Aging in Place

Location: Fairfax Station, VA

Home renovations and remodels are nothing new to Kohlmark Group. Colors, trends, appliances and materials and “must haves” are constantly changing, but remodeling a home to accommodate aging-in-place introduces new challenges for architects and builders. Instead of moving walls and updating materials for purely subjective reasons, we are now making design considerations based on critical functionality and livability for an aging population that may or may not have physical limitations moving forward.

In it’s simplest interpretation, designing a home to enable the owner(s) to age-in-place, boils down to single floor living–or at least the ability to live on one floor. The secondary considerations seek to deliver the current wants and needs of the clients with a candid look toward the future.

On paper, the program looks a lot like other additions and renovations; a new master bedroom suite, sun porch, kitchen remodel, covered porch, foyer and garage. To make good on the clients wishes we first had to design a master bedroom suite on the first floor. Fortunately this modest colonial home had an attached garage and we were able to transform the exiting two-car garage into the new master suite. This saved time and money by eliminating the need to add to the homes exiting footprint. Foundation work, exterior walls, roofing and all those associated expenses were somewhat mitigated. We designed and built a new attached two-car garage to take its place.

The new covered porch provides shade and shelter while the new ADA compliant entry and foyer offer a more generous and welcoming introduction to the renovated space. Abundant light penetrates deep into the interior thanks to the new sunroom and double doors that flank the gas fireplace. The heavily wooded lot is visible from nearly anywhere inside and all that light has an added benefit for aging eyes. With the exception of the kitchen island, the entire floor is wide open and has the added benefit of being easily reconfigured for future needs. There are no thresholds throughout the main floor either. Transitions from room to room are seamless and minimize the likelihood of tripping and injury.