Your house is more than just a structure—it’s a canvas for dreams, a sanctuary for loved ones, and a space that evolves with life’s changing tides. If you’re one of the fortunate few who have found your “forever home” – the home you never want to leave or sell – then you understand the importance of prioritizing home improvements and making each renovation count.
At Lamont Bros. Design & Construction, we understand the heart behind every hammer and nail in your forever home. Having guided many homeowners through the process of home modeling, we recognize that prioritizing improvements in the home you plan to stay in forever is a unique challenge. Whether it’s accommodating a growing family, creating a dedicated space for your passions and hobbies, or simply molding your home to suit your evolving lifestyle better, each decision carries the weight of your dreams and comfort.
In this article, we’ll explore how to align your current style and future plans with the home you never plan to leave. We’ll cover practical strategies for prioritizing improvements — from dreaming up your ideal kitchen to adapting your forever home to support you in your senior years. When you’re done reading, you’ll have a better understanding of how to plan out the changes you want to make to your home, including which ones to start on now, and which ones can wait. Specifically, we’ll discuss:
- Customizing Your Kitchens & Bathrooms
- Expanding with a Home Addition
- Preparing Your Home for Aging in Place
- Remodeling Best Practices for Your Forever Home
Kitchens & Bathrooms: Customizing Your Home to Your Needs
When it comes to making improvements for your forever home, the areas you’ll want to prioritize are the areas you’ll spend the most time in. If you’re like most homeowners, that’s probably going to be your kitchen and bathroom.
Kitchens: Capturing the Heart of Your Home
As you consider how to improve the kitchen for your forever home, your focus should be on creating a space that aligns specifically with your lifestyle and cooking habits. If this is the home you never plan to leave, then it’s worth taking the opportunity to create the kitchen of your dreams.
Depending on the current state of your kitchen, this might simply involve making a few minor changes to better accommodate the way you like to cook or entertain guests. For others, it could involve a significant investment in altering the size and layout of the kitchen.
Beyond functionality, the visual design of your kitchen should also reflect your style. If it’s the kitchen you plan to use for the rest of your life, it’s worth investing in a design that not only meets your practical needs but also brings you personal joy and satisfaction.
Bathrooms: Crafting A Private Luxury Retreat
Another important consideration when making improvements to your forever home is prioritizing which bathroom to remodel first. This all depends on your household’s needs and how much value you place on your personal comfort.
Many homeowners prefer to prioritize their primary bathroom since it’s the one that sees the most frequent use. Whether it’s a walk-in custom tile shower, a stylish freestanding bathtub, luxurious heated floors, or all of the above, primary bathroom remodels tend to focus on elements that promote relaxation and tranquility.
However, for families with children, remodeling a bathroom specifically designed for kids can be equally important. As children grow into adolescence and young adulthood, their needs and use of space evolve. A bathroom designed to serve the changing needs of children as they grow into adolescence and adulthood might feature more storage for personal grooming and hygiene products, durable fixtures, and a layout that allows for more privacy. Prioritizing a bathroom remodel for your kids can ensure that it remains functional and appealing as your children grow, providing a safe space that meets their needs through various stages of life.
Home Additions: Expanding Your Horizon
Homeowners who love their home and never want to move often learn that a forever home has to grow and change with your family and your lifestyle. For many homeowners, building an addition is a great way to ensure that your home meets your changing spatial needs.
This could be anything from a ground-level bedroom addition for a growing family to a basement recreational area where you can entertain guests and enjoy family time. The key is to identify the most urgent areas where your current home lacks space and plan out how an addition can solve those needs.
Addressing the Need for Additional Living Space
The type of addition that is best suited for your home depends on specific needs that arise as your lifestyle and family change.
For instance, if your family is expanding, you might consider adding extra bedrooms, bathrooms, or an enlarged living area to provide the necessary space for comfort and privacy.
Or perhaps a lifestyle shift involves transitioning to remote work. In such a case, a home office might make a lot of sense. However, with more time spent at home, other aspects of daily life may also evolve. You might find yourself cooking more and wanting to expand your kitchen. Or maybe you end up exercising at home more frequently, which would make a home gym a valuable addition.
