Home Designs For Life: Remodeling Ideas To Increase Safety, Function, And Accessibility In The Home.

Episode 17: Creating a Livable Home from an Architect's Perspective

June 25, 2022 Janet Engel, OT/L, CAPS Season 2 Episode 16
Home Designs For Life: Remodeling Ideas To Increase Safety, Function, And Accessibility In The Home.
Episode 17: Creating a Livable Home from an Architect's Perspective
Show Notes Transcript

Taylor Davis, Owner and Principal of Architecture + Design is passionate about helping her clients live longer in the homes they love. Her firm specializes in architecture that has its foundation in function and accessibility that also achieves a beautiful design. Please listen to learn more about all the ins and outs in creating a "forever home," from the perspective of an architect. 

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[00:00:00] Janet: Hello. And today we have Taylor Davis with us. She is the principal at 

[00:00:07] Janet: Architecture and Design. She owns her firm and her firm focuses on designing for aging in place and accessibility and function. Taylor, thank you for being with us today. Oh, thank 

[00:00:19] Taylor: you so much for having me. . 

[00:00:21] Janet: Yes. And thank you for writing to me.

[00:00:24] Janet: I know you heard my podcast and you were interested in being a guest and I was very excited when I saw your email because I've never had an architect as a guest, and I've been wanting to, because they are such an important part  in, in the whole design process. And so I'm really interested in learning about how architects think and.

[00:00:48] Janet: You know their part, what they contribute to aging in place. Yeah. So, so tell me, how did you get into designing for aging in place? 

[00:00:59] Taylor: [00:01:00] It was really client driven. We, well, I, when I moved back to Birmingham about 15 years ago, I had grown up here and had really refocused my practice from commercial to residential after I had kids.

[00:01:18] Taylor: And my first clients were friends of my parents and they were a little older and they were considering renovations to their homes. We live in an area of Birmingham. That's known for its older homes. So homes are built in the twenties, thirties, and forties. Not necessarily easily accessible lots of stairs, small bathroom doors and lots of challenges associated with growing older.

[00:01:45] Taylor: Especially knowing what we know now about accessibility and how important that is. So one of the first projects we did moving back was talking to a couple that I had known since I was a little [00:02:00] kid. about a bathroom, a master suite renovation that they wanted to be accessible, but it was gonna be on the second floor.

[00:02:07] Taylor: And so we really had to have a real heart to heart about. Why we needed to really think about whether or not that made sense from an investment perspective, was that a renovation and an investment that was gonna last them a long time and support them in their continued kind of active lifestyle?

[00:02:26] Taylor: Or would it be better to really think about moving to the main level and opening up some opportunities, some design opportunities for them there, for space that would really support them. They traveled a lot. They were super active. And they wanted a master suite that would really support that as they continued to age.

[00:02:47] Taylor: And so we ended up having a really good conversation about that, and they ended up doing this renovation on the main level. And that was really the first kind of aging in place renovation that we did. Since then we've worked [00:03:00] with clients with Parkinson. Clients who are not currently in what would normally be considered a aging kind of scenario, but who are in their forties or fifties and are investing in new construction or renovation, and want to think about a, how they'll be able to live in the house, considering that the investment of it, but B also how their.

[00:03:23] Taylor: Can come and visit or grandparents can come and visit and whether the home supports hospitality for them. So, so it has become something that while it started with us talking specifically to some older clients that we knew or folks that had specific diseases or challenges that we needed to work with it has become something that we really try and talk about with all of our clients, regardless of their.

[00:03:51] Janet: okay. And that was going to be my question to you. Is, are you usually the one that brings up the subject or are you [00:04:00] seeing, are people coming and talking about aging in place? Or is that changing? Is it happening more? 

[00:04:08] Taylor: It's starting to happen more? There was really interesting. We participate in the American Institute of architects, residential design trends survey.

[00:04:18] Taylor: Okay. And they publish this every quarter they ask for participation every quarter. So the last quarter, so the second quarter of 20, 22, I guess just came out. And one of the things that it noted was an. A rather dramatic increase of architects specifically working on projects that involved what we would consider aging in place modifications or aging in place features.

