1970s Rambler Reimagined
A story of a couple who prioritized remodeling their home for aging-in-place.
It was time for the team to take a trip back to a 1970s rambler in Mendota Heights. The last time we were here was in 2015 when we updated the basement. This time, the team headed upstairs. Our goal was to make the main floor more livable and incorporate aging-in-place remodeling features. With a few modifications to the floorplan, we expanded the kitchen and made the 3/4 bath more accessible.
Our clients can see themselves living here happily for many years to come. In the event of another pandemic (or limited mobility), they can be ‘stuck’ in a place in a place they love.
Tweaking the Floorplan
A Bigger Kitchen
We removed the hallway between the kitchen and the 3/4 bath. This opened up the kitchen and created more space for people, storage, and cooking.
Instead of tossing the old cabinets, they were donated to Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity.
A Roomier Bath
In the 3/4 bath, we removed the linen closet to make room for a curbless shower.
A handy laundry chute remains.
New windows in the kitchen and bath let in more light. Opposite the island, there’s even MORE storage!
A kitchen designed for cooking together.
The tight “U” shaped layout meant that the couple was constantly bumping into each other. To create a better flow, we removed the peninsula and cabinets and added a slim island. The appliances were updated and we swapped the electric stove for a gas one. This kitchen was transformed into a chef’s paradise.
No tripping hazards here.
Shown here is the entry from the front door to the kitchen. The existing railing (also important to help keep balance) was painted black to blend with the new style. There’s also a smooth transition from the large format tile floor and the hardwood. Thresholds make it harder for people using walkers or wheelchairs to move about.
Task lighting for aging eyes.
The right kind of light in a kitchen is a universal design feature that makes the space easier to work in. As we get older, our eyes change in ways where we need an appropriate amount of lighting so we can carry out our daily tasks. Note that countertops can be a culprit and cause glare but the material chosen can reduce it. As for aesthetics, the lighting highlights the true beauty of the classic tile backsplash.
Light and people flow through the space.
The open flow from the kitchen to the family room is great for hosting family and friends! Adding contrast to the room are sleek and stylish black appliances. Bonus points here: sourcing the black stainless steel dishwasher was not easy.
New hardwood floors in the kitchen and hall match the existing floor in the new Great Room. A smooth ceiling and recessed lighting supplements the natural light from the existing windows.
No more crouching, stooping, or crawling to find what you’re looking for.
With storage galore, even the dog gets her own cabinet for kibble! Throughout the kitchen, there are pullouts and drawers for ease of use. Notice that the handles on the cabinets are pulls instead of knobs in the case of future dexterity issues. Between the kitchen and front room, new built-in bookcases display favorite books and bowls.
The redesigned fireplace with a gas inset steals the show.
Accessible 3/4 bath with curbless shower
The wide opening with a pocket door and the curbless shower make the bathroom accessible with a walker or wheelchair. In addition to the glass door and partition, the floor was elevated slightly near the door so water will drain into the shower.
A new glass block window with vent lets in the morning light.
Interested in accessible bathrooms and curbless showers? You’ll love this one.
Matching cabinetry in the new bathroom for design continuity.
Careful consideration went into every detail of this aging-in-place remodel. Our clients have a bright, efficient home designed for the future.
Guide to Universal Design
Our in-depth guide to aging-in-place home design is packed with ideas and information.
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