The Home

Optimized for aging-in-place, the 2015 Home for Life offers a roadmap to creating beautiful, efficient homes that can comfortably adapt to every stage of life.

From top: Herman Johnson, Designer; Richard Duncan, UD Specialist; and Larry Zarker, High Performance Specialist

From top: Herman Johnson, Designer; Richard Duncan, UD Specialist; and Larry Zarker, High Performance Specialist

Every eight seconds someone in the United States turns 65—and odds are they want to stay in their home.

In January 2011, the first wave of the country’s nearly 80 million baby boomers officially reached retirement age—and this cohort will continue to grow by more than 10,000 a day for another 15 years. AARP surveys of those 50 and older have consistently found that an overwhelming percentage wants to stay in their homes as long as possible.  Most, however, haven’t yet taken steps to ensure that their home can continue to live comfortably as they age. Smart solutions that improve how homes function for every member of the family, regardless of age or ability, have never been more important—and that’s exactly what the 2015 Home for Life has to offer.

Created in collaboration with an all-star team of designers, universal design consultants, efficiency specialists, and professional organizations, this year’s Home for Life offers a revolutionary suite of ideas that enable homes to live better, last longer, and perform more efficiently.

Starting with a design based on a typical 1970s suburban home, the team at Case Design/Remodeling and the universal design experts at the Better Living Design Institute crafted a remodel that updates the home’s aesthetics and functionality with innovative solutions tailored to meet the needs of today’s boomers while making life easier for every member of the family.

Herman Johnson, senior architectural specialist at Case, says that the most common misconception about universal design is that it’s useful only to those with limited mobility. The redesigned spaces in the Home for Life “are not just about grab bars and wide hallways,” he says.  “Many universal design features are very subtle.”  Johnson points to thoughtful details like raised, front-loading washers and dryers, which make loading and unloading laundry easier for everyone.

“We’re really addressing the mainstream audience by adding features that blend in,” says Richard Duncan, executive director at Better Living Design. “Remodelers can bring clients features they’ll see in Home for Life that will work well and look great. They’ll be able to offer all these convenience and ease-of-use ideas that everyone will like—and that also happen to work for them in the long term.”

The home’s performance also got an update with the latest in energy-efficient practices and cutting-edge products that not only cut down on consumption but also reduce the need for maintenance and repairs. “It’s not just about energy efficiency,” says Larry Zarker, CEO of the Building Performance Institute, whose staff served as Home for Life’s building-performance gurus. “It’s about ensuring the home’s performance is consistent.” That will reduce monthly energy bills, he says, but it will also ensure that all rooms are comfortable and free of drafts and cut down on insects and dust.

The result is a design filled with ideas as beautiful and functional as they are adaptable. Remodelers and homeowners can use the design as a template for their own projects or pick and choose best practices that fit their needs as they create their own home for life.