Kitchen & Bath Design News

MAY 2019

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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GENERATIONAL SIMILARITIES While there are certainly identifying characteristics associat- ed with each age demographic, there are similarities as well, designers agree. "The last couple of bathrooms I have designed have been for clients in their 70s and 80s," Knickerbocker notes. "But in many regards, they aren't a lot different from bathrooms I have designed for clients in their 30s, 40s and 50s." That is, in part, due to the concept of Universal Design, Knickerbocker continues. "There are certain selections and design features that apply to all age groups," she says. "As we address concerns for older clients, much of what we include also makes sense for everyone as universal, smart design." Of note are materials that offer non-slip properties, such as floor tile, as well as grab bars that are increasingly standard in many older clients' bathrooms yet make sense for clients of any age. "There are several on the market that don't look institutional and are offered in suites that blend with faucets and towel bars," she says. Designers also draw attention to other similarities that cross age groups. Many of Machado-Rosas' clients, regardless of age, are placing a greater emphasis on their pets. "We are creating spaces – such as cubbies within an island, or even en- tire rooms for eating, sleeping and bathing – to accommodate our clients' pets," she says. Creating a unique personal space is an overriding consid- eration as well. "Clients aren't necessarily going for neutral, in- case-I-want-to-sell-my-home colors," she points out. "They're more interested in making their homes their own so they can feel proud of them." Part of that pride also comes from keeping their homes clutter-free via a focus on storage. "People want a place for everything," she says. "Clutter is a definite no-no." Venalainen agrees: "Unless it's a powder room, storage in a bathroom is a consideration for everyone. Whether it's a medicine cabinet, closed storage beneath a vanity or a separate tower, everyone needs a place to hide their day-to-day items." That importance extends to the kitchen as well, although how that happens does tend to be a bit more age-specific. "Clients in an older demographic are more minimal about open shelves and glass cupboards," she states. "They want storage to be more functional rather than having to worry about styling stored items." "People don't like clutter," adds Mitchell. "Homeowners generally want to maximize their kitchen counter space. For example, they will store appliances in a garage or under a counter on roll-out shelves. They want their spaces to be tidy, with items easily accessible." Stanfield adds, "My goal is that when a client moves into their new space, they know exactly where everything is sup- posed to go because we have designed it with storage in mind. Everything is intentional and there is no wasted space." Proper lighting is another design element that clients of all ages appreciate. "Lighting makes it so much easier to maneuver within a space," Stanfield notes. "And it goes beyond just undercounter lighting in the kitchen. I have one client who has specified lights in every single drawer and every single cabinet in her kitchen." "There is no reason to have any dead corners, where some- one needs a flashlight to find that Christmas cookie jar way in the back of the cupboard," adds Mitchell. Motion-activated lights in a bathroom are also valued by clients of all ages. "The older we get, the more we appreciate something like toe-kick lighting that automatically comes on when we enter the room," Mitchell continues. "However, this feature is great for anyone who doesn't want to fumble around trying to find the sink." ▪ hot plates or bowls over a potentially hot surface below. Every chance I get, I move the microwave to somewhere below the countertop." Comfort for arthritic joints can also be a consideration when selecting flooring materials, she adds. "Sometimes [ceramic or porcelain] tile can be hard and uncomfortable for older clients to stand on," says the designer. "Wood can be softer, but it can require more maintenance…and it doesn't agree with water, so in a bathroom I recently designed for a couple in their 70s, I used vinyl tile that looks like wood. It's a beautiful option that helps solve several concerns." Comfort for arthritic joints can be a consideration when select- ing flooring materials for older clients, so for these 70-something clients, Nancy Knickerbocker chose vinyl flooring that looks like wood. She also included grab bars in the tub and shower. Placement can also go a long way toward minimizing the institutional look, she says, adding that she often locates them on a shower's half wall so they can be somewhat hidden yet accessible. Photos: Reico Kitchen & Bath/BTW Images LLC 48 Kitchen & Bath Design News • May 2019 GENERATIONAL DESIGN

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