Planning for an accessible kitchen remodel, while in theory has similarity to other remodeling projects, actually involves special considerations you won't want to forget or overlook. If you want a workable, safe kitchen for disabled access or aging in place, be sure to avoid the following accessible kitchen remodel mistakes.
Not enough turn-around space
Skimping on the space that’s necessary to turn around a mobility device can make your space simply unusable for those who need the extra turn-around space. When you make up your kitchen remodel floor plan, aim for a minimum five-foot turning radius of free space. This space is the amount needed to allow a person using an electric wheelchair or scooter room to turn their device around while minimizing the risk of bumping into kitchen cabinets, countertops, or appliances.
Installing inaccessible faucets
When shopping for faucets, look for options that are either hands-free or that can be operated by means of a lever rather than difficult-to-turn knobs. In addition, you must also make sure your faucets are reachable. It does no good to have accessible faucets if no one can reach them from a wheelchair. Make sure your kitchen design includes clearance under the sink, allowing sufficient room to roll a wheelchair under it, within easy reach of the faucet. Keep in mind you will also want to move plumbing pipes to the rear so you can maximize your space and you should also shield the pipes with insulation or some other barrier to avoid potential burns to a person's legs.
Countertops that are too tall
A tricky consideration for your kitchen remodel is how to accommodate everyone's needs with countertops that are of different heights. If you opt for countertops that are lower in height so a person in a wheelchair can use them, they will likely be too short for others in the household. Your best bet is to either alternate accessible countertops with some at the conventional height of 36 inches or have adjustable counters installed.
Food prep and clean up tend to be messy tasks in a busy kitchen, so your choice in flooring material is an important consideration. For example, ceramic tile flooring and linoleum, while popular for use in kitchens, can also become very slippery when wet, causing a hazardous situation for those who are mobility-impaired. A better solution is choosing slip-resistant flooring. If you have your heart set on tile, look at using ceramic tiles that are smaller (6- or 8-inch squares are ideal) as they will offer reduced slipperiness; the additional number of grout lines per square foot will add some extra traction.
Choosing standard appliances
When purchasing new appliances, give careful thought to their accessibility. For example, a side-by-side refrigerator is a better option than a top-bottom freezer-refrigerator combo as it provides easier access to both compartments. Other important appliance details include choosing cooktops with front controls so a person does not have to reach over hot burners, as well as a side-opening wall oven which is easier and safer to open. Above and beyond the type of appliance chosen is the need to make sure installation height is appropriate. A countertop microwave, for example, is more accessible than an over-the-stove unit.
Choosing traditional cabinetry
Today’s kitchen cabinetry has come a long way and several manufacturers offer variations to make life easier for those who need accommodations. Research recent innovations such as soft-close cupboards, touch-release drawers, pullout shelving, or pull and swing lazy Susan corner units -- each of these simplify working in the kitchen for those with limited strength and/or mobility.
Neglecting the small details
They say the Devil is in the details and this couldn't be truer when working on an accessible kitchen remodel. For instance, consider installing an ample supply of electrical outlets and light switches that are operable from a seated position. In addition, add sufficient lighting for different task areas and make sure they are up to twice the standard strength to help those with diminished eyesight. Furthermore, plan pantry and cooking pot storage at a lower height of 20 to 44 inches above the floor so that all items can be reached from a seated position.
If your home is in the Eugene-Springfield area, give our team at Fort Rock Construction a call at 541-767-1611. We are aging in place and accessibility experts. We can walk through your kitchen with you and plan out what it's going to take to create the kitchen of your dreams.
With spring around the corner, wouldn't it be nice to have a deck for your home? Decks are a versatile addition providing livable outdoor space as well as adding to the value of your home. Decks can be built in a variety of sizes and styles and choosing which is going to be best for your home can be difficult. This is where we can help. Here are tips for designing a great deck for your home.
Plan for the Way You Live
Start with general ideas of what the deck can do to make life more enjoyable. How will you use the deck? Will it be for social gatherings or intimate dinners? If you love to grill, would you like it to include an outdoor kitchen? Make sure to ask family members what ideas they have for a deck to see if you have the same or different goals so most, if not all, of everyone's wants and needs can be considered.
Shape and Size
Some say that a deck should be no larger than 20 percent of your home's square footage, so as not to be out of proportion. But, this is not a hard fast rule. If you plan on spending a lot of time using your deck, and if it is sectioned out, even a larger deck can still feel just right. In terms of shape, you can never go wrong with the standard rectangle, but adding other angles or curves to the shape of your deck can make a nice deck really pop. If you want to take this approach, consider repeating those angles and curves at various places or in different sizes to the deck feels like it has a theme.
