Small Changes for a Senior Visitor

The new year always begins with all sorts of ambitious ideas for change. What better time to look around your home and ready one small space for a visit from a senior parent or grandparent? It takes a few minor adjustments that might seem insignificant but can make a stay infinitely more comfortable for your guest. Here's how to start in a bedroom or bathroom.

A Time and Place for Whimsy

This is the perfect time of year to find a place for quirky and whimsical touches that will enliven your home environment. We know that longer and darker days of winter can be difficult for some people. These small changes take up no extra room and are guaranteed to combat the tendency to slip into a winter funk. Spread some indoor fun and silliness with color and easily changed accessories.

Wine for Christmas

By now, it's likely most holiday gifts have been bought and wrapped, but I've thought of some great ideas! I'm not an ultra-sophisticated wine drinker, but I do enjoy a glass of vino with a meal. One of the basic attributes that wine has above all other alcoholic beverages is the ability to elevate a simple meal into a memorable one. While drinking a glass of wine with dinner tonight, I thought about space-saving gifts for wine aficionados.

Small but Elegant Showers

Everyone lusts after a huge shower. But sometimes with a small home there's just no way to make it happen. I promise that showers don't have to be grandiose in size in order to be elegant and hit the style mark. In fact, if you make the best choices, it's possible to create simple perfection in the tiniest of bathrooms. Let's look at how to accomplish this. There are a few basic rules to bear in mind at the start of any project, regardless of the exact size of your space.

Many Love Mid Century

Many folks of younger generations are obsessed with midcentury modern furniture. This style describes developments in design and architecture during the middle of the 20th century (roughly 1933 to 1965, though some would argue the period is limited to 1947 to 1957). What is it about this period that calls to a younger demographic?

Artistic Accents Make Up No Extra Space

Sometimes, when you live in a small place or are particularly squished for space, you can give up too easily on achieving smart style. Don't! For starters, consider purchasing a very distinctive version of whatever basic pieces of furniture you will have to buy. You need a cocktail table and a dresser anyway, so why not take the time to select something significant? Make that specific item noteworthy and something to talk about!

Make A Statement In A Small Master

The master bedroom is supposed to be the crown jewel of bedrooms in a home. We expect something more from the master; it is often a larger room or a room with an attached bathroom, the room with the view or the one leading to the yard or balcony. Even in an apartment, it often includes a walk-in closet — or at least a larger closet than the other rooms. The master is rather like being the oldest sibling: first among equals.

Working Around Odd Architectural Designs

With interior design, there are just some things you cannot ignore. Old houses often have very quirky architectural elements that have been changed over time and created even more challenges in smaller rooms. Not only are you coping with limited space but now you have to overcome these oddities. Generally, they are structures that modern building codes would not allow but were grandfathered in due to the fact that they have been around longer than us. Perhaps you have to duck down or step up when entering a space, which are illegal building techniques. Still, unless you want to gut everything, it is often more practical to work with what you have.

'Tis the Season for More Light

When the weather begins to chill, we observe changing leaves and shorter days. The shift is delightful for the most part. However, in many parts of the country there is a very distinct reduction in the amount of natural light available, which has been known to have a powerful effect on some people. The official name for the condition is seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. It is a kind of depression related to the change in seasons, typically starting in the fall; the brain becomes confused when our circadian rhythms, or body clock, are off due to changes in sunlight. More women are diagnosed than men, but men tend to experience more severe symptoms.

It's Shrinking

Downsizing is the word! I write a weekly syndicated column called Small Spaces for Creators Syndicate and when I started writing a decade ago, the subject was not quite a "hot" topic. But right now it is THE topic in home improvement, interior design and the architectural circuit. Americans have downsizing on their minds and the trend is spreading, in part due to the worldwide economic woes and in part because we are all waking up from what were wasteful and selfish environmental practices.

Expect More

What do Echo Boomers think when they look ahead towards the future? If I were 25 right now I'd be kind of over whelmed at the wicked negative vibes about job prospects. Lots of new grads are landing $8.00 per hour jobs while carrying $40,000 to $50,000 in student loans. They don't particularly want to slave away as their Boomer parents did because they are noticing that what their parents worked for has been shaved in two. We were the generation of working moms who thought they could have it all; marriage, kids and a fabulous career. 

Frugalista Fad

For a kid who grew up in an extremely frugal household - the grandchild of thrifty Italian immigrants who had no use for frivolity - the ad on the TV the other night just blew my mind! There it was, looking sleek and attractive and packaged for a youthful audience: Frugalista. I'm laughing partly because the suffix 'ista' seems to be an endearing label of our unusual times. Why even the former Elderhostel has claimed the new name of Exploristas and ditched the elder thing. But to pair being frugal with being cool is absolutely amazing.

Tiny Houses

One of my friends bought a tiny house that sits feet away from a soft sandy stretch of Pacific Ocean in Oceanside, California. It serves as her weekend get-a-way. This place, built around 1927, is a simple Spanish Revival style that holds just one bedroom and bathroom, a tiny porch area, the narrow kitchen and a compact living room/dining area at the front of the structure. The precious fireplace in the main room, no longer working, is flanked by two small crank out windows.

Smart Mid-Century Houses

Optimism and hope were dominant features of Post WWII America. There were GI benefits to be had and the country welcomed veterans back to work with extended arms. Industrious developers set about satisfying the huge demand for housing as millions of young people busily started families of four, five and six kids. Women went back to staying at home after spending their war years substituting for men in factories and plants, trying to like being June Cleavor. 

The Circle of Simplicity

Sooner or later each of us must confront exactly what the financial losses brought about during this depressing Recession mean in our lives. It is unpleasant and there is nothing that I would rather ignore more than facing reality at the moment. My beloved husband forced me to sit down and write down every penny that we owe. Like swallowing Castor oil or eating spoiled cheese. But it was the first step in banging out a long-range plan. Now that our old plan doesn't work - because we've lost about two-thirds of our nest egg - we need a completely fresh goal.

Past Hold Answers to Future

A Shotgun house for those of us not from the South is a long, narrow house usually no more than 12 feet wide with doors at either end. Very popular in New Orleans, the style can be found all over the South and as far away as Chicago, Key West and California. The houses were originally built by middle class folks, but eventually became a symbol of poverty by the middle of the 20th century.
 

Recession Babies

By 1929 my immigrant grandmother had two babies. She recalled that she and my grandfather were extremely careful not to become pregnant again. They couldn't afford it. Times were tough and my grandfather, who was a welder, could not find steady work in Los Angeles during the Depression. Building and construction was down just as it is now so people in the trades had very little business even in sunny California.

Walmart or Dubai?

Does it feel like we are living in the Twilight Zone these days? Things couldn't be any stranger. I picked up a trade magazine and read about the world's tallest building - Burj Khalifa in Dubai - that stands close to a mile in height at 828 m. Named after the United Arab Emirates president Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan the building is home to the world's first Armani Hotel, designed by Giorgio Armani. Oh, I get it!

New Beginnings This Spring!

I'm looking at rain drops hugging the window screen while several brand new tulips peek up above the sill. As I think about the promise of spring, still so much is fractured around us which doesn't seem quite right in this potentially cleansing time of year. It is quite aggravating that tax time coincides with one of the most lovely of seasons, don't you think? Plus it always seems that several insurances are also due right at this time of year.