[00:04:43] Taylor: So masters on the main level wider doorways, specific types of hardware, installation of grab bars. Those kinds of it's a trend that I think is happening in the market. For us, we have kind of two camps we're we [00:05:00] are known as being kind of quote unquote experts in this realm. I'm a certified aging and place specialist in land, on Stubblefield who works with me is cap certified as well.

[00:05:09] Taylor: So we're kind of known for that, but it is something that we bring into the conversation with younger clients. So if we have folks that are in their forties, And like I said, are in, are building new construction or in their fifties and investing in their dream home we're gonna say, Hey you might wanna think about putting, making this a curbless shower.

[00:05:30] Taylor: Like that's kind of a cool design feature. Let's put some blocking in the walls so that we can add grab bars. It's not a huge investment to do that, but it's something that we know will help support your investment over the long haul. When we talk about it with younger families and we do talk about it with younger families.

[00:05:49] Taylor: So folks who have grade school kids, age and younger, we talk about how a wider doorway in specific instances is gonna help them carry a pumpkin seat from a car into the house or [00:06:00] groceries. And being able to open something with your elbow or God forbid you, you ha you tear an ACL or your kid tears, an ACL and a cheerleading injury.

[00:06:09] Taylor: We do bring it up in conversations. They're not necessarily coming to us with those conversations when they're kind of on the younger side, but we talk about it in terms of the value for them, but also for resale value that they're expanding the pool of potential buyers down the road. So there's a lot of there's a lot of value in at least considering some of these features in a major renovation.

[00:06:33] Taylor: If that's financially. Yeah. And I'm so glad 

[00:06:37] Janet: you brought that up because I think actually people think of aging in place design or making home modifications in the negative, thinking that it's going to decrease your home value. And actually the opposite is true, especially with all of the beautiful products that are out there [00:07:00] like.

[00:07:00] Janet: Products that Ponte Giulio makes that really are going to enhance your design. And they're very contemporary they can match your decor. So I'm glad that you brought that up. And in my last podcast with Louis Tennenbaum he is proposing a program that's called the home purple tag program.

[00:07:27] Janet: And it is basically how you see the rainforest Alliance on products for coffee and chocolate. Basically that a home would have gone through a certification process that. Shows that it meets certain kinds of criteria for aging in place. And I think that would actually be a great thing because then people would understand it differently.

[00:07:53] Janet: And what do you, 

[00:07:55] Taylor: what do you think? I think one of the things that we struggle with is [00:08:00] how, and you sort you hinted at this, that, that. The idea is that it's sort of designing for being decrepit okay. Yeah. We've really sort of associated aging in place with kind of this negative. It's not only negative in terms of what you're capable of doing, but also negative from like a style perspective, like some of this.

[00:08:20] Taylor: So the aesthetics of it are something that people really kinda wary of. And if you Google aging in police design, that doesn't help. The images that come up are kind of atrocious. And especially for people who live in 1920s tutor homes, they don't want it to look like a rehab facility. They've invested years of their money and time and making these homes kind of really speak to their style perspective and their aesthetic it's reflective of them.

[00:08:49] Taylor: And so one of the things we really wanna do, and I think. This would be really interesting is make these modifications invisible. Like that's really what we [00:09:00] try and do is make it so that there's not, they don't stand out. It's not something you see if you need it, it's there, but otherwise it blends in seamlessly with the rest of the home.

[00:09:11] Taylor: So if anything, it elevates the style of the home that already exists. And what I think would be interesting about this purple time program is that. is that once people come in and they see that this is a certified aging place and they don't see it looking like a rehab facility that helps to change the conversation.

[00:09:29] Taylor: And that's really what we really try and do is help homeowners understand that this doesn't have to look like a hospital facility. That this can be something that is beautiful and that is a place where there, when we talk about kitchen, it's a place where their grandkids can come and cook safely that it doesn't need to look like we've fenced everything off that it's a place or a bathtub that the three year old can get out of just as easily as the grandmother can get [00:10:00] out of.

[00:10:00] Taylor: So I think that Invis sort of marrying that invisibility with a kind of sort. Certification or registration or kind of affiliation is really gonna help change that conversation. 

[00:10:13] Janet: Yeah. And what do you use to educate your clients when you are telling them about aging in place? You're trying to convince them that this is a good idea.

