There really is no place like it!  - Pride of the south

There really is no place like it! – Pride of the south


Raised, waist-high beds make gardening accessible to everyone.

Safe home at home

Nowadays, for many of us, our homes are a refuge from the dangerous world around us. The experience many of us have had of “sheltering in place” has perhaps given us a new appreciation for the good and the bad about our homes.
This month we’re looking for ideas to make changes or additions to your home that will make it a safer or healthier place. We’ll also include ways you can improve your home even if you don’t own it – either things you can pack and take with you, or easily reverse it when you move, or ways to make sure you don’t pay. twice by “breaking your lease”. For homeowners, many of these ideas will also add value to your home if you are considering selling it.

Lighting and windows

New windows can really transform your home. I have experienced this twice so far. In the UK my wife and I upgraded our 99 year old house to modern ‘double glazing’ and then about a year ago I replaced all the windows in my old 1985 senior condominium. modern technology can allow maximum light with minimum heat loss (or in my case the most vital loss of air conditioning.) Combine your anti-glare, well-insulated windows with a modern cellular blind or blackout curtains in your bedroom , for the best combination.
Indoor lighting can make a significant difference in terms of health and safety. Migraines and other unpleasant conditions can be triggered by the wrong type of artificial lighting. While staying cool in the summer is important to you, there is a huge difference in the amount of heat generated by various types of light sources. Powerful motion-sensing lights for basement stairs are an important safety measure, as is efficient lighting in the kitchen.

Floors, doors and accessibility

The ramps are not reserved for wheelchairs.

The surface of a floor – that is, whether it is hard or soft or carpeted, non-slip or not, and what material – becomes much more than an aesthetic consideration for the elderly, babies and children. people of all ages with reduced mobility. I found a wonderful source online for a concept called Universal Design (UD), which is something that grew out of ergonomics and is vital to both the disability rights community and the aging community. at home.
UD ( includes seven “principles”:
• Principle 1: Fair use
• Principle 2: Flexibility of use
• Principle 3: Simple and intuitive use
• Principle 4: Perceptible information
• Principle 5: Error tolerance
• Principle 6: Low physical effort
• Principle 7: Size and space for approach and use
These principles apply to everything from designing spaces for public use and purchasing products for your home to designing software and web applications.
Applied to floors, UD tells us to go for floor coverings like cork, tile or Marmoleum ™ that don’t have edges, level changes, high thresholds or nap shaped rugs. (The mat may seem like a good choice, until you have a wheelchair or a walker. It is difficult to roll wheels on a mat. Also, with small children or animals it will be difficult to roll. have spills.) -type of nap.
The floors also mean the levels. Everything on one floor is ideal for the elderly or disabled or young children, but not always possible. However, you can offer alternatives. Build a ramp to make it easier to transport your baby’s stroller around the house, but leave it there for Grandma’s visit. Older people find it easier to use a ramp even if they are walking. If you are designing a house with stairs, make them wide enough that you can add a stairlift if it becomes necessary.
Speaking of width, the width of the doors, both exterior and interior, is a consideration in UD. In addition to being more inviting in appearance and accessible to all, you will appreciate a wide door when you decide to rent a grand piano or install an indoor spa.

Make kitchens less dangerous

Induction hobs protect you from burns.

Kitchens can be dangerous. If you are updating your kitchen, factor safety, health, and DU into your plans. Here are some random statistics on home security that I have gathered from the internet:
• 90% of kitchen towels failed the cleanliness tests.
• Foodborne illness is the cause of 76 million cases of illness in the United States alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
• Each year, more than 150,000 kitchen fires are caused by kitchen equipment – with 460 deaths.
• Lacerations caused by kitchen utensils represent 42% of hand injuries observed by emergency professionals.
• A home without a fire alarm is twice as likely to have a fire, according to the US Fire Administration.
• Unattended cooking equipment accounted for 45% of home deaths from 2002 to 2005.
• 34 fatal burns occur each year from kitchen burns.

