Renovations

8 Experts’ Hacks on Making Your Kitchen Accessible

Adaptive Living transforms your house into a home. We are experts on Adaptive Living, and allow us to provide you with pieces of advice to make your house truly your dream home.

In planning to design or remodel your home for adaptive living, especially for people with limited mobility, one of the important facilities to consider is the kitchen.

Did you know that the kitchen, aside from being essential to daily life at home, is also one of the most hazardous areas of the house? Yes, most accidents happen, if not in the bathroom, in the kitchen. Slippery floors, uncontrolled fire, falling utensils are some of the common hazards in the kitchen. With this, utmost consideration should be given when designing or remodeling this area. Though style and function should be present, safety and convenience must be the priority.

Here are practical tips on designing your kitchen for adaptive living.

  1. Hallways and Doorways

The hallways and doorways need to be wide enough for a wheelchair to fit. There should be at least a 5-inch clearance on both sides of a wheelchair or walker to ensure accessibility and easier mobility.

Besides the size of the door and hallways, the swing of the door should be considered as well. It is beneficial to swing the door out, rather than into the room, so as to provide adequate maneuvering space. Better yet, simply make it an open doorway or install sliding doors or pocket doors.

For someone on a wheelchair and those with diminished grasping abilities, installing a lever-typed handles, rather than door knobs, for opening doors is recommended. These handles are much easier to use than the latter. An alternative to this is remote-operated or switch-operated doors if budget allows.

  1. Surface

It is advisable to have a wooden, laminated or tiled flooring and never carpeted because they are easier to maintain and less hazardous. Just see to it that it is not too smooth leading to slippage.

  1. Counters

Counters of an inclusive kitchen are quite different from a regular kitchen. Ensure that there are no base cabinets so as to allow people with wheelchairs or walkers to do their task without obstruction.

The counter height must be based on the comfort range of the user/s. This will also direct the location of appliances and storage cabinets. Adjustable counters or tables prove to be beneficial and are space savers as well.

Installing pull-out shelves is another good way of creating accessible working space for preparing food, and these are space-savers as well.

  1. Appliances

Use appliances that are convenient to use, easy to reach and not heavy to move. Install appliances lower compared to the usual. Again, it must be based on the comfort range of the user/s.

For burners, controls must be in front for easy access. It would be better a choice to use electric cooktops rather than gas ranges. They are much safer and convenient.

The refrigerators should have the proper height. Use bottom-drawer freezer style refrigerators that would allow the user to access frozen goods with ease.

Place dishwashers to a level of comfort. Make it accessible to either side.

  1. Switches and Plugs

Electrical outlets and switches must be placed to a height accessible to the user. Switches and thermostats must be installed in multiple areas of the kitchen, and to the comfort range of the user, especially to wheelchair users. Use switches with light indicators for easy location. Remote operated devices are also preferred for convenience.

Outlets for other appliances and devices must be located in front of the counters for easy access as well.

  1. Sinks

For individuals using wheelchairs or walkers, kitchen sinks will be accessible if the base is open and free from cabinets. The height should be at the level and comfort of the user. Piping underneath must be at the rear of the sink so that it will not obstruct the individual with wheelchair from rolling underneath. Remember to insulate the pipes properly to protect the legs of the person.

Install the single lever faucets for convenience. If budget permits, a touch control faucet would be a better option to allow the user to turn on and off the faucet with a single touch.

  1. Cabinets

Lower the height of the cabinets depending on the needs of the user/s. Pull-out or down shelves and drawers are essential in the kitchen. This allows the user to access utensils, dishes, pans, etc. quickly and with ease.

Although more expensive, electric powered and remote controlled adjustable cabinets that lower and raise cabinet heights with one click provide more convenience to the user and make everything accessible.

Check cabinet designs suited to ones needs.

  1. Lighting

Lighting is very important in the kitchen. To increase visibility and to create a safe cooking environment, a glare-free lighting should be installed. In areas for food preparation, another set of lighting maybe provided. The better lighting there is, the safer the working area will be.

There are so many other accessories and appliances you can still install in your kitchen to make more accessible and adaptive to your kind of living. Remember, choose accessories that will provide safety and convenience for you.  It’s our honor to partner with HÄFELE, an international company based in Germany, which has been helping people in different parts of the world in making their dream homes a reality. Their fittings, hardware and systems can help you improve the way your kitchen suit your needs, and supply you with essential resources for Adaptive Living. Please visit their website to know more about their business and products.

Click to DOWNLOAD HÄFELE Kitchen for Adaptive Living Brochure

Accessible Bathroom Doesn’t Have To Be Hard

As more and more seniors are keen to aging in the comforts of their own homes independently, rather than in home care institutions, accessible homes have become popular. As a result, home renovations among elderly and even young ones have focused on accessibility and not just on style.