Connect the House and the Yard
When building a deck, you might opt to go with a style that blends with your house, or you might choose to make the deck stand out on its own, creating its own space. Either way, be sure to consider the transition from the deck to your yard. Will there be steps? Will you surround it with plants or maybe rocks? If the deck is low enough you might not be required to have a railing, and if that is an option, do you want a railing? Will the deck connect to a patio or other hardscape?
Plan for Traffic
Once you’ve figured out the priorities for your deck, plan for enough space to accommodate your activities and traffic of those coming and going. If you plan to add furniture to your deck, make sure what you purchase is in the proper scale for your deck's size. Keep in mind that pathways for traffic might not always become apparent until after you have furniture in place. For instance, if your deck is on the smaller size, you might not opt for the large covered patio set; perhaps a couple of open chairs and a side table would be a better fit.
What Do You See?
Wherever you plan to construct your deck, spend some time looking at what your view will be. Do you like what you see? If your deck is going to be overlooking a neighbor's yard, do you want some added privacy with a solid wall or railing? If you are going to have a gorgeous view of the sunset, maybe an open railing or glass panels would be great options. You could even step down the deck so railings will be below your sightline.
Typically when most people think about a deck, they envision a single, flat surface. But really, a deck is much more than that. Once you consider vertical elements like the railings, any coverings, and even how the deck is wrapped (the skirting), your deck can take on a whole new dimension. Take your time choosing each of these elements because your deck can gain a lot of personality through these choices.
Overheads and Planters
Being in Oregon, an important consideration for your deck is if you want the ability to enjoy your deck, rain or shine. If you only plan to use it in the dry months, a pergola can provide shade and a great place to showcase climbing plants. If you want protection from the rain, a solid covering is the way to go and there are a variety of materials that can be used including semi-transparent coverings, reclaimed materials, and traditional shingles.
In addition, planters make for great accents on decks, whether they are along railings or benches or surrounding the edge of your deck.
The Right Cooking and Noshing Spaces
If you love to cook outdoors and like interacting with people as you grill, why not add an outdoor kitchen with a counter and space for cooking appliances. You might even want to include an eating counter with stools just opposite the cooking area, so people can snack and socialize while you cook. If you’d rather keep food prep simple, you may want to make a small alcove off to the side, with just enough room for a grill.
Materials You Will Maintain and Enjoy
For the finish materials – the decking, railing, fascia and perhaps skirt – many people choose composites, PVC and other materials that are low maintenance. Others prefer to build with inexpensive treated or (somewhat less inexpensive) cedar. Wood surfaces often need to be pressure-washed and sealed once a year. But, if you prefer the natural look and don’t mind regular maintenance, it may be the right choice for you.
At Fort Rock Construction, we have helped homeowners add decks to their homes throughout Eugene, Springfield, Cottage Grove, and the surrounding areas. If you are thinking a deck would be right for your home, please give us a call at 541-767-1611. We would love to help you see the possibilities and create an outdoor space perfect for your home.
More seniors are choosing to age in place than ever before. This trend is driven in part by the rising costs of long-term care, coupled with the rapidly growing senior population as the Baby Boomer generation ages – a generation that’s enjoying a more active, vibrant lifestyle than previous generations. Technology and wider availability of services, such as home meal delivery services, are making it easier for older adults to remain in their own homes independently, as well.
While it may not be possible for an older adult to live independently forever, there are many changes that can be made to a home to make it safer and more functional for them to remain in their own homes longer. By implementing home modifications that support aging in place, today’s seniors are able to maintain their independence, and in the long run, may save a substantial amount of money on senior living.
Below, you’ll find 10 top tips on home modifications that support aging in place that ensure the safety of the home for older adults. Some are simple adjustments, while others are larger scale projects – but all will make a home more accommodating as a person ages.
Fort Rock Construction, Inc. serves homeowners throughout the Eugene and Springfield areas and we can help remodel your home to safely accommodate aging in place. Give us a call today at 541-767-1611.
Guest Blog by Kent Elliot
A 2016 report published by Home Advisor revealed that a majority of aging Americans — 61 percent, in fact — want to age in place rather than seek a place in an assisted living or some other senior facility. The 2016 report indicated that seniors want to remain at home to be near their families or to maintain their independence. However, in many cases, aging in place is only possible with home modifications that allow older adults to care for themselves, or which make it easier for another to provide assistance. Modifications are often necessary to aid mobility, accessibility, and safety so a senior can remain at home with minimal risk of injury.
