Design For Aging In Place Is Not A Trend du Jour.. But A Fact Of Life for Baby Boomers
Never would I have thought in my career that I would get a call from a major publishing house like John Wiley whose interior design editor at the time John Czarnecki asked about whether there was any interest in writing a book about the upcoming trend of creating homes that support one's independence. It was surely a surprise and a welcome opportunity to work with a colleague of mind, Drue Lawlor, FASID to help communicate this important concept to interior designers, architects and home builders. But how do you write a book when you never have contemplated doing any thing of the like. John quickly replied that he and his editorial staff would guide Drue and myself thru the process from word creation to book cover. And so we did.
Since that time, Drue and I have been seeing the book pop up in many places including Amazon.com, Barnes + Noble and book sellers from Seattle to Miami, Chicago to Houston. And when we do see it,... we grin... Because we know the message is gaining ground that you can design homes with a certain level of accessibility AND make it look great.
And isn't that the best alternative when one considers that being in a home of ones choosing is the "ideal independence?" We think it is and we think that is how it should be no matter the age, no matter the ability. And with so many baby boomers reaching that time in their life where certain decisions are being made, they are discovering that aging in place is not a trend for the moment but a lifestyle that supports safety, security and independence.
In a recent post on a blog, the book received many nice compliments.
Check it out: CLICK HERE.
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Decorati.com, a website that features what's new and fresh, classic and contemporary for interior design showcases an updated profile on Michael A. Thomas, FASID along with photos of his recent work.
To Read His Profile... CLICK HERE.
After Fifty Years, A Stainglass Window Designed By Frank Lloyd Wright Is Returned To Its Home
This Wright glass panel returned to its original site.
Many who know me know of my fascination, interest and passion of the work and life of Frank LLoyd Wright. It continues with my many visits to Chicago but this one particular trip to the Oak Park, IL Home of Mr. Wright in the summer of 1984 started it all. It was personally and professionally significant and opened my eyes to the architecture and design of this remarkable individual in a way that a text book could not.
During the tour, a grey-haired docent dressed in pork pie hat, cape and carrying a walking stick, a most regal individual by the name of Lyman Shepard, guided a walking tour around the neighborhood pointing out the homes designed by Mr. Wright ...and those homes that Mr. Wright despised, which by the way, were all that were not designed by Mr. Wright. But during that stroll in Oak Park, Lyman brought to life the work, style, and detail of Mr. Wright that I had simply not appreciated nor fully understood before.
There was so much to understand and absorb of Mr. Wright's legacy that since that summer of 84, I have made it a point to visit as many properties as time permits,.. to date traveling to close to 80 of them at last count ...from New York to Hawaii, from Oregon to Florida and of course both Taliesin in Wisconsin and Taliesin West in Arizona. Just a few weeks ago, I returned to the Robie House to see the results of the extensive restoration efforts and was pleased to see the care that is being taken to preserve the building. And in the past while having a home in Florida, I have supported the restoration efforts at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida since in my opinion, Mr. Wright used the opportunity to "build a temple of education in the middle of an orange grove" as a living laboratory, trying out various designs before using them as details for other clients.
So I am always interested in reading about Mr. Wright and any efforts to preserve his buildings. Recently a story in the New York Times caught my eye. It's about the return of a stain glass window, what Mr. Wright called light screens, to the Darwin Martin house in Buffalo, NY. After being removed from its site nearly 60 years ago, the owners of the glass light screen have returned it to the home. It is a great story. CLICK HERE to read it.
Baby Boomers have a lot to look forward to,... like being able to read the dashboard.
I read a press release that came from Ford Motor Company about research the company completed that clearly indicated the need to change the size of the fonts on the dashboard. And it needs to happen sooner than later as a result of baby boomer's failing eyesight. What a concept. Imagine actually being able to know how much gas is in the tank of the car or what radio station you are tuned into. And just think... what other products should be adapted to products we use everyday that would make it easier not only for Boomers to use, but easier at any age or ability.
Ahh... What Is This World Coming To ....where great design impacts the human experience.
What a concept!
