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Interior Design

Interior Design, Professional, Stories

Design for Living

Accessible bathroom with dual vanity and floating cabinets.

By Adam Gibson, Architectural Designer, CMKBD, CLIPP, CAPS

There’s a growing need to make homes safer and healthier with thoughtful elements that don’t compromise aesthetics.

Many of us use assistive devices that have become part of our everyday lives, things we consider normal… take glasses and hearing aids, for instance. Why not take this same approach when designing a home?

Baby boomers are retiring at an astonishing rate, creating issues not often addressed. Aside from them, many families have specific needs (outside of age) for features embedded in design. We are doing them a disservice if we don’t educate ourselves, and in doing so, them, on how to contribute to their health and welfare.

Here are some common aging in place design considerations

Read on for more detail…

Incorporate a horizon line in the shower

Contrasting tile colors are proven to help people with vertigo by giving them a horizon line in the shower. That horizon line should be about five feet above the floor. It could be several rows of accent tile, or even contrasting tiles.

Horizon line, Multilevel vanity, curbless shower
Horizon Line, Multilevel Vanity, Curbless Shower

Have towel bars serve as grab bars

How many have had their children accidentally pull a towel bar out of the wall? Keep this quiet, but I’m a grown man and have done it. The bathroom floor can get pretty slippery. We’ll grab the closest thing to steady ourselves. Why not have every towel bar serve as a grab bar? Grab bars can be beautiful, not like the ones in public restrooms. Most decorative hardware manufacturers also make designer grab bars. Obviously, they have to be installed correctly. Not so obviously, that doesn’t necessarily mean into studs or solid blocking. Check out companies like Wingits and Moen for installing bars the right way. How can you know you haven’t created a crack in the stud or blocking when fastening those monster screws? You don’t want to find out by an emergency room call from your 250-pound client.

Design vanities to incorporate varying heights

When designing a vanity, why not incorporate varying heights? This enables someone to be seated or standing, accommodating for a wheelchair or seat if it’s more comfortable.

Door Outswing graphic

Have doors open out

Here is an unfortunate scenario: Grandpa visits and falls in the bathroom against the door. You can’t get to him because the door opens into the room, so you have to call paramedics and you hope they arrive in time. A door that swings out would have saved time by providing immediate access. We know shower doors must always open out.

No-barrier shower entry

Speaking of showers, a curbless, or “beach entry” shower used to be seen as a luxury but is now common. There’s rarely a reason to step over a curb to enter a shower. This feature also allows access for a wheelchair or other supportive device. Schluter, True Dek, and many others provide systems that require little floor framing modifications.

Horizon line in shower
Image courtesy of LIPI

Lever-style door handles

Door Lever with Return
Image courtesy of LIPI

More people are gravitating to lever-style door handles for their aesthetics. They’re also better than doorknobs for those with trouble gripping, especially the elderly and very young. A healthy adult with slippery hands may grab the handle and lose their balance, almost falling as their hand slides off. For the elderly or those with special needs, this is even more common.

This could be prevented by specifying a lever with a return. The return can catch the hand before slipping off. A lever also reduces the risk of the handle catching one’s clothing.

Never place a microwave above a cooktop

Microwave over Cooktop NO

One more safety concern and also a pet peeve: Why place a microwave above a cooktop if you don’t have to? First, there is never enough ventilation, even on the off chance that it’s actually vented to the outside. If it is, it’s probably only 150 CFM, which in my opinion is severely lacking. More importantly, when you have a vertically challenged person or a child removing extremely hot liquid reaching above shoulder level, possibly above a hot element, there’s an accident you can count on.

Exterior doors with flush thresholds

Many door manufacturers now offer exterior doors with flush thresholds so people with a walker or wheelchair can enter without stumbling. All interior doors can be framed for a 36” door, but by extending the bottom plate and infilling the studs for a standard-sized door, and with judicious electrical placement, a wheelchair-width door can be installed in a matter of hours.

Wall detail for an accessible doorway

With 74.9 million baby boomers, and most planning to live in their homes long-term, clients will appreciate the longevity of your plan.

Stack closets for future elevator

Why not plan ahead and stack closets above one another for a future elevator? With 74.9 million baby boomers, and most planning to live in their homes long-term, clients will appreciate the longevity of your plan. An aside: If you specify a residential elevator, they have a typical swing door on each level and an accordion door in the elevator car. Kids can get trapped between what’s sometimes a 5-inch gap. Always specify a space guard on each door at each level. It’s not expensive and will save lives. If you have a client with an existing elevator, refer them to this article.