Accessibility modifications include widening doorways to at least 36 inches to accommodate a wheelchair, which can be an expensive modification. However, for those on a budget, the addition of expandable door hinges can do the job at a fraction of the cost. Hallways may also require widening. For seniors in a wheelchair or who need a walker, an accessibility ramp may be necessary if there are stairs leading to the front entryway. Also, thick rugs and carpeting present a mobility challenge for wheelchairs, as can uneven transitions between rooms, which may require the use of durable transition ramps.
The bathroom is definitely the most dangerous room for seniors, regardless of age or condition. More seniors fall in the bathroom than in any other part of the home, and as such, it requires extensive safety modifications to protect seniors from being seriously injured in a room where moisture and slick, hard surfaces present a constant threat. This is why grab rails, roll-in tubs, or zero-entry showers (with a place to sit) are also important for mobility-challenged seniors.
Other important bathroom modifications should include an elevated toilet seat and safety rails alongside to avoid falls. Also, don’t forget to lay a skid-resistant mat in front of the toilet, especially if the bathroom floor is covered in tile or laminate. Replace door knobs with levers, which are easier for an older adult to use, particularly in dim lighting where vision and one’s grip are less confident. Install a roll-under sink that’s low enough for a wheelchair, and make sure there’s enough space in the bathroom for a wheelchair to maneuver without difficulty.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, a bathroom space should be 30 inches by 48 inches to accommodate a wheelchair. (In Lane County, Oregon, contact our team at Fort Rock Construction about making bathroom modifications in your home.)
It’s a fact of life that one’s eyesight diminishes with age. That can be a dangerous situation for an older adult who wants to age in place because dimly light hallways and rooms with light switches that are difficult to find or reach present a significant safety threat. In general, white bulbs that don’t create glare are good options in poorly lit locations, while motion sensors may be the best idea for seniors who get confused at night and have trouble finding light switches. LED night lights in the bathroom, hallway, and bedroom are also smart preventative measures.
Seniors who are able to age at home are more optimistic and tend to be more physically and socially active than those who need help with day-to-day living. That’s an important factor when you consider the potential impact of an aging Baby Boomer population on the country demographically, politically, and economically. The number of Americans age 65 and over will double by 2050, a group with the potential to have a positive and lasting effect on society.
Whether you have a person living in your home who uses a wheelchair or if you are needing modifications because you plan to age in place, there are a handful of key things to keep in mind for an accessible bathroom remodel.
Before you start drawing up plans, you want to take careful consideration of the following questions:
Once you have some answers to these questions, it's time to start planning. Items requiring plumbing should be tackled first because these are often the most difficult and costly items to change. You'll want to make sure to get these right before you settle on all of the other accessibility details.
Accessible bathing items:
Accessible sink and vanity items:
Accessible toilet items:
Accessible lighting items:
General accessibility safety items:
When it comes to accessibility bathroom remodels, Fort Rock Construction is the company to call. We are certified aging in place exerts and have extensive accessibility remodeling experience for both residential and commercial spaces throughout the Eugene-Springfield area. Give us a call today to discuss your project at 541-767-1611.
Guest Blog by Kent Elliot
How we set up our bedrooms is important. After all, we spend a third of our day in this area, so it deserves some attention. A big mistake many people make is adding too much to the room when the space should be free of clutter and distractions. The bedroom should be a sanctuary of rest where you can leave the stresses of the day at the door.
Doing even a minor remodel on the bedroom can be particularly rewarding when the time comes to sell your house. Not only does a bedroom upgrade boost your home’s aesthetic appeal so it stands out in the market to potential buyers, you can also expect a 40 to 80 percent return on investment for the project. The difference between that 40 and 80 percent has a lot to do with how much you can save when completing the project.
Rip Up Carpet
Out of all the rooms in the house, carpet makes the most sense to have in the bedroom. However, carpet looks outdated and may even be making you sick. Believe it or not, carpet can accumulate as much as 40 pounds of dirt and dust over the short span of a single year. Nasty dust mites live off that dirt, making their homes in your bedroom. Furthermore, the fibers of carpet provide more surface area and crevices to collect harmful bacteria and viruses.
Removing carpet in the bedroom is also a job you can do yourself. It takes minimal equipment—many of the tools you need are ones you probably have on hand already—and a weekend or so to complete, depending on the size of your room. After the carpet is ripped up, you have to decide what to do with the subfloor.
Consider the following:
Clutter is a direct contributor to anxiety and can keep you up at night. Remove any furniture that has to do with work or activity—no desks or exercise equipment in the bedroom. Remove televisions and computers while you’re at it. These electronics emit excessive amounts of blue light that disrupt sleep. Once these items are moved out, you can focus on cutting back on the remaining clutter.