[00:10:25] Janet: It's not going to look institutional. Do you use. Pictures, or do you use words? What do you find are the best 

[00:10:34] Taylor: strategies? Kind of all of the above. So luckily we have some really good projects that we can show pictures of and say like, do you see the grab bars? And all of 'em say no. We're like, well, they're here.

[00:10:45] Taylor: And you didn't notice 'em or did you notice that this vanity is four inches lower than this other vanity, but because we've split them, you can't tell that they're at different height. We do a vanity that converts. We have a sketch up [00:11:00] video that we've showed a bunch of times of a vanity where you take off the front and the bottom.

[00:11:05] Taylor: It looks like a regular vanity with storage, and we can take off the face frame and the doors and somebody can wheel up to it. But you wouldn't ever know that looking at it at the outset. So we do a lot of pictures and we show a. But we also talk a lot about some of the statistics that are associated with home value and what is really in the market right now, which is very little in terms of just minor modifications.

[00:11:31] Taylor: So. I guess it was the 2011, the joint council for housing studies at Harvard and their statistics were I, and I may get the numbers wrong, but it was like less than 3% of homes in the United States have a wide enough have wider hallways, have a bedroom on the main level, not a master bedroom, but any bedroom.

[00:11:54] Taylor: Right. Have lever doors or handles, or have accessible plugs that are a little bit [00:12:00] higher. So you don't have to like, hear your knees crack every time you wanna plug in your hair dryer. So. We talk a lot about how little things that are fairly invisible can have a big impact and how they don't cost anything extra.

[00:12:13] Taylor: So that's the big thing for younger homeowners is if I do this a, is it gonna look bad? And B is it gonna cost me more? Because I wanna make sure every penny and I'm like adding a couple of extra pieces of wood in your shower and knowing where they are. So if you need to add a grab bar or selling that as a feature of your home to say this home, is prepped for the ability to, to age in place or to serve an injury or whatever that is that resonates and has some real value.

[00:12:40] Taylor: So tell 

[00:12:42] Janet: us from the knowledge of an architect, what our home modifications that a person can make, whether they're younger or older, that will serve as a way to plan for the future. Right for a disability that [00:13:00] they don't currently have or a need that they don't currently have, that will not cost very much money to make, but will cost will save a whole lot of 

[00:13:13] Taylor: money later on.

[00:13:16] Taylor: So we do, we, we have a service called a private home consultation where we work directly with homeowners to kind of who are thinking about renovations. To walk through the house with them, give them a sense of kind of what their challenges are, where we see some potential problems. And then we provide with them kind of a list of like small, medium, and large opportunities to really have some impact.

[00:13:41] Taylor: And that's where I would sort of say these recommendations fall into sort of the stuff that's really easy to do, where you don't have to hire a general contractor to the stuff that if you're doing a renovation, you ought put this in. And then the big stuff is obviously something that you would build specifically with that purpose.

[00:13:59] Taylor: So [00:14:00] on the sort of easy intervention side of. The biggest one. Well, okay. So my mother's gonna kill me if she hears this, but about two weeks ago, I had a phone call from my very active mother who is in her mid seventies. And every time I go to her house, I say, somebody's gonna fall on this rug and hurt themselves.

[00:14:18] Taylor: And lo and behold, she fell on that rug and dislocated her shoulders. So removing. Removing things that could be fall obstacles. That's a real big one. And so throw rugs, that sort of stuff, but also putting in L E D lights, people fall off of ladders putting in an L E D light and the LEDs last forever.

[00:14:37] Taylor: That's a super easy thing to do. And they're so much more accessible now and affordable than they were even three or four years ago. So that's like number one is sort of figure out ways where you can prevent further accidents from happening. The second would be things like lever door handles.

[00:14:54] Taylor: And if you're replacing a faucet an easy to operate faucet in the bathroom, I have a [00:15:00] bad wrist being able to hit a doorknob with my elbow when I'm having a little flare up is worth its weight and gold. Especially even if I'm carrying a laundry basket to be able to just sort of knock it and open it rather than have to twist and turn easy intervention.

[00:15:13] Taylor: Doesn't require contractor as you move into sort of more contractor intensive things, Changing out light switches to paddle switches. I recommend an electrically because I've been shocked with doing that, but some people may have better skills than I do. So I recommend electrician, but paddle switches are an easy thing to do rather than dimmers that twist and turn.

