D e s i g n E n v e l o p e . c o m
                                                               by William Edward Summers, Inc.


5 Considerations for Your New Retirement House

Home & Builder’s Magazine, Victoria, B.C., 1998


Building a house for retirement provides a unique opportunity for one to create an ideal, personalized setting. Obviously, the needs of a person who is retired are quite different from those who are raising a family. Five main considerations are important when planning to build a house for retirement:

1. Plan ahead for ease of circulation:

A custom fit is one of the advantages of building your own house. A kitchen which fits your needs and the way that you operate makes life easier and cooking more enjoyable. Plan ahead with wider hallways and doorways for easier navigation and a main bathroom with grab bars and easily operated fixtures, is also a good idea. And of course, no steps.

2. Can your house provide income?

It is possible to build a duplex with very adequate living areas in a size range of 2,000 to 2,500 square feet total. The rental unit will provide an income stream which will continue to adjust with inflation. If your zoning designation does not allow for a duplex, perhaps an in-law type suite may be feasible. Also a live-in maid or caregiver’s quarters is an important feature which should be considered when a house for retirement is designed.

Additional savings can be realized by the careful choice of building materials, and proper insulation, along with the type of space and water heating systems.

3. Working at home:

According to recent government studies, more and more people are choosing to continue working after retirement, with an increasing number of people working at home. A good home office is much more than a spare bedroom. A well designed home office may have its own entrance from the outside, and certainly requires special planning for the electrical layout, storage requirements, and telephone lines.

4. Security:

Gated communities or a development with a private security service may be among the better places for building a house for Retirement. If this is not possible, then having a rentable suite in your house may provide a measure of security.

5. Healthy Design:

“Green architecture,” which means design and construction which uses low on nontoxic materials, non-allergenic materials, surfaces which are easily kept clean and dust free, and proper air circulation, among other things, is rapidly gaining wider acceptance. “Green architecture” is much more affordable with a smaller house. A house for your retirement which is built with as many “green” features as possible means a healthier personal environment.

Even those who travel extensively look forward to coming home. Thoughtful design and planning can make your retirement house an enjoyable retreat which works well for you.

William Edward Summers