Nineteen percent of US households now have more than one adult generation living under the same roof.   That percentage is rising and is equivalent to the 1950’s.   #multigenerational

Why are these numbers on the rise? These statistics will help to understand the surprising uptick:

  • The average cost per year of Assisted Living in the Northeast is currently a whopping $120,000/year.
  • Student debt has risen to $1.4 trillion for US college graduates according to the Federal Reserve.
  • Annual child care costs $24,000 in NYC is (DC and Massachusetts is even higher)

With these statistics, It’s no wonder that multigenerational households are on the rise.

As an interior designer and Certified Aging in Place Specialist, the question I’m often asked is: How do I differentiate designing for families with young children versus ones that share a home with an aging parent?

My answer: It’s a very similar approach. Parents with toddlers know of the many difficulties of pushing a stroller into a home.  Children of older  parents know that those steps leading into a home could one day prevent wheelchair access.

I’m very familiar with these situations because I live in a multi generational household.   My husband and I renovated our home so that his mother could live with us after his dad passed.  Our renovation made our home more “livable” and gave us each our necessary privacy.   Fourteen years later this arrangement still works.

If you are thinking of renovating, there’s so much more you can do to accommodate all ages, and allow you to remain in your home. Our free guide offers a wealth of information so that you can live in your “Forever Home”: Sign up now to download this indispensable guide.


The project started the way most things in life start (at least, the best things). With a search.

A search for the perfect chair.

The one that reminded me of my favorite chair; the one from my grandmother’s home. With its deep comfy seat and its soft rolled arms, it was a place to sit for half a minute, or maybe half a day.

But times changed, and so did our bodies and our needs. And so the search changed too.  The chair needed a more streamlined silhouette. It needed just the right scale, and its legs needed to show just the right amount of wood.

And so, as the vision of that perfect chair became clearer in my mind, the search shifted to a workroom that could realize my design: that of an updated re-imagining of the chair I loved.

Today, the frame is still there, but with straight arms that give it a sleeker look. The legs are lovely, offering more of a reveal than just a hint of wood.

And its beauty is more than skin deep. The beauty of each bespoke piece lies in the way its arms, legs and back are customizable to fit your needs, effortlessly transforming my memory of a favorite into yours. Most importantly, these are pieces that work for every generation.

From this one chair a collaboration of customized heirloom pieces, including sofas, chaises and ottomans was born, ones that transports us back to homes we knew…the ones we loved.

Together, we will design pieces that transport you back to the home you knew and loved, personalizing everything from its structure to its upholstery to create a treasured piece of furniture that will be handed down from generation to generation. 

To make your appointment and begin the personalization process, please give me a call at 201.848.9797.

Or if you prefer to schedule a time online, please click here.

The new subway mosaic at Hudson Yards, NYC

According to the US Census, the number of households with three generations under one roof and at least one member the age of 65 and over has grown from 1.7 million in 2006 to 3.2 million in 2016.

At this month’s Business of Home Conference speakers from Curbed and Zillow, talked about how these multi-generational homes are impacting the future of real estate.  Referring to the large number of boomers moving into senior communities as the “silver tsunami”, they defined what’s trending with the Boomer market.

Boomers are:

  • Renovating their homes with “Aging-in-place” at the top of their list. These are homes that accommodate ALL generations. But taking it one step farther is that they’re also designing to meet the needs of parents with Alzheimers or Dementia. (more on both in future posts)
  • Seeking more upscale senior living accommodations in urban areas.

Smart Home Technology was noted as being important to millennials…but I see that technology has become more user friendly to all generations. From Google Nest Hub to Siri to Alexa – it’s becoming a part of how we stay connected with family members.

So where are they going?

One speaker commented: “You’re going to see people who value quality of life, who want to be able to own a home or a business and do it affordably, looking at cities like San Antonio, Austin, Memphis, Louisville and Nashville as their best option,”    Those secondary markets are going to grow quite considerably.”

Continue to follow this blog for more on that in future posts!

The “Vessel” NYC

“The Future of Home” design seminar took place last week in NYC. It was a great experience. One of the most interesting talks was given by Zillow and Curbed entitled “The Future of Real Estate”. They had plenty to say about millennials. Here are my three takeaways.

  1. More people under the age of 34 continue to live at home with their parents.
  2. Married couples are taking in roommates to help with finances.
  3. Most fascinating to me, co-living (aka communal living where tenants share kitchens and living rooms) is on the rise. To meet this trend, companies located in major east and west coast cities are offering move-in ready, fully furnished, wifi and even cleaning crews.

So what does this mean for the future of home design? To me, this reinforces the fact that multigenerational homes will only continue to rise. These are homes that need to be designed to adapt to all generations.

Next week I’ll follow up with how “the Silver Tsumani” – boomers – are effecting the future of real estate. Stay tuned!

A Wall Street Journal article cited statistics from The United States of Aging Survey – adults 60 and older were asked to identify their biggest concern about aging: 40% said that maintaining physical health was important; 32% said maintaining mental health; 25% said living independently and 13% said getting to visit family and/or friends was important.

A survey unrelated to this article caused me to view the last two results with some skepticism. That survey showed that lonely and isolated seniors are more likely on average to report poor physical and/or mental health. I believe that 13% may have answered differently with that knowledge.

So what do these stats even have to do with interior design you ask?

Nine in ten folks want to remain in their homes as they age.  Beautiful design is important but so is a home that is designed for the future – one that is accessible, regardless of your physical ability.

So why leave home if you don’t have to? We can design a beautiful home for you today with tomorrow in mind.

Last year at the National Kitchen and Bath show there was one feature that stood out to us that we’re using in all of our designs: Lighting…everywhere. This “simple” feature combines beauty, safety and function.