[00:15:32] Taylor: Changing appliances. If you're in the process of changing appliances, especially in your kitchen, look for an induction range top, they're much more easy to find. Now you don't have open flames. They're great for grandkids to cook with. They're much more safety, better for indoor air quality.

[00:15:49] Taylor: There's all sorts of reasons why I'm a huge proponent of those. So then you get into kind of stuff. If you're doing a, if you're in the process of doing a renovation, I [00:16:00] like to sort of frame, if you don't wanna wider door at that moment, I like to frame as if you were gonna have one and then in fill.

[00:16:06] Taylor: So I frame with headers for a 36 inch door, if that's possible, or if it's on a critical path it's invisible. It goes away, but you know, you can widen it down the road. If you need to. We put electrical outlets, we raise them. If you're in the process of renovating, we put them up to 20 inches so that it's easier to plug things in.

[00:16:25] Taylor: We add blocking and showers for grab bars. If we are redoing a bathroom, we suggest that people go with a carless bath, cardless shower. That's a great really cool design feature that offers a lot of safety. If they're building new, if they're doing a major construction renovation or they're building new, we talk about doing those things.

[00:16:47] Taylor: We try and find a way to get into the home that's zero clearance. So that we don't have to worry about stepping at least one, it doesn't have to be front door, it can be from the garage. But then we talk about things like stacking closets. So [00:17:00] if you are gonna have a second floor accessibility concern or challenge, can we have a place where there might be an elevator?

[00:17:07] Taylor: Can we add a master bedroom or a bedroom on the main levels in case somebody has an injury Atlanta who works with us has multiple ACL tears from cheerleading days. It would've been really helpful when she was recuperating to have had a bedroom on the main level, rather than having to negotiate stairs.

[00:17:24] Taylor: So I think those are probably the biggest things that we talk about is having some accessibility in the bathroom, having a master or a bedroom suite on the main level stacking closets for further accessibility. Another one we advocate when people are doing projects is putting outlets next to stairs, especially exterior stairs.

[00:17:43] Taylor: If that is a, the challenge and you won't be able to eventually put a ramp, if you need a lift to get into. The home, having an outdoor outlet that's rated for that equipment is a great way to just be able to plug and play. The other thing we [00:18:00] advocate for when we're doing major renovations is low maintenance.

[00:18:04] Taylor: So if you are putting new siding on your home, we wanna try and do a five or cement siding so that you're not painting it all the time. G our guards, so that you don't have to climb up on a ladder and keep the guards clean. So low maintenance, exterior. Energy efficiency. So all of this stuff kind of filters into, is this a place where we can stay longer?

[00:18:25] Taylor: Do we have some predictability in the usage and in its efficiency? And is it gonna be a place that supports us if there's something that does happen some sort of injury or illness. So there's definitely a range of things that you can do, but certainly the easy things to do on the low end, not a lot of houses have.

[00:18:44] Taylor: So just those levering handle. L E D fixtures and some faucets that are easy to operate will have a huge impact without costing an arm and a leg or having even to bring in a general contract. That 

[00:18:56] Janet: is so true because most homes are [00:19:00] under lit and lighting is a huge reason why people fall. 

[00:19:06] Taylor: Our vision starts to 

[00:19:07] Janet: change at the age of 40, so you don't have to be old.

[00:19:12] Janet: To have bad vision, right? So everyone I'm 44 and I need to turn on the light. Now, every time I walk into a room or I go down my stairs, I turn on the lights because that's why they're called accidents. You don't know they're gonna happen. And the 

[00:19:32] Taylor: key is actually preventing right the fall. That's the last time we don't ever wanna be called.

[00:19:40] Taylor: in an emergency because that never works very well. We're always, it's a time crunch situation. There's a lot of emotions that are associated with it. My dad had both of his knees replaced at the same time and we had to come up with a shower solution pretty quickly, and a house that had, I mean, like [00:20:00] eight inch curbs.

[00:20:01] Taylor: And it was contentious and emotional and somebody is recuperating and they're already scared. Or dealing with some pain from a traumatic injury or a surgery that kind of change can be really kind of upending. So whatever we can do to prevent that sort of stuff from happening in the first place and have that accommodation already be there is going to not just be less expensive and done better.

