Realtors, Builders And Homesellers – How Do You Spell “sold”? . . . L.i.s.t.e.n.!

Demographics matter! Statistics have shown us that in North America alone there are approximately 85 million, (yes, MILLION), Baby Boomers! By sheer number alone, they have become a force to be reckoned with. They are telling you what they are looking for in a home, but are you listening?

As a licensed interior designer in Orlando, Florida, I often work with clients who are wanting to build a new home, remodel the home they’re presently living in, or look for an existing home to buy. One of the very first things we do is sit down together to determine their design goals, and identify any special needs they may have which would need to be addressed in the initial planning stages of the project. Their job is to communicate their needs . . . my job is to listen. And what I’m hearing from my fellow Baby Boomer clientele, (those born between 1946 to 1966) is consistent. Very simply, they do not want to be put in a situation where they are forced to move out of their home because it is not an age-free environment.

Functionality and flexibility of the home is one of the primary concerns of this generation. Boomers are forward thinking when it comes to making design decisions based not only on what their immediate needs are, but in determining what their future needs might be as well. Here are some of the things they are looking for in a home . . .
wider hallways and doorways which could be wheel chair accessible if necessary
open living space and furniture lay-out which would allow them to move about more freely
easy “accessibility”, particularly at entrances and bathrooms
barrier-free bathrooms and kitchens equipped with the comfort height fixtures
excellent lighting throughout
easily rampable steps if necessary
levered handles instead of knobs for doors which will suit all users
roll out shelves for all base cabinetry in both kitchens and baths
one-floor plans, or in-home elevators which are fast becoming “must haves” for ease and accessibility in multi leveled homes – a feature to improve the quality of living at any age
flex areas such as home offices, media centers and workout areas, designed to support the varied demands and daily activities of this generation . . . who are technology minded, health conscious, retired, semi retired “Un-retireds”!

The definition of “HOME” for many of us is no longer merely the place where we house our belongings. It has become the headquarters for our lives! It is a refuge where we want to bring touches of the outside in, and vice versa. Many of us want to blend technology, the internet and wireless communications with the comfort and tranquility of a simpler, slower paced, more graceful moment in time . . . and call this HOME. It’s about having choices. With a collective voice the Baby Boomer generation is finding new ways for us to design spaces to fit not only their lifestyle, but meet the challenges of the changing stages of their life as well. We need to listen!

Interior Design For Your Home Kitchen

When thinking about interior design options for your home kitchen, it is important to keep a number of factors in mind.

First off, when shopping in your local kitchen center, if your budget allows, be sure to consider new technologies in appliances, finishes and materials. Often times your choices here might cost you more in the short term, but in the long run you will find that as the industry catches up with the technologies, your choices will continue to be relevant well into the future. Make sure that all appliances that you choose are only of the highest quality. This is the most important part of your kitchen… it’s what the kitchen revolves around, so don’t cheap out here.

Don’t be afraid to spend extra money on your kitchen floors. High quality kitchen flooring will not only look good for longer, but they will also add to the resale value of your home. When installing your kitchen floors, make sure to keep them level and even consider adding heated floors for extra comfort and value.

When choosing cabinets for your home kitchen design… think simple. Ornate or complicated designs will usually not stand the test of time. Styles which might be trending now are likely to date your kitchen down the road.

When planning colors for your home kitchen, consider the colors of adjoining rooms. Keep your design consistent and avoid contrasting colors between adjoining rooms. For example, if your walls in the room next to your kitchen are blue, yellow walls in the kitchen will clash. Look for complimentary colors.

And last but not least, always consider your counter space. Try to maximize the area on which you will be preparing your food. You’ll not only be thankful at Christmas time, but your family will be as well.

A Fireplace In Your Apartment

We sometimes think that we cannot realize everything we want in such a limited space, referring to an apartment, might it be a block apartment or a villa apartment. But either way we can adapt the already existent dimensions or we will think in such a manner that we will create the space we need to bring in a new piece of furniture that we really want or maybe make some mounted bookshelves on one wall of the room.

You can even place a fireplace, an object that usually takes up a lot of space and requires unwanted modifications.

A fireplace can be placed in a corner of a room and it could be, for design?s sake, linked with some mounted bookshelves that can total a real bookcase.
Depending on the dimensions of our room, we will make a design sketch for the wanted fireplace and for the bookshelves made out of wood or wood-like materials that will be chosen accordingly to the objects that are already situated in the room or accordingly to the material the fireplace will be build from (I mean the material the fireplace has on the surface, not the one it is actually made of).
If we have a tall room then we can build a tall fireplace. In the case it will grow a lot up or on the contrary, grow horizontally quite a bit, we will have to keep in mind ventilation. In an apartment we might have to use the common ventilation system unless we are on the top floor. To deal with this aspect you will have to bring a specialist and let him do the calculations and plans needed.

We can think of the fireplace creatively. Why not designing it as a multitude of stairs that will serve as support for different object we can find around the room? Or we can create spaces to store fire wood that will have just a decorative purpose in a block apartment where the fire can be made using gas. But they will bring the rustic image closer to you and will provide the room with infinite connotations.

Roller Shades For Safety, Convenience and Style

Until the modern vertical blind became so popular, roller shades were the type of window treatment found in most places of business and in homes. This type of window covering consisted of a single sheet of opaque fabric that wrapped around a dowel rod at the top and bottom and could be raised or lowered by a spring mechanism in the top rod. Thankfully, these somewhat tricky window treatments have received some much needed improvements, and today are not only incredibly smooth and easy to use, but also work as well as other types of blinds.

It is surprising to note how much the window treatments can affect a room. Not only are roller shades or other types of blinds responsible for controlling the amount of light and heat that come in through the window, but they also control the privacy and even the style as well.

A window and thus the treatments become a focal point and really help pull together all of the decor components to present a unified whole. Poorly fitting or designed window coverings not only look bad, but also allow for inefficiency in heating and cooling as well.

Roller shades of today are light as a feather and can be customized to present exactly the right amount of light that is wanted. These are usually the simplest type of shade to install and use, and if high quality materials are used, can be some of the most durable as well. In addition, these are a much safer option in homes where there are small children because there are fewer parts to worry about. Some of these types of treatments can be mounted on a track system to allow the whole sheet of covering to be adjusted up or down by degrees, thus making them even safer.

If a home or office does not have the components necessary for a homeowner to change over to roller blinds themselves, there are many companies that can not only install these types of window treatments, but can even make them customized for a specific size, thickness or with specific materials. This reduces the chances of getting ill fitting or poorly installed window coverings and also improves the overall quality of the final look shades. Professionals can usually offer an estimate, can provide the window treatments and can offer advice about what may work best for a given window area.