Reducing clutter in the bedroom isn’t just about adding storage—you likely need to go through your belongings and get rid of items that have served their purpose. However, some extra storage solutions can keep things out of sight so you don’t have to deal with so much visual noise.
A bedroom remodel adds a breath of fresh air in an area where we conduct one of our most important healthy habits: sleep. If your bedroom has carpet, rip it up and replace with a more modern hard floor option. Clutter causes anxiety and can prevent you from being able to fall asleep. And while cleaning out belongings is a big part of reducing clutter, installing creative storage solutions can help ensure things stay organized—and be an appealing feature for potential buyers if you ever decide to sell your home.
For assistance with a bedroom remodel, please contact Fort Rock Construction at 541-767-1611. We've been helping Eugene and Springfield homeowners fall in love with their homes since 2001.
When you work from home, having a space that allows you to concentrate and be productive is essential. Sometimes that means taking over an extra bedroom or the dining area in your home. If your workspace is less than ideal, i.e., you've taken over the kitchen table or living room, this blog is for you. It's time to create a space in your home that is both functional and reflective of who you are so you can do your best work. Here are some tips for accomplishing a great work-from-home space.
First, let's consider the nature of your work. Do you participate in a lot of conference calls? Do you need to meet with clients? Do you need space to spread out large documents or other materials? Thinking first about what it is you actually do in the act of performing your job will help in planning out the ideal space for your home office. If you are on lots of phone calls, having a quiet area apart from the hustle and bustle of your family can be helpful. Same goes with if you need to meet with clients, you would probably benefit from a larger space located close to your home's entrance.
Second, consider your desk, shelves, storage, and seating needs. Your furniture should support the work you do, not create the need for you to work around it. For example, think about your workflow and which items you need at your fingertips on a regular basis. If you need to use a large monitor and have a phone, printer, and other objects nearby, that cute little desk probably isn't going to be sufficient. Same holds true if you need to have files or other supplies within reach, you will want a desk option with drawers to accommodate these items. When selecting furniture, your best bet for long-term satisfaction are collections with lots of configuration options and expansion pieces. Maybe the budget doesn't allow you to get everything at once, but when you're ready, coordinating pieces will be available.
Third, your ideal workspace should reflect who you are and keep you motivated. This is where color and decoration play a significant role in your home office renovation. For instance, forget the standard "office beige" and instead paint your walls a color that you enjoy. Don't worry about what is "on trend" as paint is one of the easiest things to change and it's more important that you're happy in your space. If you don't like the color of your office, you're less likely to do your work there. And, be sure to fill your space with decor that makes you happy — everything from plants to artwork to pictures and more help to create a unique and welcoming space.
Fourth, lighting is a huge factor for creating a functional and enjoyable workspace. Whether your light comes from a natural source (a bright window) or from ceiling/floor lamps, make sure you have plenty to meet your needs. But don't settle for boring lighting options. There are great pendant and chandelier options that can really transform a room from "meh" to "ooh la la" without much fuss.
Fifth, be the ruler of your office and conquer every square foot available to you for storage and general organization. Think vertically and horizontally. Floating shelves can offer storage solutions for smaller items, and custom built-in shelving and bookcases can accommodate larger or heavier items. Built-in storage options are also great if you are one who likes everything to be accessible but not necessarily seen until needed and there are many versatile options available to meet your exact specifications.
Last, but not least, make sure your home office is wired to meet your technology needs. Does the office have enough outlets and, more importantly, in the places where you need them? Do you have adequate plugs for wired internet connections? Are your outlets surge protected so your computer equipment won't be damaged when the power fluctuates or goes out?
At Fort Rock Construction, we have helped many homeowners in the Eugene and Springfield area with home renovations and home remodels so they can work from home. This has included bedroom conversions, living room conversions, garage conversions, home additions, and reclaiming unused attic and basement space to create livable and workable areas. If you are interested in learning more about the options for your home, please give us a call at 541-767-1611. We would be happy to help with your home office renovation.
With the holidays upon us, you might find yourself looking at your home with a mix of feelings — Is my home ready for company? Can I accommodate all of my guests? Is it finally time to tackle that renovation we've been talking about? And, when we think about the kitchen — the center of almost all holiday gathering — that's when we start to fret if everything is how we want it.
Looking around your kitchen, how do you feel? If you have been delaying a kitchen remodel until the time is “just right”, the holidays often provide the motivation for taking action. Imagine how much easier and more festive your holiday season could be with a beautiful new kitchen designed to be more efficient, energy-conscious and welcoming.