[00:20:31] Taylor: It's also gonna. With the actual sort of emotional quality of the rehabilitation in the first place, there's an ease associated with that. You've alleviated some fear, at least that's what we've found. Yeah. 

[00:20:41] Janet: Yeah. You've removed a lot of stress from the whole situation. Now the situation you're talking about is the kind of experience that I have as an OT working in home health, because that's right.

[00:20:55] Janet: The, what I would walk into and one of the most common [00:21:00] problems. That there was that the person couldn't after this traumatic event, or maybe a change in their health, they could no longer leave the house or come into the house because there wasn't even one zero step entry. And for most homes there isn't my home, for example, I don't have one zero step entry.

[00:21:25] Janet: So. 

[00:21:26] Taylor: What is your opinion 

[00:21:28] Janet: on how to solve those issues when you don't, it currently doesn't exist and you're trying to figure out how do I create a zero step entry. 

[00:21:40] Taylor: It's really hard. And I think that there aren't a ton of solutions. That especially in an emergency situation are particularly attractive or feel right?

[00:21:54] Taylor: Or feel like they're a wise investment. They feel sometimes a temporary [00:22:00] ramp can feel a little Ty and certainly people don't wanna put that on the front of their houses. If you live in an area with a high water table getting a zero step entry is really hard. So we look for places where.

[00:22:14] Taylor: We're close and then we try and mitigate it as best we can. So for instance, we had a home where there were the front porch was once you got to the porch, you were zero all the way through the rest of the house. So the question was getting to that front porch. And luckily we were only about. 10 inches off of grade.

[00:22:33] Taylor: And so there was room on the side to create a pretty little Bluestone ramp to come up to the porch. Now, the homeowner's elected not to do it at that particular moment. I think they will at a certain point, but the plans are there. We talk about it in garages. If there's a way to kind of go from a two car garage to maybe a one car garage with critical the critical vehicle, having access to some sort of ramp to get you up to where you need to go.

[00:22:58] Taylor: I think after that, [00:23:00] then you enter into kind of the lift scenario and that's harder. But if you can hide it in a garage, some people are more comfortable with that. I've seen some really, and we haven't ever installed any, some really ingenious and beautiful transparent types of lists that do different levels.

[00:23:19] Taylor: We are currently working on a home and design phase right now where we'll be installing an elevator. Because we don't have any way to get zero clearance. We're on a big hill. So we're putting in a residential elevator specifically for that purpose. So I think it's not an easy thing to, if we're building new, we can plan for it and we can figure out a way to, to do it.

[00:23:39] Taylor: Or if we're doing an addition, we can figure that out the outset, but. Finding the, doing a thorough walkthrough of the home, not just saying, okay, it's gotta be the front door of the back door. Maybe there's another way to get in. If we've got a window where floor is closer to great, could we convert that to a door?

[00:23:54] Taylor: Is there a way to landscape it, to use the ground, to mitigate part of that [00:24:00] so that we're not going from zero to 12 or 14 or whatever that. We're starting at six. So that ramp doesn't have to be quite so steep. It can be something that's hardscaped into the landscape, so that it's an attractive feature.

[00:24:13] Taylor: And some people can plant stuff in front of it and you would never know. Right. 

[00:24:17] Janet: You'd never know that it was a ramp Yeah. I love those ideas and I especially love the idea of the elevator. I think it's gonna be used more and more, especially with there being less land available.

[00:24:31] Janet: Build on it costs more money because you'd have to have a larger lot plus not everyone can live in a single story home so we're going to need to put in elevators. So can you educate us? On that 

[00:24:46] Taylor: whole process. Well this is something we are just starting to really get into.

[00:24:52] Taylor: We have been fortunate enough to have been dealing with homes where that hasn't been a requirement. And this is really one of the first projects where we've [00:25:00] really sort of dived into it. There are lots of different kinds of elevators. There's ones with machine rooms, they're machine roomless there's.

[00:25:07] Taylor: There are some that are really a. Although, those kind of make me feel like a star Trek movie where you kind of pop out of the floor. I'm a little, I find a little disconcerting. Are those a pneumatic elevator? There's a, yes. They're pneumatic. And they like a vacuum tube and they Uhhuh, they look a little they're I'm not a fan.