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These are just a few items to incorporate into our plans. There are many more. I encourage designers and builders to check out the Living in Place Institute for tips on how to address the needs not just of those who want to age in their homes, but anyone with requirements outside the norm. For me, it’s been great to confront issues with aesthetically pleasing solutions for homeowners and their visitors alike.

Adam Gibson, Architectural Designer, CMKBD, CLIPP, CAPS
Adam Gibson
Architectural Designer, CMKBD, CLIPP, CAPS

Adam Gibson is an architectural designer living in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Designer, Living-in-Place Professional, and Aging-in-Place Specialist. He’s been leveraging Chief Architect software for his business since 1995.

Connect with Adam at Adam Gibson Design.

Want more from Adam? See his previous blog post- The Virtual Tour.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can leverage the tools in Chief Architect software to meet specific accessibility needs, click here.

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Contest Winners, Featured Customers, Interior Design, Kitchen Design, Professional

Eclectic Bungalow – An Award-Winning Design by Brenna Sibson

This crafstman-style bungalow home incorporates eclectic style ideas with hardwood floors, custom cabinetry and designer lighting.

By Kendra Dorosh

Brenna Sibson places 3rd in the Chief Architect Kitchen/ Bath & Interior design contest. Brenna is skilled in the art of transforming homes into beautiful spaces that suit her clients’ unique tastes.

Brenna Sibson with AMS Building Systems in Vermillion, SD- profile image.
Brenna Sibson

“My name is Brenna Sibson. I am from Vermillion, SD. My interest in the construction industry began by watching my dad on job sites and drawing plans growing up.

“After high school, I attended two tech schools. One of which gave me my background in AutoCAD, the other I partook in the construction of two homes to really gain an understanding of how a house is built! From there I worked at a lumberyard for a few years and have since made it back home to work for my dad and his business partner at AMS Building Systems.

“I have been here for a little over a year using Chief Architect and can honestly say I would never choose to use any other program!”

The 3D capabilities are remarkable and really give us an edge in selling homes and remodels.

Winning Design

More from Brenna

Thank you for sharing your projects with us and our community, Brenna. Keep up the great work!

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Bathroom Design, Interior Design

Converting an Unfinished Space into a Beautiful Laundry/Bathroom

Small bathroom design with glass shower, vanity and toilet.

By Emily Black

Have you ever fantasized about converting an unfinished room into a functional and beautiful space? One of our customers did just that.

Susie thoughtfully considered all aspects of her design and budget and made her dreams a reality! She picked up Home Designer Suite, redesigned her laundry room into a laundry/bathroom, hired a contractor and construction team, got permits and made her design a reality. The project turned out beautifully!

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Bathroom Design, Contest Winners, Featured Customers, Interior Design, Professional

Lori Places 2nd with Her Modern Farmhouse Bathroom.

Winning Modern Farmhouse Bathroom Design

By Jake Murray

Lori Schrock places second in the Chief Architect Kitchen/Bath & Interior Design Contest. After designing her own home, Lori decided to pursue her ambition and start a design firm, LKDesignco.

Profile picture of Lori Shrock.
Lori Shrock

“I’m currently from Burr Oak, Michigan but a native of Phoenix, Arizona. After having the luxury of not working out of the home for most of my life, about a year ago my husband really encouraged me to pursue my dreams of designing homes. We built a home in Florida together in 2015 that I designed and actually drew in an online software program that I found at the time. Of course, we took it to an actual architect who made the prints official before the build. This really fueled my passion for design. Its been a “hobby” and ambition of mine for as long as I can remember to design and draw homes, I had just never pursued it; being a busy mom and raising kids.

Florida beach house rendered in Chief Architect
Florida Home Designed by Lori

“I launched LKDesignco just over a year ago, primarily intending to design interiors for people in 3D and help them through the entire design process, choosing finishes, and seeing their remodel or new build through to the end. I tailor my services to each client, learning exactly what they need from me. It’s my passion to make home building fun as it should be!

Continue reading…
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Bathroom Design, Contest Winners, Featured Customers, Interior Design, Professional

Amanda Mattson Wins 3rd Place with Her Spacious Beach Inspired Bathroom

By Jake Murray

Amanda placed 3rd in the Chief Architect Kitchen/Bath & Interiors Design Contest! Her ability to learn from different design perspectives has contributed to her success as a young designer.

