Home Trends for 2018: Bathrooms, Kitchens and… Smartphones?

It’s April, and with summer on the horizon, it’s the time that many of us start thinking about making some much needed (or wanted) upgrades to our home. While the kids and grandkids are living life on their smartphones and talking about glitter tattoos and the latest fashion trends, you (and almost everyone else over the age of 30) are focused on slightly more practical matters – like how to make the bathroom a bit more accessible, but not reducing the look and resale value of your home. After all, even if we’re getting older, we don’t have to choose between attractiveness and comfort.

So, what’s on the top of the priority list? Maybe it’s getting harder to get around in your tiny bathroom. Then again, it would be nice to freshen up the look of your kitchen too. On the other hand, someone might be moving in while they recover from knee surgery, but where, since you’d rather not give up your home office? Or, maybe the grandkids are staying for the summer?

There are lots of considerations as you plan and prioritize remodeling projects. Understanding some options might be the best place to start and home trends for 2018 dovetail nicely into accessibility renovations.

The next few years will continue to see renovation design combining clean aesthetics with individualized functionality. Our attention continues to focus on renovating the main room of modern homes – the kitchen.
Designers are turning kitchens into even better incarnations of themselves than ever before. New kitchens for 2018 are more open and more functional to accommodate older homeowners and multigenerational families. The kitchen is fully embracing its role as the hub of living in your home, and while islands fell out of fashion briefly, they’re coming back. Updating the kitchen with a centralized workstation (also known as the island) makes the space more functional and accessible.

 

Islands are now being installed with outlets at varying heights for accessibility from a standing position or wheelchair. Varying height counters can also accommodate those seated and dining on one side and those with a different vantage point on the other. These powerhouse stations can also be customized with lowered cooktops and pullout racks for utensils. The overall feel of a renovated kitchen is casual and calm – great for early mornings or end of day coffee and tea. They’re also decked out to host family time where many people can gather for a meal and conversation while food is being prepped. It’s an important consideration for adults who may have their own parents moving in soon, or those who already have multiple generations under one roof. For these people, rightsizing means adding an extra room for family and expanding the use of existing spaces like the kitchen. Whether additional family is moving in or not, the emphasis is on modifying and updating your home to be attractive and practical.

 

 

[aesop_image img=”https://adaptmyhome.files.wordpress.com/2020/09/e14c0-ee4ffc613e0a811d2e16c094834af9aa.jpg” panorama=”off” imgwidth=”45%” align=”center” lightbox=”on” caption=” Specialty appliances like this microwave add an ease of use to the kitchen that everyone will love!” captionposition=”left” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]

 

 

 

 

Bathrooms are next on our list of rooms due for a major sleek makeover. The primary colors of the season are shades of white, grey, blue, and green. For example, “In the Moment” and “Quiet Time” both by Behr. Our renovated bathrooms also highlight brass or bronze features for faucets, light fixtures, and grab bars.

 

  Structurally, open barrier-free bathrooms are expected to be a long-lasting trend. The overall clean and uncluttered feel of this renovation provides space to relax and de-stress. An open-floor plan means that you can maximize the use of space and have enough room for maneuverability in general, but especially for wheelchairs. A barrier-free shower with a collapsible lip is perfect for a clean, modern or European look – and meets the needs of most adults. Fixtures can include towel bars that double as grab bars and a sliding adjustable shower head that looks and feel great. The result of this bathroom is a zen-like retreat complimented by clean lines and little clutter.

[aesop_image img=”https://adaptmyhome.files.wordpress.com/2020/09/56ff6-schluter-130.tif-caniveau.jpg” panorama=”off” imgwidth=”40%” align=”center” lightbox=”on” caption=”This trench drain is unobtrusive and will look great in your shower.” captionposition=”left” revealfx=”off” overlay_revealfx=”off”]

 

Have a more “crowded home?” More people means more traffic overall throughout the house. Whether you have a wheelchair or walker or not, one solution is to widen doorways and hallways along with installing ramps. These modifications translatei nto easy transitions between rooms, giving the home a more open feel AND making it accessible to walkers, wheelchairs, or strollers. It also means hospital beds can be moved into a room without causing cosmetic damage to the walls and door frame.

Need some quiet time from the rest of the family? Pocket doors are a great way to maximize space and have the added bonus of being easy to use in for people with limited dexterity. For outside the home, custom ramps can be installed that integrate themselves into the home’s overall design so that everyone can easily enjoy the deck or backyard.

While you’re making plans for an upgrade, tell those grandkids that you can use your smartphone or Alexa to control the lights and temperature in the house too! It’s an easy way to go “green” and have more control of your environment.

There’s a lot to consider. Don’t be overwhelmed by all the options. The key is identifying your priorities, and finding a contractor who will listen and provide you the best options to match your lifestyle and your budget. With the right remodel, your home will be simultaneously updated for better accessibility and given a beauty makeover all at once. And who knows? It might just be enough to get the kids to look up from their smartphones, and take a selfie with grandma and grandpa in their beautifully renovated home!