[00:25:27] Taylor: I would rather be in an elevator where I feel like I'm in an elevator and that's a personal preference. But the great news is that elevators are so customizable now. That there are lots of different options for how to get in and out. You may have one that has doors that are 90 degrees from each other.

[00:25:47] Taylor: You can have them, so they open on opposite sides. So there's a lot of flexibility associated with residential elevators now that I don't think there was even 10 years ago. And they're a lot more [00:26:00] available to people. So. So being able to kind of customize, especially when we're doing a retrofit in an older home, an elevator that operates the way we need it to operate, whether it's having a pit or a machine room or whatever equipment is necessary.

[00:26:15] Taylor: And having it be able to open in a way that is functional for the rest of the home is really critical. And people don't wanna just throw something in and have it work. They wanna, especially if they're dealing with a home that they've had for 40 years, they want it to be something that works with their home and is usable.

[00:26:34] Taylor: It's gotta be big enough for somebody who's in a wheelchair and likely a caregiver. So it has to be as some significant size some in another project right now in lieu of an elevator, because we do have main level access. We're actually putting in a dumb wait. So that when the owner brings home groceries, they could use that dumb waiter to bring up heavy loads instead of a full elevator.

[00:26:58] Taylor: Cause we don't really have space for a full [00:27:00] elevator. So we're kind of halfing it a little bit but getting she can get inside from the main level quite easily, but it's a long way to the kitchen. So what we did was put a, what we were in the process of doing is putting in a dumb waiter from the garage.

[00:27:15] Taylor: So that when she comes in with groceries or a big load, all of those can be loaded in and brought upstairs without having to carry. So I think there's lots of different ways to skin that cat but you gotta be kind of creative about it. And it really helps to work with a local elevator distributor who can come and repair and install there's really great national companies and their local reps can help sort of determine.

[00:27:44] Taylor: Who in your area is the right person or the right fit for the type of elevator you're looking for. But having somebody locally that you can have that conversation with, that's gonna be responsible for the installation and the repair and the maintenance of it is also really critical. 

[00:27:59] Janet: Yeah. [00:28:00] That's all great information.

[00:28:02] Janet: What about cost? Are you familiar? I know that with different types of elevator, The cost changes. And depending on the existing instruction of the house, whether you already had two stack closets available, 

[00:28:17] Taylor: it can vary a lot. And it varies based on the configuration of what you're looking for, whether it's a machine room or no machine room or a pit or whatever it is there's a significant variation.

[00:28:28] Taylor: So again, I think the. It's not, let me say this. It is not an insignificant investment. I mean we're talking over $20,000 for sure. Right? So, so the best thing to do is to work with a local rep and an architect to help configure the most cost effective and best layout for the space you have, if you're inserting into an existing home.

[00:28:50] Taylor: But I would definitely consult with a local rep and an architect because there's always framing. That's associated with that. So you wanna make sure that structurally your home [00:29:00] is right. And is, and there's not gonna be additional kind of modifications that you need to make in order for that elevator to be successful.

[00:29:07] Taylor: But also working with an architect to, to help find the right spot. If you don't have the set of stacked closets, where you've already determined that that works most effectively for the layout and function of the way you're currently living in the. A poorly placed elevator is worse than no elevator.

[00:29:26] Taylor: I think yeah. 

[00:29:28] Janet: Well, I'm glad you mentioned that and I know you said the cost is not insignificant. It's gonna be at least 20 or $30,000, but then when you consider the cost of moving, let's say, you're gonna, let's say. Going to buy another house that you think is going to be better suited for aging in place, which that house is probably also going to need a number of modifications.

[00:29:53] Janet: Oh, just what you're 

[00:29:54] Taylor: gonna pay 

[00:29:55] Janet: in realtor fees. That's probably at least $15,000 [00:30:00] 

[00:30:00] Taylor: and that's an analysis we talk to people about is, and not just elevators but all the stuff that we talk about if you have to move again and especially right now, because construction costs are high.

[00:30:11] Taylor: If this is a situation where your bathroom really needs a renovation and we're able to make it functional, why not make it more functional and spend an extra two or 3% on things that are gonna last that much longer? Because coming back in and tearing it up because you need X.