When considering how to expand the living space of your forever home, the improvements you make should intentionally accommodate your daily routines and activities.
Navigating Zoning and Financial Considerations
Before beginning any kind of home addition project, it’s crucial to understand local zoning laws and building regulations. These will directly impact the limitations on the size, scope, and design of your project. Here are a few factors to consider:
Floor Area Ratio (FAR) determines the maximum size of a building relative to the size of the property it’s on; this can significantly impact an addition by limiting how large the structure can be, potentially influencing both the height and footprint of your proposed expansion. Understanding your property’s FAR is essential in planning an addition, as it dictates how much total floor area you can add to your existing home.
If you live in one of Portland’s historic districts, Historic Preservation Regulations can also significantly impact home additions. These laws, which only apply to homes or neighborhoods deemed “historically significant,” often require adherence to specific architectural styles and materials to maintain the historical integrity of the neighborhood. While they don’t prevent you from building an addition, they can limit your options and the extent of modifications allowed.
Aging in Place: Planning for the Future
As you plan improvements for your forever home, keep in mind that this will be the home where you grow old. To ensure that it serves your needs into your golden years, your home should be designed to help you age in place.
This might mean modifying existing spaces to enhance safety and accessibility or adding features that will allow you to live comfortably and independently in your home for years to come.
Bathroom Enhancements for Safety and Comfort
In the bathroom, prioritize modifications that increase safety and ease of use. This can include installing grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower, ensuring a zero-threshold shower for easy access. You may also want to consider a seated shower or walk-in tub.
Non-slip flooring is also a must to prevent falls. Look for a flooring material with a high Dynamic Coefficient of Friction (DCOF). The higher the DCOF rating, the lower your fall risk.
Kitchen Adaptations for Accessibility and Ease
The kitchen is another area where thoughtful changes can make a substantial difference.
In general, cabinets, shelving, and countertops should all be at a comfortable working height, to avoid any excessive bending or reaching. Pull-out shelves in cabinets make accessing items easier, as well.
Also, ensure that appliances are within easy reach from working areas and that pathways are wide enough to accommodate mobility aids such as wheelchairs or walkers if needed in the future.
General Home Improvements for Aging in Place
In addition to preparing your bathroom and kitchen for aging in place, there are a handful of other improvements you can make throughout the home.
Widening doorways and hallways can facilitate easier access for walkers and wheelchairs. While this is an expensive improvement to do as a standalone project, you might want to consider wider doors and walkways as part of a larger renovation project if the opportunity arises.
Smart home technologies, like automated lighting and voice-controlled systems, can further add convenience and safety while helping senior homeowners maintain independence.
Best Practices for Renovating Your Forever Home
The success of your home renovation largely depends on the approach and planning that go into it. Here are some best practices to guide you through the process.
Leveraging Professional Design Expertise
Working with a professional designer to plan improvements on your forever home can help bring your vision to life while keeping your budget and renovation timeline under control.
A designer can offer valuable insights on the latest trends, materials, and technologies to enhance your living space. Furthermore, they can help you value engineer your renovations so you know your money is being well spent towards improving your home.
Emphasizing Personal Satisfaction Over Resale Value
When planning improvements for your forever home, resale value isn’t as important because it’s not a home you plan to sell. Instead, prioritize renovations that you know will make you happy and comfortable in your home. After all, your forever home should be a perfect match for your personality and lifestyle.
Anticipating Future Lifestyle Changes
Planning for the long term means thinking ahead about how your needs might evolve. Whether it’s accommodating a growing family or preparing for retirement, your forever home should be adaptable to whatever the future holds.
Want to Talk to a Professional Designer About Your Forever Home?
After reading this article, do you have a better idea of which home improvements to prioritize as you begin renovating your forever home? Now, take the next step in your research by downloading our free 3-Step Guide to Choosing a Contractor. In it, you’ll find information and insights directly from the remodeling pros at Lamont Bros. to help you find a contractor who will treat your forever home with the care and attention it deserves.
Ready to speak directly with a designer about renovating your home? If so, click the button below to schedule a free design consultation with a member of our team. We’ll help you navigate the challenges and uncertainties of remodeling as you turn your current home into your dream home.