The Future Is Now - Designing For Life's Phases


The perfect home design takes into account as many ‘known’ aspects as it can to eliminate the need for major renovations down the road.  That is not to say that there will never be some unexpected life developments that may require home alterations; it simply means that planning for anticipated changes is beneficial in the long run.  

Obviously, it is no secret that we have a large aging population and therefore consideration should be given to the impact that may have on you and your home.  After all, aren’t we all aging?  Whether you have elderly parents, plan on being in your home forever, or plan to sell your home, at some point this is a factor you might want to consider.

Many people are renovating their existing homes to accommodate their aging parents.  The undeniable advantages of sharing household expenses and/or the option for arranging in-home care versus a nursing home play a large role in one’s decision to renovate.  Whether it is for personal reasons or financial restrictions, opting for multi-generational living arrangements seems to be the new norm. 

So, when planning a new build, it could be helpful to consider at least one on-grade entry point in the design, which would allow for wheelchair or easy accessibility without ramps.  It is important to plan for the possibilities…after all, injuries and illnesses happen at all ages.  Having accessible entry ways, doors, and wider hallways may improve your resale value and increase your buyer pool but it will also make life easier if the need for such arises for you.  

Consider planning your design to accommodate a possible transition of one room on the main floor to a future bedroom; it could be the difference between keeping the home you love and having to relocate, if something happens to impede your ability to manage stairs daily.  

In addition, ‘wish lists’ for specialized rooms/spaces have really increased in the last few years.  Whether it is a ‘man cave’, ‘Diva Den’, au pair/in-law suite, home office, music or theatre room, etc. these spaces can be part of the initial home plan rough-in--even if your current needs or budget doesn’t allow for the finishing it right away!  Rooms can certainly change in purpose at any time, but planning for the future means considering natural lighting, electrical and entertainment wiring, and plumbing rough-ins at the home’s design stage.  If this is the home you wish to grow in…it would be wise to make plans for that growth from the beginning. 

Technologies are changing rapidly and we are more reliant on them than ever.  Everything from entertainment systems and energy management to home security are part of the technological choices one needs to consider.  Backup power generation is also a huge benefit with the severity of storms that we experienced

Our addiction to technologies is only likely to increase.  So, while you may not be able to anticipate what the next big thing will be, it may still be possible to ensure that the foundation for it or necessary rough-ins are in place when change arrives.  While ‘wireless’ may work for many applications, it may not be the best option for all. Thus, running conduits in ceilings or walls at the rough-in stage could be beneficial; it is a lot harder and more expensive to upgrade a home when walls and ceilings are all finished.

It would also appear that entertainment is becoming more interactive.  With this in mind, the design of an entertainment room should consider not only the placement of a television screen and wiring but additional space in front of the television screen to accommodate interactive activity/exercise.

Entire home automation may be the way of the future…not only for the younger generation but also for seniors or disabled home owners and their family members to assist with easier or safer independent living.

Only you know what your anticipated plans are for your future…but life does change, sometimes without warning, and considering the possibilities is important not only for your own phases in life but for resale value as well.  Your new home is a big investment; when planning your build look at its use on a long term transitional scale; you’ll be glad you did.  

If you are looking to build your custom home, call us at Vanderzalm Construction Inc. at (905)562-4463 or (905)684-5823.   Joe van der Zalm and his team would love to build your dream home.