[00:30:30] Taylor: Is gonna be twice as expensive. Or finding a new home, like you said, the realtor fees associated with it are gonna be pretty significant. So I think that's a great point is that cost analysis cost benefit analysis over a period of time is a, is I think a particularly powerful conversation to have with folks.

[00:30:54] Taylor: It's hard to gauge real estate costs. And so when we talk to people about doing a renovation and are they gonna get their [00:31:00] ROI on it, that's a hard thing to put our finger on, but we know that most homes don't have these features. And we know that it costs just this much more to do this and that there is more value associated with it because you have definitively opened up a whole new pool of people who might be able to buy it.

[00:31:17] Taylor: Who might be interested, especially if you're in a neighborhood that's already walkable, that's close to. Restaurants or shops or places that people are familiar with. Yeah. That having more accessible homes in communities where people already are I think is really quick.

[00:31:35] Taylor: People don't wanna leave. I mean, that's part of the reason for. Folks not doing might not moving and staying in places that don't support them and thus having additional accidents it's cuz they don't wanna leave your com. Who does you don't wanna leave your community and your support system and your family.

[00:31:51] Taylor: And so that kind of, that, that association with aging at home and being in your community [00:32:00] there's, you may not be in your home, but at least if you've got an opportunity to move to a house that is a fit. At least you're staying close to your grandkids or you're staying close to your doctors or you're staying close to your volunteer work or your church or whatever that is.

[00:32:14] Janet: And that's one big reason why people stay where they are, is access to healthcare. It's super important. I've had so many patients in the past that when they retired, they bought a house on a 

[00:32:25] Taylor: lake or they bought a farm. Or I used to live in Colorado. 

[00:32:29] Janet: People that lived in ski areas. And then eventually you had to move back to the city because you didn't have adequate access 

[00:32:36] Taylor: to healthcare.

[00:32:37] Taylor: I just talked to a friend last night whose folks had been living in South Carolina and they were moving back to New Jersey because of a Parkinson's diagnosis and they didn't have access to healthcare where they were they were in a great beach house, but it was taking them an hour and a half to get to the doctor.

[00:32:57] Taylor: and so I think that's a very real [00:33:00] concern. And is something that we are often really reluctant to talk about, cuz nobody wants to talk about the fact that they might be a doctor on a regular basis. They just don't. And that's I think changing the conversation from, we need to support.

[00:33:21] Taylor: Old age because old age means that you're gonna have health problems or challenges to a conversation where we are going to talk about how you can continue to live the active lifestyle that you are living in a place that supports you continuing to live it for as long as you possibly can, there's a much more positive spin on it.

[00:33:44] Taylor: We want you to continue to do the things you wanna do. We want you to be able to retire and travel and not worry about your house. Have a place where your medication is close by. So you're not worried about getting all the way to the kitchen from the master suite. So little things that, that ultimately I think [00:34:00] are about supporting older adults.

[00:34:04] Taylor: As they continue, cuz they are continuing to work. They're continuing to have active lifestyles. They're playing sports, they are traveling, they are doing stuff with their grandkids. They're doing all of this longer. And so we need to have homes that support, that increased engagement. I love.

[00:34:24] Janet: That phrase, you just said, it's so important. And just looking at it from a positive perspective, rather than you're getting older decrepitness but no it's so that you can continue to do the things that you are currently doing and that you want to continue 

[00:34:42] Taylor: to do. Yeah. And that you won't have to move.

[00:34:45] Taylor: Yeah. That if something happens, yeah. You won't have to. 

[00:34:49] Janet: right. So my last question is I always like to talk about the outside of the home because well, myself, one of my [00:35:00] hobbies is gardening and so I'd love to be outside. And that is one of the things that it tends to be commonplace is that.

[00:35:09] Janet: older people, especially in homes that you know, were designed in the fifties and sixties and seventies, there isn't safe access to the yard and then once you're in the yard, it's not safe to maneuver through the yard. So do you look at that from. The perspective of an architect when you're designing, do you talk to your clients about creating more 

[00:35:38] Taylor: usable spaces?

[00:35:40] Taylor: We do. We actually work with landscape architects pretty closely on a lot of our projects and that partnership has been really instrumental in helping us think a little bit differently about access to the yard. So. we, a lot of times, if we don't have I, my thumb is out of black. [00:36:00] Unfortunately I wish it were greener, but it's not but I am very aware of hardscape and surfaces and we find a lot of situations.

