Remodeling Tips that Will Work Now and Later

foyer with square spindles on the stair railing and three panel doors on the entry closetWe’re not getting any younger. That being said, it’s never too early to start thinking about aging in place.  You don’t need to wait until your ‘golden years’ to ready your home. There are some smart (and discrete) design solutions you can make now to set yourself up for the future. To help get you started, here are some insights from Normandy Designer John Long.

“Aging in place is for all ages,” said John. “There’s a misconception that your home will look too clinical… But really, you can design a beautiful and functional space that you can use long term.”

Here are the top things to consider:

shower with grab barsEnlarged Entryway – A larger entryway will accommodate a wheelchair or provide enough room for an assistant, should you need help in and out of the area. You’ll also want a zero-threshold entry door. Avoiding a door sill means there’s less chance of tripping and a wheelchair can glide right into your home.

Smart Shower Set Up – Bathtubs can be hard to get in and out of, so a shower is a better option. There are a few different ways to accommodate future needs. These include adding a bench and choosing handles that will be easy to turn on and off. Hand-held showers are also useful and there are attractive safety grab bars that won’t have your shower looking like you just stepped into a hospital.

Similar to your entryway, you’ll also want your shower to have a low threshold or none at all. With this option, you’ll avoid a tripping hazard. You can also use a wheelchair or walker to enter the shower if needed.

Strategic Toilet Placement – As physical capabilities lessen, the proper height and space around the toilet become essential for daily comfort. You’ll want to choose a height that feels right for you. Then, there’s location, location, location.  Choose a spot that will allow for adequate space around the toilet fixture. As situations change from non-assisted to assist, the extra space will be helpful.

Hardwood in the Bedroom – When it comes to the bedroom, there are a few basics. The first is that hardwood is better than carpeting. It will make it easier to get around. Also, avoid rugs as they can be a tripping hazard. Second, sufficient space around the bed is a must-have. It will help when assistance is needed.

Master bedroom with tray ceiling as part of home addition

The Right Amount of Light – Properly positioned lighting will set the tone for your entire room — ensuring your space is comfortable, not clinical. The bathroom is an easy room to overdo it in, but softer, properly focused lighting is best if you want to avoid the operating table look.

All in all, incorporating these well-planned adjustments into your remodel can work now and as you start to age in place. Set up a time with John to discuss your project and needs. Or, register to attend an upcoming workshop to learn more about the remodeling process. You can also gather some great design ideas from the Normandy photo gallery or by following Normandy Remodeling on Facebook and Instagram.

Why You Need a Bond and Permit When Remodeling

Primary bedroom and bathroom addition over the garageBefore you can start construction on your home addition or remodeling project, there’s some administration work that needs to be done. We’re talking about permits and bonds. And while they may seem like a nuisance or an added cost, they are for your safety and benefit. Here’s some more information from Normandy Designer Jeremy Paris on what they are and why they are necessary.

“In many municipalities, permits and bonds go hand in hand,” said Jeremy. “You’ll work with your designer to apply for a permit and securing a bond is part of that process,” added Jeremy.

Here’s what each of these covers:

Permits – Permits are for your safety as they ensure that your project is designed correctly and meets all current code requirements. Most major remodeling projects will require permits especially if plumbing, electrical or structural changes are involved.

After you’ve applied for a permit, your local building department will review your plans for code compliance. The permit review process typically takes several weeks depending on the type of project and the building department’s work load. Once permits are approved construction can begin. During construction, the building department will conduct inspections throughout your remodel to verify the project is being built according to the approved plans. The number of inspections varies, but there can be up to a dozen. A few inspection check points include concrete, framing, insulation and mechanicals.

Bonds – You can think of bonds as a security deposit to the village. Money is held by the village to cover potential damages to city property like sidewalks, streets and curbs in the event that the contractor does not make any necessary repairs. If all goes well, the bond money is returned at the end of the project, provided that all other requirements and inspections are completed.

“There a couple more things worth mentioning when it comes to permits and bonds,” said Jeremy. “The first is that you should talk with your remodeler about who is handling the permit and bond fees. Permit fees can be paid by you or your remodeler but we recommend that you ask your remodeler to post the bond money, as it is their responsibility to repair any damages.”

It should be noted that a bond is not required in every community, but it’s worth finding out whether your town requires a bond before you incur an unexpected expense.

Now that you are informed on permits and bonds, set up an appointment with Jeremy to start your next project. Or, register to attend an upcoming workshop to keep on learning. You can also gather ideas from the Normandy photo gallery or by following Normandy Remodeling on Facebook and Instagram.


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