Designer + Writer

Christine Brun Portrait

Christine Brun is an expert in lifestyle trends and interior design topics. She also offers color consultation and interior design.

 

Staying Put

Staying Put

Staying Put

Boomers aren’t going anywhere. Most baby boomers say they don’t have any plans to move after they retire, mostly due to a drop in the value of their home. A recent poll conducted by Associated Press-LifeGoesStrong.com interviewed more than 1,000 adults born between 1946 and 1964 and discovered that this group is looking for smaller, affordable homes that are easily accessible to medical care and near their family.

Not surprisingly the ones most likely to buy a new place for retirement make more than $100,000 a year and say that the most important qualities for that new home include:

  • 40% want a smaller place
  • 39% want to be near medical offices or good hospitals
  • 30% want a different climate – perhaps a warmer one
  • 25% want a more affordable home
  • 15% want to be closer to family
  • 10% will search for a new city that offers more services

Only 8% of the interviewees are looking for a larger home for retirement! Since many will be staying put until they recoup – 53% polled say they plan to delay retirement until they recoup some of their investment losses – a new book by Duo Dickinson, AIA of Connecticut makes perfect sense at this moment. Staying Put: Remodel Your House to Get the Home You Want  is praised by Sarah Susanka, FAIA of the not So Big House series. “How manybuooks do you know that can give you multiple and frequent full-throttle belly laughs while delivering basic and simple advice about how to make friends with, and even come to love, the house that until recently you’ve imagined you’d be moving up from sometime in the not-too-distant future?” says Susanka.

The American dream of owning a home and then buying or building a bigger and better one is no longer viable for many. Millions of homeowners stymied by the housing market and economy have embraced remodeling instead. In fact the Hanely Wood Housing 360

Survey confirms that some 60% of homeowners plan to stay in their current home for their entire retirement. This book is packed with some very practical advice and could make the perfect holiday gift for some folks headed toward retirement age. Advice on projects ranging from $3,000 to $300,000 are grounded in the reality of what it takes to transform an existing home without necessarily expanding it.

In 2008 there were 2 million new homes under construction.  Today there are only 300,000. Remodeling is the new king of the industry. I love the idea of expanding or improving available space without adding to the footprint of a home. As a practicing architect, Dickinson gives very plain spoken and honest advice. He guides a novice with humor and a very easy to understand roadmap. Many “before and after”shots make it perfectly clear how to make features better without breaking the bank. For example this window the end of a passageway is a more pleasing option than a blank wall. Adding the window is a relatively inexpensive addition that hugely improves the appeal and impression of a narrow space. In another instance a center stairway in a small suburban house of many levels felt like “….a cattle shoot with its side walls sealed up and its narrow handrail difficult to grip.” Because the stairs had closed stringers it was possible to replace the existing side walls and rail with an open handrail and balusters.

By opening up the stairwell natural light could flow down from an existing skylight thus transforming the formerly closed off area. By approaching your existing home with the attitude that you will seek out ways to make the existing space better functioning and more aesthetically appealing within a rational budget you open up a completely different reality.

Photo Credit: Reprinted with permission from TheTaunton Press

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