[00:36:08] Taylor: We just completed a renovation and the outdoor the sort of patio from that was from the house to the pool was painted stamped, concrete, and it. When it rained, it was a horrible, slippery mess. And it didn't drain correctly. So there were puddles and places for people to slip. So one of the things that, that happened during that process was pulling all of that up and replacing it with paver stones and putting grass between it.

[00:36:36] Taylor: So there was some softness and it drains much better. One of the things we think about when we're doing stuff outside is one are we creating puddles that are potentially dangerous? How do we get outside? So that transition from indoors to outdoors. Is it a zero clearance? Is there a way to negotiate getting back down to the backyard in some way?

[00:36:57] Taylor: And are there any hazards [00:37:00] that we can see are there tree routes that we can design paths around so that we're not adding tripping hazard? I think when we've been learning more about things like steps that are appropriate for people in walkers, not everybody's gonna be in a wheelchair, but a lot of people are gonna be in a Walker.

[00:37:18] Taylor: So how do we create deeper steps that are appropriate for people using a Walker? Sure. So negotiate a little bit better and those can be really beautiful. They don't have to be they don't have to be utilitarian looking. I think the other thing that, that landscape architects, especially talented ones have kind of opened our eyes to is sort of the sensory qualities of being outside and light and shade and providing places for people to sit that's in a shaded area.

[00:37:47] Taylor: Mm-hmm . And also the importance of water. Are there water features that create nice sounds in the garden? Are there trees that blow in the breeze that you can hear? So those sort of sensory qualities, and I think [00:38:00] landscape architects are really talented and pulling those features in, so that not only is where we are thinking about it in terms of safety and supporting activities.

[00:38:09] Taylor: They're also thinking about it as a place to sort of bring a whole sort of level of wellness. To a space and being outdoors and for having a connection to the outdoor. For me a lot of times it's framing a view from the interior, but also thinking about the exterior and how does that experience kind of resonate, especially as we get older and we're thinking about opportunities where we've got time to sit down and read outside is it a place where that's a nice place to do that?

[00:38:39] Taylor: Is there shame is there a space that you can get to that's easily accessible and place to sit? So we really work with landscape architects to do a lot of that, but I think the transition from inside to outside thinking about potential hazards and designing spaces that support access are really kind of what we think [00:39:00] about when we're working on that sort of project.

[00:39:02] Janet: well, that was a great answer or great several answers. sorry. Yeah I really enjoyed your perspective. Thank you so much for being with us today. Taylor, I've learned so much. Thank you. It's just I always say the reason why I wanted to make this a podcast where I interviewed other people is because I can talk about aging in place, but really only from my perspective, And so it really is so valuable to bring other professionals and learn what's in their head because you just see things that you had never thought about before and solutions to problems that never occurred to you.

[00:39:47] Janet: Cuz you don't have the experience. You don't have the know. so thank you so much. Oh, you're so 

[00:39:53] Taylor: welcome your knowledge with us. I would echo your sentiment. That part of the reason why I love doing this is we have the opportunity to learn [00:40:00] from occupational therapists and physical therapists and from doctors and medical professionals and people who specialize in this equipment because they are so valuable in contributing to the conversation.

[00:40:09] Taylor: So I learned so much and I have learned a lot listening to your podcast. About different aspects and how this whole conversation really involves a lot of people. It's not just, it does. So thank you for being a part of that. 

[00:40:22] Janet: Well, thank you for being a part of it. well, I hope that you will come on the show again and we can talk about other things.

[00:40:31] Janet: And so I know you are in Birmingham so if people want to get ahold of you, what is the best way 

[00:40:38] Taylor: that people can do? Our website is www.tpdarchitect.com. And there's all sorts of ways to get in touch with us on the website. But our email address is info. At T P D architect.com. And we monitor that email all day long and are happy to have a conversation we're also on [00:41:00] Instagram and LinkedIn, and pretty much everywhere else, you can find this Facebook, but we love having conversations with folks and answering questions and we are happy to talk to whomever.

[00:41:12] Taylor: Okay. 

[00:41:13] Janet: All right. Well, great. Thank you so much, Taylor. Thank 

[00:41:16] Taylor: you.