 

2018: A Year of Accessibility Technology and Design

What’s here and what’s coming in accessibility to make your home safer, easier, and more comfortable.

It’s only been 4 months into 2018 but we have already enjoyed some pretty great things including the Winter Olympics (remember the amazing Chloe Kim) and blockbuster movies like Black Panther. What does this New Year bring for accessibility trends?

With the aging of the Baby Boomers, a main focus for designers and their renovation team in 2018 is bringing more accessibility technology, products, and home remodels to the public. While new tech and products are great, seniors are often challenged to balance the competing desire to stay active and independent in their own home with the cost of remodeling or investing in one of these tech solutions. This is on top of simply adjusting to the facts of aging, and the developing physical limitations that often comes with it.

We empathize! And we often help people understand the importance of balancing the immediate costs of investing in your home with the long-term higher cost of NOT renovating. People prefer to stay in their homes where they have independence and where they’ve made memories. Seniors are also understanding it’s more cost efficient to remodel than to finance long-term care at a retirement home, which often runs $4,500 – $6,000 per month. Over one year that’s $54,000 – $72,000 dollars! You can get a lot of home remodeling for much less than that. And with financing options, it’s getting easier for seniors or anyone who has a tighter budget.

There’s more and better on the horizon. New companies are creating new technologies to make homes comfortable, safe, and easy to use. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the technologies that’s leading the way in accessibility trends. Products like SofiHub are at the center of the “smart home” of the future. SofiHub’s AI technology learns the user’s behaviors and habits and couples this with customized options that address the needs and challenges identified by that user. The system is programmed or tailored to the individual’s needs and habits, creating a virtual personal assistant of sorts. It’s a wireless and touch-free system that can raise an alert if something unexpected happens – like not taking medications as normal, or if the user stays in bed very late and doesn’t eat that day (meaning maybe they’re sick). The system will also alert specified family members of abnormal behaviors (like leaving the stove on or the front door open) and accidents (like a fall in the bathroom). The system is user-friendly because seniors don’t have to speak or press any buttons. Yet, the system is easily customizable via an app program. The user also doesn’t have to wear any sensors or smart devices.

Multi-generational homes are on the rise. AI technology like this can help in those homes too, especially when some of the caregiving for elderly grandparents or parents falls to younger family members. Automated sensors and alerts ease the burden of providing constant vigilance and care whether everyone lives in the same household or not.

Other trends are aimed at caregivers and family members are emerging. Products like Lili Smart are used between the senior and different “circles” of caregivers. One circle could be family members and another may be doctors or nurses who provide different support. Grandma or grandpa wears a smartwatch and the home is outfitted with sensors. Using this, family and caregivers can be at ease knowing they’ll get fall alerts, and their loved one will get medication reminders, other notifications and so on. For those concerned with “big brother” and a loss of privacy, no fear! The sensors do not have any recording capabilities for privacy reasons. Lili Smart is an emerging technology, not yet fully launched in the US, but it shows what’s possible – and what’s coming.

Today’s seniors are also warming up to the idea of non-traditional renovations to their homes which enables them to stay in the places that they’ve worked so hard to build for their golden years. Additionally, newer homes are being built with smart technology and have features that will accommodate wireless systems in the future, thus making it easier to install any one of these systems.

New trends of 2018 have gained even greater traction in bringing technological innovations to individuals who use American Sign Language (ASL). Though still in its prototype stage, SignAll has the potential to translate ASL into text visible on a screen! Users will purchase webcams, a sensor, and software to translate their signs for others to read and communicate with integrated services like Alexa which rely upon voice activation. The system is fully customizable to each user, since the language is set by an initial session in which the computer will “learn” the user’s signs before merging those with a natural language program. The sensors also record facial expressions, body language, and rhythm of speech before translating. All these aspects create a more “natural” feeling conversation between someone hearing and someone hearing impaired! What’s more, the SignAll system also makes modifications as it learns its user’s individual speech better over time. SignAll is bringing accessibility out of the home and into the public spaces, making it easier for someone hearing impaired to get things done easily. Imagine being a sign language user who can easily “talk” with others using a smartphone screen that translates their sign language into fully formed sentences to be read or heard by others at the bank, grocery store, or doctor’s office. Running errands will only be a hassle because of traffic, not communication issues.

Lastly, other trends center on the aesthetics of accessibility features. Designers are focused on making common upgrades like curbless showers sleek so that they become a beautiful feature of the home – rather than a concession to decreased mobility. Newer accessibility ramps are better integrated into the home’s architecture and have landscaping to help blend into the overall look of the property. The kitchen, still the center of the home in many places, has been redesigned as more features are moved to the back wall including pipes to allow for wheelchair accessibility. Features like wider doorways and open-floor plans will continue to dominate as top remodel projects but will be carried out with greater attention to appearances as well as functionality.

There’s a lot happening for accessibility in 2018. And they’re features EVERYONE can use and love.