A detail of a kitchen renovation – photo of Castle Building and Remodeling

• After 65, falls become the leading cause of death in the home, with many slip and fall accidents occurring on damp kitchen floors.
A modern innovation, although expensive, is probably worth it – induction burners on your stove or countertop. Induction burners prevent burns by conducting heat directly into the material of the cooking vessel.
Kitchen renovations often turn into bigger projects than you might think. While the best contractors will save you money by doing some of the work yourself, it’s probably best not to go it alone, especially with kitchens and bathrooms.

Luxury bathtubs, saunas and showers – oh my god!

My favorite part of home improvement is the bathroom. It makes such a difference in your day to day life if you can add those luxurious pampering touches to your home. Referring back to my home in

The author’s personalized bathtub

In England, where we did two big renovations, I replaced a shallow chocolate brown fiberglass tub with a fully enclosed clawfoot tub and ceramic wall tiles from floor to ceiling and even in the deep window to the far side. over the new tub. It was my little retreat in paradise every day.
A simple upgrade could be a rain shower. While it has long been accepted that showers are for quick cleaning and only tubs are for relaxing, researchers (and the realtors who listen to them) are finding that more and more people are relaxing in the shower. . You can add a bench inside and have a seated shower. You can use a massaging handheld shower head.
Another conundrum of aging is if at some point you have to give up your deep soak in a clawfoot tub because it is no longer safe or even achievable. Walk-in tubs might solve this problem, but the jury is still out on whether they increase or decrease your home’s resale value, and like hot tubs (which they sort of are) they can. have cleaning and maintenance problems.
A major upgrade (if you have the space) could include a sauna, steam room, or the aforementioned hot tub. Saunas or hot tubs can also

Simple fittings for a rain shower

go outside if you don’t have room inside. You can even get a portable sauna and take it with you on trips by car or to the lake.

The pleasure of decluttering

Decluttering is something you will need to do if you are renovating or selling your home. So why not do it now, when you are still wondering whether you should do these things or not? Although I never managed to declutter myself, many people have told me how liberating and upsetting it is. Hiring an assistant makes the job less overwhelming.
Better gardens
The exterior of your home and the surrounding land is where you can really make a significant difference. Devoting part of your lawn to growing flowers, grasses, pollinator attractors or food crops has a substantial impact on your health by

An indoor sauna in a huge bathroom – photo by Voyageurs

many ways. If you want to do this, but have mobility issues, consider a raised bed, especially one that is high enough that you can keep it upright. Then again, consulting with a specialist can help, which may be a landscaping company, a county master gardener, or just the staff of a local garden center, many of whom we have.

Home improvement for tenants

If you are a tenant, you can always make changes to improve your home. If you have a specific need, such as a new or temporary disability, there are agencies that can help you negotiate with your landlord, and possibly help you pay. In general, however, the options vary between working with your

A beautiful bathroom renovation with a rain shower

owner to make reversible changes and put it back as before if you move, or maybe a little of both. You can find some ideas here

WTF? ( Where to find?)

How do you find the help you might need to make the renovation or upgrade of your dreams? Or just to make a major purchase for your home? Google won’t get you far. Here are some ideas.
• Using a directory or the Internet, find an entrepreneur who provides free or affordable consultations.
• For an expert in decluttering, check local newspaper ads, classifieds and actual notice boards.
• If you are thinking about selling, consult your real estate agent to find out what contributes to the resale value.
• Consider reaching out to AARP volunteers, a

Your own hammam, the ultimate luxury

advocacy group if applicable, or the VA if you are a veteran.
• Use your public library to find resources. Ask a librarian for help to get you started.
• Ask your neighbors, by email on e-democracy or NextDoor, or on a neighborhood Facebook discussion group if you have one, their experiences in renovating and working with local businesses.
• Talk to your friends and family who work in the industry or who have done a renovation themselves.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *