What is it that makes planning for the future so challenging? Is it that we fail to take the time to plot and scheme? Is it that we are afraid that we might get it wrong? And why is it that some people make planning out their lives, their careers, their vacations in vivid detail like it was second nature?
Recently I learned news from a client that got me to thinking about the real benefits and value of planning ahead before one is forced into making plans, occasionally due to unexpected happenstance and very often, plans that are made with haste.
Take this client for instance.
A fall from a short ladder in their home was certainly unexpected but as she remarked during a call with me this week, she stated in her very Southern drawl to me,… “not to worry.” Thankfully, there were no broken bones, just a facture, a concussion and a lot of bruises and a few days in the hospital but she was able to skip out on the traditional rehab process.
One reason for the very short stay in the hospital and quickly home was that her residence had been designed to increase her personal safety and security. And by having such “universal design” features built in, she didn’t have to go into a rehab facility, heading instead back to the comfort of her own home to recuperate. And the prescribed physical therapy she would need would be provided in the comfort of her bed and bedroom.
I will gladly take part of the credit for helping her to make this short trip from hospital to home because ten years back, I educated her on the value of planning and plotting for the future and by making plans for the unexpected such as the way the interior was designed. And during the interior remodeling process, I ensured that certain design elements would be incorporated into the spaces just in case something might occur in the future.
Wider doors and halls, a European entry to her master bathroom shower, textured tile flooring, balance bars securely installed in appropriate locations and a nearly flat and level entry path all the way from the car to the front door all added up to a home design that accommodated her short-term disability.
Best thing about the home perhaps is that you’d never realize that all those design elements were expected to perform when the unexpected occurred, each quietly in the background all these years, as transparent to the eye as clear glass is to a window.
While it is not something many like to consider, things like this can and do happen.
After all, making quick decisions is not something one should be doing just after an accident or responding to a critical health issue such as a stroke. Planning one’s home for the future is just as important a task as having health insurance or executing a financial plan to support retirement. It just makes common sense.
Towards the end of the call with my client, she told me the accident had forced her to cancel her much anticipated trip to Australia this fall, one that she had been planning for at least a year.
“ah,…That’s a bummer.” I replied.
She quickly retorted with a great quote by Allen Saunders, an author and cartoonist, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
I smiled knowing that she was absolutely right and that she was probably already planning and plotting for Australia for next spring.
And I was glad that my interior designs provided comfort when she needed it most. But that is what interior design does. Interior design is much less about how a space looks or the colors we choose. It is more about the connection it makes to the clients and their lives.
Michael is an award winning interior designer based in Palm Springs, CA. He is a Professional Member of the American Society of Interior Designers and a member of the ASID College of Fellows.
As a Certified Aging In Place Specialist, he creates smart looking spaces that are safe and secure and create homes for a lifetime.
And with thirty plus years in the profession, he has honed his humor, elevated his passion for design and sharpened his wit to not take anything too seriously except his design work.