood, linoleum and tile are the best choices as they are most easily navigated and do not drag or pull when in contact with sneakers or rubber covered devices. If you decide that you would like to install tile whether there is a mobility device or not, it’s important to understand the concept of “slip resistance”. Ask about the coefficient of friction (COF) before you buy. The American Heritage Dictionary defines COF as “the ratio of the force that maintains contact between an object and a surface and the frictional force that resists the motion of the object.” There is extensive debate around what constitutes “safer” flooring among engineers and how best to measure it. The American Disabilities Act guidelines recommend a surface with a COF of 0.6 for floors and 0.8 for ramps. It is widely recognized, therefore, that flooring with a COF higher than 0.6 is generally considered being slip resistant. These specs are available for review when you are shopping in a home improvement store.
One does need to be concerned with the type of finish that is selected. Following changes in level, glare is the next largest impediment to safe mobility. A matte finish on a wood floor reduces glare considerably when you compare it to a gloss. It’s important to check your lighting as well as the manner in which a room is illuminated will often make a difference with how easy or difficult it might be to navigate. This is a very subtle problem that one may easily overlook. Lastly, the biggest concern is that it’s critical to note that area rugs, when placed over wood, linoleum or tile floors, are ALWAYS a hazard for seniors who could easily slip and fall. Do not use them!
The dispute over an important Phoenix home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright has been resolved, according to the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. On Thursday, Dec. 20, the group announced that it had successfully engineered the sale of the David and Gladys Wright House, saving it from demolition after a long battle.
The house at 5212 E Exeter Blvd, Phoenix, AZ 85108 was last listed for $2.515 million. An anonymous benefactor agreed to buy the desert gem and transfer the property to an Arizona not-for-profit organization responsible for the restoration, maintenance and operation of the David and Gladys Wright House.
The home was completed in 1952 for Wright’s son David and his wife, Gladys. What makes this particular property important is that its spiral staircase design foreshadows the breakthrough design of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. It is the only one of Wright’s single-family homes that utilizes that circular spiral plan.
The home’s fate was the subject of a huge dispute. Sold in June 2009 for $2.8 million by Wright’s heirs, the home was re-sold in June 2012 to a group of developers, whose plans to demolish the property to develop new housing on the site led to a battle over the building’s landmark status and fate.
Can you imagine if the Darwin Martin House had reached a similar fate? The complex, which consists of three separate spaces and the Greatbatch pavilion, is said to have been built by Wright on an unlimited budget. The Buffalo landmark draws visitors from all over the country and is a truly beautiful space, even in its restoration. For information on tours, please click here.
These tools and materials can help you winterize your home from a tough Buffalo winter– and they’re less than $100 each at your local hardware store!
• Basic caulk gun ($20) and four tubes of caulk ($7.50 each) to fill gaps in siding, windows and doors. For drafty windows and doors, don’t just fill the gaps on the outside, says home renovation and remodeling consultant Dean Bennett of Dean Bennett Design and Construction in Castle Rock, CO. “Pull the molding off to fill the insulation gaps around the window jamb.” If you prefer, you can use a can of low-expansion window foam ($7 each) instead of caulk. Cost: $50
• Plastic film window insulating kit, enough for five to six windows. Cost: $20
• Weatherstripping for windows, four 17-foot rolls. Cost: $20 ($5 each)
• Replacement filter for central heat and air unit. Mike Kuhn, director of technical services at HouseMaster and author of “The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Home Inspections,” says it’s a must to change your furnace and air conditioning filter on a regular basis, at least every three months. “Clogged filters reduce heating and cooling efficiency and can reduce the useful life of the appliance,” says Kuhn. Cost: $10
• Door threshold/sweep strip (three) to fill air leaks beneath doors. Cost: $75 ($25 each)
• Door gasket (three) to fill leaks around doors. Mark Furst of Grading Spaces, a home inspection and performance analysis company in Fort Atkinson, WI, recommends that homeowners check all exterior doors for tight-sealing gaskets. “I often see doors that only seal well when the door is slammed and then the deadbolt lock engages,” he says, blaming the condition on worn-out gaskets, though the doors themselves are still in good shape. “Adding a sweep strip to the bottom of the door helps to block drafts,” he adds. Cost: $75 ($25 each)
The US housing market has seen its thirteenth straight month of home value appreciation. November saw a .6% increase in home value, and values are up some 5.2% from a year ago. That’s the largest annual gain since 2006, and things are only looking up for real estate. Tight inventory, affordability, and renewed interest makes this upcoming year look promising.
1. Online Marketing Becomes Very Important: With buyers extremely busy around the holiday season, putting your home online means that buyers can decide ahead of time if your home is worth their time. Especially in Buffalo, buyers don’t want to spend their weekends traipsing in and out of homes that don’t end up being worth their time. Marketing your home online is convenient for the buyer.
2. Weather Exposes Property Problems: Wet weather helps all parties– buyers, sellers, and inspectors– find those repairs that need to be made or negotiated.
3. Competition Falls: The number of buyers looking falls dramatically during the holiday season, with all of the parties and obligations. This can be great for buyers who look for a home now, as it means that there could potentially be fewer offers made on your dream home.
4. Motivation Spikes: While some buyers may put off their search until after the New Year, others can be highly motivated to end the year with a new beginning. This is great for sellers, who may only field offers from extremely serious and motivated buyers.
5. Halls are Decked: Decorations aren’t limited to the inside of a home– whole neighborhoods are decked out. This gives buyers ideas about their neighbors and the community they may live in. For out of town buyers, looking also at calendars of events gives an idea of how they will fit into their new city. Keeping an eye on communities and events means that buyers can see how active the community is.
6. Willpower Wanes: Eating and exercising habits– which tend to fall during the holiday season– can effect the willpower of buyers. As willpower wanes in other areas, it can continue to wane with financial decisions. Don’t house hunt when you’re tired or feeling depleted, as it can truly effect your decision-making.