Many have already realized that as they age, there is a need to make their home as accessible and safe as possible suited to their needs.

Almost the entire fixtures of the house need to be remodeled when re-redesigning an accessible home. This is to ensure that all areas of the house are adaptable to the needs of the individuals who will live there. However, due attention should be given when designing or remodeling the bathroom because this is one of the most critical areas, and more prone to accidents.

Here are 4 tips on designing or remodeling the bathroom for accessibility:

  1. Safety
    This is the main reason for designing and remodeling a house, especially a bathroom, built for accessibility. Safety in every angle is very critical.Spacing in the doorways should be adequate enough especially for wheelchair and walker users. Doors should have lever-type handles for easier grip.Switches and outlets are to be located at the comfort range of the user/s. Switches and plugs with light indicators are a necessity for this will ensure visibility to the user.For the flooring options, non-slip tiles are to be used to provide proper footing. Accidents in the bathroom usually happen because of slippage.

    Install grab bars and handrails for additional assistance and support in the bathroom. It is best to make the bars and handrails easy to grip by covering them with rubbers. This will aid individuals in standing and sitting down.

    The bathroom should be provided with proper lighting in the shower area and even in the vanity area to aid in brushing teeth, shaving, make-up application, and to see clearly the labels of medications and other health or beauty supplies.

    Shower seats may be added for further assistance when taking a shower. You may opt to construct a seat not higher than 2 feet. You may also consider a folding seat but make sure not to install it with legs to avoid tripping inside the shower area.

    Edges of the surfaces and fixtures must be round to avoid injuries caused by bumps.

  2. Convenience and Function
    In constructing or remodeling a bathroom, it should be convenient and functional as well. What good can the fixtures bring you if they are not convenient and functional enough! Right?The sinks should have a clear base and without cabinets underneath. This will allow wheelchair users to move forward and use the faucet with ease.Pull-out cabinets are beneficial as well. This provides easy storage and accessibility to towels, soaps and shampoos, special equipment, beauty products and other accessories used in the bathroom. Keep them low and easy to reach so supplies can easily be accessed.Plan to make storage areas adjustable as the need arises. This would allow user/s to accommodate larger amounts of supplies in the future.

    Height of countertops and sinks must be at the comfort range of the user/s. Before adding some vanity fixtures, the convenience of the user/s in using the counters must be the priority.

  3. Adaptability
    As you remodel the perfect bathroom for all your needs, consider all the members of the family who are going to use it as well.Fixtures must be adaptable to all the members of the family to ensure accessibility. Spaces must meet the needs of all the users and not just one.Switches must be at a proper height or range for everyone to see and reach easily.If space permits, you may want to install two sets for each fixture such as the showerhead and controls, sinks and toilet bowl. If you have both children and elderly at home, this bathroom will be a perfect fit for them.

    Pull-out cabinets and shelves must be adjustable and easy to push and pull for both kids and seniors. In so doing, users will have more comfort in using every fixture and equipment in the bathroom.

  4. Longevity and Style
    The bathroom design should be able to not only adapt to your needs at present, but must be able to grow with you as time passes by. Though you may update the décor such as curtains and other accessories, it should last for many years, as renovation is costly.Therefore, design your bathroom the way you want to see it for at least the next ten years. You wouldn’t want to remodel it over and over again simply because it has lost style.Choose designs and colors that suit your personality but at the same time with that of your family, besides you will be seeing the bathroom everyday! Why not make it stylish yet functional as possible?

Before starting with the construction of an accessible bathroom, every detail of the design must be carefully scrutinized. It’s best to choose first all the needed fixtures, equipment, and finishes before diving in the project. This way, you will have a true feel, idea and cost of the bathroom remodeling.

Make sure you have chosen all the needed materials suited to you and your family’s needs because if you don’t, additional expenses will surprise you.

If you need professional help in designing and remodeling your home, we are here to help you. It’s our honor to partner with HÄFELE, an international company based in Germany, which has been helping people in different parts of the world in making their dream homes a reality. Their fittings, hardware and systems can help you improve the way your bathroom suit your needs, and supply you with essential resources for Adaptive Living. Please visit their website to know more about their business and products.

Five Ways to Make Your Courtyard Feel Like a Backyard

Having a tiny courtyard or balcony doesn’t mean missing out on the enjoyment of a garden. Here are five tips to help make your outdoor area feel bigger.

1. Plan
Start by deciding what the area is for, whether it’s entertaining, having a quiet space, a kids’ play zone, or maybe your own little garden. Once you know what you want, it’s easier to make the most out of the space.

2. Choose furniture wisely
Don’t f ill the courtyard with furniture if you’re creating a fun play area. Alternatively, if you’re hosting dinners for friends you’ll need more than just a small table for two. Measure out how much space you have so that when you’re shopping for furniture you buy something that actually fits.