These products are now readily available to consumers and they just make life easier…for anyone, at any ability.

Mirrors, sinks and vanities that keep us safe in the middle of the night.
Interior drawer lights add efficiency.
Interior lighting make any cabinet more efficient.

A friend recently told me the story of a woman named Rose who was a patient at the nursing home where her Dad resided. Each and every day my friend would see Rose, dressed to the nines with lipstick and hair styled – position her wheelchair by the front door…waiting for someone to take her home.  Sadly, there was no one and no plan for her return.

And I thought to myself – I will not be that woman.  

Studies show that 90% of people want to age in their homes.  Unfortunately, most people don’t plan properly to make that desire a reality.  My husband and I want to be in our “forever home” by the time our 11 year old graduates high school.

My vision of a stylish, well lit, universally designed home is so vivid that it will be impossible not to become reality.  

Because I refuse to sit waiting at the front door.

Want to learn more?  Sign up for my blog posts as I write about how your forever home can be designed so that you can “thrive in place”.

Can’t wait for future posts?  Read more by linking to articles under the blog category: livable design.

Are you thinking of building a second home? Not just another home but one with subtle nuances that will accommodate your family into the future? We call adding these inconspicuous refinements “livable design details”. Proactive design that enhances and welcomes every generation.

A “simple” first step is to find a house plan (or blueprints) that appeal to you. Start by paying attention to the overall flow of the floor plan…prior to meeting your architect. Envision yourself walking through the space and living there. This will enable you to initiate a productive in-depth conversation with your architect and designer about how you want your home to function for you and your family. (stay tuned for a future post where we go deep into what we recommend be in every second home)

Five tips to keep in mind when developing a livable design plan:

1. Look for a home with a single story floor plan that has a zero step entrance. If you prefer a multi storied home, the layout of the main areas should have at least one (master) bedroom suite on the main floor.

This traditional style cottage (above) could easily adapt to include a zero step entrance while the contemporary home, below, is a perfect example.

2. Thinking of adding an elevator? You don’t have to commit right away. Add a closet to the floor plan to be easily converted at a later date. To add one that is ADA compliant, (Americans with Disability Act) the minimum door width for an elevator interior is 36″. The depth of the interior must be at least 51″, and the width must be at least 68″, (unless the elevator has center-opening doors, in which case at least 80″ is required). Although this size may seem large, it’s important to plan to have enough space for not only the wheelchair bound person but also a caregiver.

Example of ADA compliant elevator.

3. Need to accommodate for family with special needs? Hallways and door openings should allow for a minimum of 32″ wide doorways and 36″ – 42″ for hallways.

4. Is bigger always better? In this case, yes. Think about increasing each room size to account for furniture plans that allow for a minimum 36″ pass by space should a wheelchair become necessary. Keeping this in mind – bathrooms need a turning radius of five foot minimum while kitchens need a pass through area of 42 – 48″.

A example of how a five foot turning radius affects the size of even a small bathroom.

5. Increase the amount of accessible walk-in storage. Not only will this hide clutter and prevent items from being left out, it will also help to prevent falls. Maximizing floor-to-ceiling storage increases orderliness throughout the home.

Bonus: Situate your home in a southern exposure for maximum light! Read more about how light affects design in our blog post entitled “The Healing effects of Light”

I can sometimes tolerate a room without windows on a dreary day but on a sunny day… it’s unbearable!  People tend to gravitate to the areas of their homes that provide them with the most sunlight and the best views. 
Why?  Because research repeatedly proves that natural light is healing. Stress levels decrease and mental energy is replenished in spaces that provide natural light and provide views of nature.  
Do you have a favorite place in your home where you can thrive?  

A recent statistic stated that the highest population of baby boomers live in Califorina.   It should really comes as no surprise.  As we age, we naturally yearn for more natural sunlight…simply stated because it makes us feel better.  

So, if you don’t live on the West Coast, here are a few easy tips as to how you can maximize the comfort and performance in your home from lighting expert Mariana Figueiro.

  • Lighting on a task area surface should be brighter than the surrounding space
  • Minimize glare by curbing the use of glossy materials
  • Lighting so shadows are “softer” (ones that don’t cast harsh shadows)
  • Balance light levels in an area
  • To keep circadian rhythms in sync: during the daytime hours (or at least for 2 hours in the morning) increase light levels and use bluish white for at least 2 hrs in the morning.”  In addition,  during the evening hours decrease light levels and use lights with a wam yellowish tint.
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This month’s Wellnotes delves into the principles of “Livable Design”, more commonly referred to as “aging in place”. When we think about “aging in place” we think of wider doorways or higher electrical outlets.  A recent statistic however, shifted our focus from a physical to an emotional point of view: “Half of nursing home residents are placed there, not for health reasons but the absence of social interaction due to a lack of accessibility”.  A large part of a designer’s job is to implement designs so that social connections aren’t lost and more importantly, don’t look like an after thought.   As Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) we can recommend many design options that not only speak to an aging population, but also benefits families with young children planning on staying in their homes indefinitely, such as:

  1. Levered door handles easily grasped by aging hands and small children.
  2. A slight entranceway ramp instead of stairs that are both wheelchair and stroller friendly.
  3. Entranceway cameras with an intercom system (with smartphone features) providing security to both the elderly and mothers with small children.
  4. Hallway motion sensor lights that illuminate objects benefiting both the elderly and toddler’s leaping out of bed in middle of the night.

Livable design is a thoughtful design process that can be implemented now and work for all ages.

                                                                                                               
Our interiors are designed to be highly personal.  We ensure that you’re surrounded with design that’s meaningful and represents you authentically—so that you’ll thrive.   Give us a call or email us.  We’d love to get to know you and help you create an uplifting environment.