Baby boomers have a lot to look forward to if Ford's implementation of their research proves successful. Could this just be the beginning? Can you imagine the possibilities to have a GPS display projected on the windshield of the car, small enough not to get in the way of driving but large enough to glance over and make sure one is not only on the right road... but actually ON THE ROAD. Read more about this subject at my other BLOG: Just CLICK HERE to go THERE.
Here's what the dust storm looked like as it covered the desert valley area of Phoenix.
The most powerful monsoon season in Phoenix delivered a whole lot more than just desert dirt.
The dust storm started in the southeast valley and soon covered the entire metro area.
For those who lived thru the dust storm in Phoenix know that this was an amazing event that only Mother Nature could provide. As it approached the desert valley, the ominous, billowing storm was more than 60 miles wide and reached a height of more than a mile. And now what's left ? A fine layer of wind-driven dust causing potential problems for building owners and maintenance staff thru out the desert area. And it's a mess.
The owners and managers of homes, apartments, condos and office buildings of every shape and size should start the cleaning process as quickly as possible to protect not only the surfaces and finishes but mechanical systems like air conditioning. But wait ! There are a few things to know as you start cleaning up.
Before you start grabbing hoses and pressure cleaners to wash the surfaces of walls, decks and roofs, its important to consider that high pressure streams may knock off the surface dust but damage what's under. So be careful and avoid hitting any surface with a direct stream. Instead go easy on the pressure with a broader or wider spray to avoid driving the dirt deeper into brick, stucco and painted finishes, or worse, blasting the finish that would require significant repairs. In this case, it may take multiple passes to do a thorough, safe wash down.
With hose in hand, don't forget to wash the AC Unit. But the advice from the tech people is to use a bit of caution as well. Avoid using high pressure washers as they can easily damage the fins on the evaporator coils and make the compressor work that much harder leading one to call out HVAC repair on some hot Arizona summer day. And then go inside and check the filter on the air handler. It may need replacing depending on how tight the construction envelope is on the building. Fine dust and dirt can seep into even the smallest of crevices,.. especially when the winds blew the way it did during the storm. You might even want to check on that new filter in just a few days and replace it if you see a build-up of dirt on that one. This dust will be with us for several more days hanging around in the atmosphere.
What's Next? Fine furniture, window, wall and floor coverings may need a thorough cleaning not just once but over the next several days as there is still a lot of dust out there. Try to very softly remove any dust first before a more complete polishing to avoid creating fine scratches in glass, woods, stones and counters. Use plenty of clean cloths and don't continue to use dirty cloths and go from piece to piece as the cloth can become very abrasive after only a few uses. Consider using "damp" disposables or very slightly moistened cloth baby diapers but never dry paper towels.
Carpeting and rugs should be vacuumed initially with your "hoover" set at the highest level to remove the top dirt before going deeper into the carpet nap. Same thing goes for the fabrics that cover windows and walls, sofas and chairs. Better to use a hand-vac and run it easily over the surface before using more extensive options like wet or dry-cleaning to remove what Mother Nature delivered to us. It was amazing event even it is a pain to clean up after.
Its Hotter Than Hell In Phoenix.... But What The Hell, It's Still Better Than Florida.
I am going on Two Years in the desert. The heat is just not that bad compared to Florida.
I lived in Florida for the last two plus decades and I can tell you with authority that humidity - or the lack there of - makes all the difference in the world in turns of comfort. Today was 117 in the Phoenix desert valley and when the humidity is @ but 5%, you know that it's something that you can learn to tolerate. . . . better than being in Florida.
I used to tell my snowbird clients that you get used to the humidity in FL during the summer months...especially after you live there for 20 years. But the real truth is that you can learn to live without humidity a whole lot easier even if the temps are @ 115 or above. BTW: You still do a lot of the same things...whether in FL or AZ... you go from air conditioning @ home to car to office to retail spaces to office to home to client's residence.... whether you are in FL or in AZ. And while you might traverse the distance with speed, at the end of the day, it seems it is still HOT in FL or in AZ. But one thing that is apparent.... without the humidity, it makes things a wee bit more tolerable. While I do miss the ocean... and I don't miss it that much... I don't certainly miss the Florida humidity at all.
Michael is an award winning interior designer based in Palm Desert, 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.