3. Add greenery
Make a garden out of your courtyard with some garden boxes to keep everything contained – then you can enjoy lush greenery without t he courtyard looking like an abandoned forest. Lining walls with potted plants can also bring some life to the area while keeping it tidy.

4. Keep it simple
Small spaces and clutter don’t mix. Try having just one focus of attention: a small water feature mixed in-between some plants can help balance out the space, while a mirror can reflect light to maximise the natural sunlight. 5. Get creative Your courtyard or balcony might offer limited ground space, but when you consider what you can put on walls or hang from above your options grow. Pot plants, lights and small decorations al l work well.

Designing an outdoor space doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Focus on what you enjoy, and you’ll be enjoying your new, improved courtyard in no time.

 

Author:  Alan Faint, http://www.hfcahobart.com.au/

6 Things to Consider Before You Renovate Your Home

Renovating can be big or little and considering your home if your asset, you want to make sure you cover everything that may pop up.

Here are some tips before you start renovating:

  1. It is very important that you trust the contractor you choose to work with.  Look at feedback, recommendations from friends and family or take a look at their work via their website. Ask your contractor for sites that they have completed in the area and go and take a look at them.
  2. Have a clear idea on what type of renovation you want to be done and what you want to achieve for your home. It is highly suggested that you cater to the things you needed first before working on the extras. For example, if you need a new room for a growing teenager, then you must target on accomplishing this first before working on your garden landscaping. Also, when you have made up your mind on which house renovation you need to do in advance, the possibility of spending more money than you ever intended is low.
  3. Make sure your contractor fully understands the details of the renovation and what exactly you would like to achieve. Put it in writing. You have to make sure about this before signing on a contract or agreement. This will help you save time and money and will get you the results you want.
  4. If you are unsure of whole renovation, the finer details, it’s a good idea to go to home shows or open homes and get some idea’s.  This will help clarify what you want and give your contractor some to go off.  You can ask your contractor to give you some idea’s.
  5. Be ready to create a lot of choices. During renovation projects, you will be asked to make decisions on many things even down to selecting which cupboard handles to use. You have to be careful in making these choices because if you are not happy with your selections, you may regret them in the long run.  Again, this can also help if you look at some open homes or go down to your local hardware store and look around.
  6. Ask your contractor to clean up the mess every day before they leave.  Renovations bring a lot of dust in the house, which may cause serious health problems to everyone who live in it.  Also, when your contractor is well-organised and observes cleanliness in their work, you can expect for excellent results due to work being done thoroughly.

Platinum Home Builders and Renovation Services will be pleased to help you for any of your home renovation queries. If you are looking for a home builder or contractor for your next project, please contact Bruce at 0400 904 873 or send us a message.

The Ultimate Guide to Monetizing Renovations

Renovations are not a new concept in the world of construction, but what most people don’t realize is how renovations have now emerged as one of the best places to invest your money in. Basically, you search for poorly presented properties, one’s that are below median price, and pledge to change that through the renovation process. Easy as it may seem, there are a lot of investors who find themselves shortchanged in the end upon selling the property. So before diving into the realm of investing in renovations, try to ask yourself the following questions first.

  1. What makes the property worth renovating?

Is it the overlooking view of the suburb? Is it the accessibility to other major areas? Or is it the fact that there is a nearby pizza parlor for the midnight pepperoni pizza cravings one may get? Before actually buying a property and deciding to renovate, do make sure that there is already worth that can be brought out from it. Most people think that just because a property is existing, people will want to buy it immediately. Nowadays, people choose a house based on its location and access to immediate needs. Try to research about the history of the location the property belongs to. Try to discover hidden value that the initial owners did not know. This will definitely add to the factors that may get a prospect buyer to purchase the said property.

  1. Is it cheaper than building an entirely new property?

Most people think that renovating costs less than building a new property. Most people underestimate the possible costs it may take to meet your goal for the establishment you aim to renovate. Take note that this will always depend on what is existing and what can be reused. For example, is the foundation of the building stable enough to be continued? This of course must be the 1st thing you need to check or else you beat the purpose of reusing. Next, check if there is anything that can be kept to preserve the “vibe” of the place. When a property carries such, then there is a possibility for the project to cost less. But when you find that most materials are already outdated, then that’s when the costs go up.

  1. How much should you have as a start-up capital?

Well, since you are going to deal with buying property, whether it be a house, an entire building, units or a shed, search for the possible price ranges of these properties, or that one kind of property you wish to focus on. Next, be sure to educate yourself in regards to the costs of the best possible materials you will be using in the future projects you are to embark on, alongside researching about what is trending nowadays. What are people interested in the most that will definitely fit the budget you are eyeing to spend as capital for this business endeavor? It may be somewhere between a couple of thousand dollars to somewhere in the hundreds of thousands. Take note that this will depend widely on the kind of property you wish to refurbish.