“My interest in design all started in high school when I decided to focus on art and design classes. I grew up in Massachusetts where I attended college in Boston at Wentworth Institute of Technology and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design. As a young designer, I am always curious about “what’s the new thing.” I am always wanting to learn from a different design perspective. For example, my last co-op I worked with architects and got to understand more about the structure. These advantages help me understand what I am designing and what I need to improve on as a young designer. Continue reading…

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Interior Design, Stories

Wine Storage Solutions with WineRacks.com

Actual image of a wine cellar filled with wine

By Emily Black

 

Chief Architect has been working with WineRacks.com since 2012 to offer their wine storage product line. Their USA made wine storage solutions provide a unique design for any small or large project.

WineRacks.com is located in New York’s Hudson Valley and has been serving their customers since 1992.  Over the years, their product selections have expanded to include a wide range of small capacity wine racks, wine accessories, cooling units and lighting for wine cellars.

With the goal of providing the very best customer service and product quality, WineRacks.com is manufacturing their own wooden wine storage units within the US with environmentally responsible raw materials.

I had the chance to speak with Jeremy of WineRacks.com to dive deeper into what makes a great wine cellar.

Continue reading…

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Contest Winners, Featured Customers, Interior Design, Kitchen Design, Professional

Zak Rathgeber Wins 1st Place with His Modern Inner-City Kitchen Design!

By Jake Murray

 

Zak placed 1st in the Chief Architect Kitchen/Bath & Interiors Design Contest! A start with Lego houses has led to a long career and successful company of his own, Livara Design Inc.

 

Zak, his wife, and two children. With a passion for design that began at an early age, his work is the product of an experienced and talented designer. Congratulations on winning 1st place!

“I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada with a small stint in British Columbia.  I always knew I wanted to design homes.  I can remember sitting on the floor as a kid building Lego houses and hotels, and I always gravitated to drawing sprawling dream homes over all the other topics little kids usually draw! I was gifted my first drafting table when I was 13 or 14, and I was off to the races.  I had a great Drafting & Design program in my high school and it definitely solidified my want to do this for a living. Continue reading…

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Contest Winners, Featured Customers, Interior Design, Residential Home Design

Chace Groves Places 2nd and 3rd with his Residential and Interior Designs

This residential home design offers an oversized upstairs patio area, outside storage to the right of the parking spaces, two beds, three baths, and a separate utility room. The downstairs area is an open-concept layout with a generously sized living room, kitchen and full bath.

By Kendra Dorosh

Chace Groves placed 2nd in the Chief Architect Residential Design Contest in April and 3rd in the Kitchen/Bath & Interior Design Contest in May. Chace’s passion for 3D home design and modeling is clearly portrayed in his winning designs.

“I always had an eye for design. Since I was a kid, I always loved testing ideas and reworking current concepts. I started young, sketching plans and inventing various models and machines. I always loved testing my creativity and problem-solving skills, despite being a brain tumor survivor. My fairly poor motor skills and major loss of hearing, due to the radiation removal, were challenged in grade school and throughout life. Anything that involved my motor skills was easily not my shining talent. I’ve always hated coloring, cutting, pasting, and other handcrafting skills. In grade school, I worked my way through various home designing software and used them for much more than just home designs. I made dog houses, forts, playsets, greenhouse, and even a roping cow. Continue reading…

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Contest Winners, Featured Customers, Interior Design, Kitchen Design, Professional, Remodel-Addition

Alexandra DuBois places 2nd with her mid-century remodel

This kitchen remodel combines the kitchen, dining room, and family room to create one giant space for relaxing and entertaining. The home was built in the mid-century style, and the clients wanted to incorporate this into their new design.

By Kendra Dorosh

Alexandra DuBois places 2nd in the Chief Architect Remodel/Addition Design Contest. Her experience with color, tile patterns, and materials is evident in her custom design.

“I am originally from Des Moines, Iowa and moved to San Diego to attend design school ten years ago. I have been around design and remodeling my whole life with my family, my dad always being one to complete all of his own remodeling projects and having my sister and I help all along the way. I graduated from the Art Institute of California – San Diego with a Bachelor’s of Science in Interior Design.  My first few jobs in the industry were a color specialist at a paint store, furniture sales, and tile design before I settled at Lars Remodeling and Design. Continue reading…

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