Ottawa Custom Home – Family Home to Empty Nester Paradise Part 2

This article has been updated. Please see Family Home to Empty Nester Retreat – Renovating for the Empty-Nester Lifestyle.



During the month of May we’re exploring several ways that you can turn your family home into a space more suitable for Empty Nesters, a custom-designed home that will make life easier now as you move into a new stage of life and for many years to come as you age gracefully in the place you call HOME.

This week we’ll look at some things you can do to enhance your home’s exterior for accessibility and ease of maintenance.

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 3.48.14 PMTime to Update Windows and Doors for Comfort and Energy-Efficiency

You’ve probably been putting it off… replacing those old drafty windows that are becoming more and more difficult to operate. Installing new windows and doors not only provides enhanced energy efficiency to keep out the Ottawa winter cold and summer heat, but it’s also an opportunity to improve accessibility and light. Even if you don’t need enhanced accessibility right now, you may have friends or family members who do and these features will be available to you if you need them in the future. When a custom renovation is designed by an experienced professional architectural designer, accessibility features improve the flow and openness of the home seamlessly, while being aesthetically-pleasing and contributing to the overall beauty of the space. Consider these enhancements when replacing windows and doors:

1. Increasing the width of doorways to make the home more accessible.
2. Recessing door thresholds to improve wheelchair access.
3. Increasing the size of the windows to brighten the interior spaces.
4. Add easy-clean coatings to ease the work of window cleaning or eliminate the need for it.

Here at Jim Bell Architectural Design Inc. we can advise you on windows and doors that will last. Many of the windows available on the market will not function well for more than 15 years. We work with suppliers who design and build windows that will provide the quality and longevity you need and the value you want.

Screen Shot 2017-05-17 at 3.47.51 PMDesigning Exterior Hardscaping for Accessibility

There are a few key changes you can make that will significantly improve access to your home for elderly loved ones and people with mobility issues:

1. Replace traditional stairs with low-rise, long-run stairs wherever possible. They are much easier to navigate, especially during our snowy Ottawa winters, and will be more aesthetically-pleasing than precast concrete options.
2. If space permits, a sloping sidewalk provides an even safer and more flexible solution for those with and without mobility challenges. The absence of steps eliminates tripping hazards and barriers for walkers and wheelchairs.
3. It’s also critical to ensure that all walking surfaces are well-lit, making your property safer and easier to navigate for everyone.
4. Raising the covered porch to eliminate a step up into the house and the installation of interlock or composite decking will allow for easy wheel chair or walker access.

These few considerations are just the tip of the iceberg for designing an efficient, functional and beautiful home renovation. You don’t have to navigate the complexities on your own. Jim Bell has the expertise and 30+ years of architectural design experience to design a spectacular home renovation to serve you now and well into the future. Take a look at what he has created for his clients, and contact him for a no-obligation consultation.


< Family Home to Empty Nester Paradise – Part 1

Family Home to Empty Nester Paradise – Part 3 >