Also, research about the current market ceiling price of both brand new and renovated property. This will give you an idea of how much you can spend and get in return as profit and addition to your start up capital.

You have to understand the ins and outs of construction costs and materials, not to mention the manpower you will need. Remember that you are not going to be working alone, and that you will need all the efficient help you can get and that should be a consideration in mapping out your ideal capital for this endeavor.

  1. What is your target return?

Same with any other project, you have to make sure that you have a specific amount of money that you are willing to shell out for everything that can possibly go wrong. Always monitor your expenses to see if you are still well below it or if you are close to hitting budget but not to 100% construction.

Setting a budget will also help you visualize a return. Do not, under any circumstance, expect too much from a project and that is why you must envision a project that will not drain your bank account to the last penny. Costs will depend on your target market, and this will remind you not to go overboard and remind you of what the project aims to earn. Do not over capitalize, this is what usually causes a project to fail. When your property is not bought, then it will double your costs and beat the purpose of the project. Make both ends meet, yours and that of your target market. You don’t want to see a buyer feel bad about him/herself for not being able to afford your property because you decided to place a higher value that what is meant for it.

People do research as well and will always go for the “good buy”, so always make sure that your property belongs to that category.

  1. Who do you plan to sell to?

Always have a target market in mind. Everything that you will do to the property must answer the needs, wants and general preference of your possible buyers: from aesthetics to materials, to foundation and presentation. Never compromise materials for aesthetics but do not neglect the beauty factor as well. Some people, if not all people, want a pretty but sturdy building. If you can make everything meet in the middle, the better. A family of 4 will search for something sturdy, homey and child friendly. You have to know the specifics of how they see that house fit into what they are looking for.

  1. Is this experience similar to popular notion?

No. Contrary to what our favourite extreme makeovers for properties, your personal experience is nowhere going to be the same with those stories. You are going to make your own version and story.

Do not disappoint yourself just because it did not happen in that one show that you like watching. Look at those shows as fairy tales, and admit that fairy tales are different from reality. Truth be told, most of those episodes are scripted and appear to be more challenging than what you can possibly encounter. Do not peg yourself on the pattern that they go through for you are about to go into a different variation of your project.

  1. Should you have a vision for this?

Just like any other project, you have to make sure that you have a vision. Do you envision building homes for families to make memories in? Do you envision building establishments that will cater to the everyday needs of the community? Or do you long to provide an avenue for entertainment? Setting a vision will keep you on track especially when you find yourself on the verge of giving up on that project you started.

  1. Is it going to be easy?

Of course it won’t, and you have to understand that. It will always be a hit and miss process but once you learn from your misses, the hits will come easier than ever. You will get frustrated over building costs and permits to apply for, but always remember your vision. This will keep you going.

  1. What particular properties should you consider renovating for profit?

From a house to an old warehouse or an old airplane hangar, there are a lot of properties that have lost its value either because of time, or lack of funding from its original owners. In this manner, always remember the saying: “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Your vision will guide you in the entire process, and will surely give you the fulfilment once you see the finished project.

  1. Is renovation simply a bigger scale DIY?

Yes. It is your chance to pull a DIY with the chance of actually getting returns from it. If you are the kind of person who has an eye for details, then go ahead and immerse yourself. You get to plan the most outrageous visions and execute them hoping that someone somewhere enjoy the same taste as you.

 

All in all, it may seem like you are asked to cross a railroad blindfolded despite hearing the train’s horn blowing not so far from where you are. But life and business is all about taking the right amount of risks and understanding how far you can go. You can never go wrong with investing in what people long to have. People who are looking to buy themselves a home they dream to have will always go for the house that will hit them right in the heart. If you choose to invest not just your money, but your heart as well in the project, then it will always come through in each property your work on. The most successful entrepreneurs and investors are the ones who learned the process one step at a time, sometimes taking 2 steps backward. But in the end, they find themselves in the finish line. Anything we work hard for will always have a way of paying us back tenfold. In this endeavor, you get experiences, relationships and of course the return of investment. What more can you ask for? Besides, where is the fun in being too safe?

 

If you are interested in investing in renovations, and you want to know more about home renovations, feel free to visit our site at www.platinumhomebuilders.com.au. We are so excited to assist you.

 

Author: Clarissa Leary

Bruce and Clarissa from Platinum Homes Hobart have been working in the building industry since 2003 and are active Property Investors. Their experience and skills extend too: New Homes, Renovations, Developments & Investing, Commercial and Maintenance in Hobart, Tasmania.

Join up for Free Ebooks and Information – www.platinumhomebuilders.com.au
Email: info@platinumhomebuilders.com.au
Contact Numbers: 0400 904 873 (Bruce) or 0466 068 777 (David)

 

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