While it's a tad too late for this holiday season, it is the perfect time to think about and plan for next year. You can go into this holiday season with a purpose, however — observe and note what works in your kitchen and what would you like to see done differently. Sometimes being aware "in the moment" makes us realize the details we might overlook at other times of the year.
Here are some ideas for how the holidays can inspire your kitchen remodel:
Storage and Organization
An organized kitchen makes all the difference when it comes to preparing meals for larger groups which we tend to have over during the holiday season. Imagine what new storage, innovative drawer systems, and slide out or stand alone pantries could do in your kitchen to cut down on the time it takes to find the right tool while you’re cooking and the right serving ware and dinnerware when you’re ready to set the holiday table.
Today’s appliances offer a combination of sleek built-in design and innovative energy-efficiency. Both trends mean you can have that extra large refrigerator or stove you’ve been dreaming about without detracting from your overall room design or adding significantly to your energy bill. Beyond the fridge, stove and dishwasher, consider appliances that make entertaining a breeze and everyday life a little more luxurious, such as a built-in espresso machine or wine cooler.
A Gathering Place
Perhaps most important for a kitchen remodel design, especially during the holidays, is that the room provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere that encourages people to gather together. Space planning is essential when it comes to this aspect of designing your new kitchen, as well as thinking about the lighting for any gathering or working spaces in your kitchen. Having lights specific to different purposes and places can enhance the atmosphere and make your guests feel comfortable.
If you’re inspired to start planning your kitchen remodel for the holidays, now is the time to get started. Note all the ways your kitchen design and appliances are working for you and make a list of what could be improved, moved, or removed. Then, give us a call and let's start planning. If you live in the Eugene-Springfield, Oregon area, the team at Fort Rock Construction is here for your kitchen remodel! 541-767-1611
If you're looking to add extra living space to your home, converting your garage can be a good solution. Garages can be turned into playrooms, mother/father-in-law quarters, media rooms, extra bedrooms, and so much more. But, before you begin this type of home remodel, there are several things you'll want to consider to ensure the project goes smoothly.
1. Assess your garage for potential issues. Most garages are not designed with living space in mind. Because of this, you may need to take a look at the electrical, insulation, egress to and from the main house, as well as the walls and floors to make sure there are no structural issues like buckling, leaks or cracks, subsidence, or sloping.
2. Make sure you are allowed to have a garage conversion. It's not uncommon for homes within homeowners associations to have rules within their CC&Rs that prohibit certain home modifications. Avoid a headache and look into this ahead of time if your home is part of an HOA. Aside from HOA governance, your home might also be subject to certain zoning restrictions. Checking with your city or county's planning department can help you determine if a garage conversion is permissible and if permits are required.
3. Plan out how you will want to use the converted garage. Because of the time, expense, and often permits that are involved with a garage conversion, it's important to plan out how you are going to use the space. This will mean hiring an architect or contractor to draw up floor plans that can be submitted with permit applications. Also, knowing what the space can be used for will be helpful when you go to sell your home. For instance, planning ahead for a bedroom can add more value in the eyes of a buyer than perhaps a man cave or other general use space.
4. Have a realistic budget. Most homeowners don't generally have a sense of the expense involved with a garage conversion. Typically budgets are underestimated since the garage is an already existing structure. However, there are still items that can significantly impact your budget if you don't plan for them up front. These expenses include items like waterproofing, insulation, laying a new floor, running electrical or plumbing, adding windows, and then the finishing touches like cabinetry, fixtures, wall finishing, hardwood or carpet, etc.
Many homeowners choose to tackle a garage conversion on their own. However, it is a good idea to involve a general contractor who has experience in this type of project and who knows the current building codes.
If you choose to hire a contractor, look for someone who routinely performs the type of work you want to have done. A handyman might have relevant construction skills, but might not be aware of the required building codes or have the labor force to get the garage conversion done in a timely manner.
Lastly, depending on your garage conversion, you may also need to hire an engineer. Working with a general contractor will make sure the proper professionals are involved with the project so everything is built properly and to code.
If you live in the Eugene-Springfield area, please give the team at Fort Rock Construction a call at 541-767-1611. Our general contractor team has been helping homeowners with new construction and home remodels since 2001.
The University of Oregon's Spencerview Apartment complex wanted to build an outdoor basketball court for its residents as a memorial for one of the children that lived there. We worked with a local concrete company and together, we removed parts of the play area, clearing out space for the new court. The finished project will add years of enjoyment for residents.
If you have a commercial construction project in the Eugene or Springfield area, please give us a call. We are commercial contractors with extensive experience working with local businesses. 541-767-1611
Tricks of the construction trade, inspiration for your next project, and highlights of completed projects.