Sunday 25 September 2016

How do we adapt our home to retirement?

Derek O'Leary

Published 28/02/2016 | 02:30

'Generally you should try to plan for adaptable living spaces with plenty of natural daylight and spaces that are well insulated, comfortable and pleasant to be in' Photo: Depositphotos
'Generally you should try to plan for adaptable living spaces with plenty of natural daylight and spaces that are well insulated, comfortable and pleasant to be in' Photo: Depositphotos

Q. My wife and I have both recently retired. Now that we are spending more time in our home, we would like to make some changes and future-proof it as much as possible. What should we look out for?

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A. You are heading into an important phase of your life and there are a number of things worth considering.

The reality of retirement, even a very active one, is that inevitably you will be spending much more time at home. Rooms that previously were used for short periods, or at weekends, now become spaces in which you spend more of your time. These may include dark or small rooms that, when you spend a prolonged period there, might have a negative effect on mood at a time of great change.

The solution could be combining a series of smaller existing rooms into larger, open-plan or semi open-plan spaces. This can very successfully bring light deep into an existing house and provide a much more direct link between the house and garden. This might be achieved by something as simple as enlarging external doors and windows or removing partitions between existing rooms. More extensive alterations would include, for instance, opening up the kitchen and dining space into a larger airier family space or an extension.

You may also need to consider that you and your husband are now sharing the same space while possibly pursuing different interests and activities.

It may be important to adapt the house to create a private space for each person, such as a study or studio space, that allows you to indulge in your pursuits. It is generally possible, with some creative thought, to create these spaces in a way that they can be linked together, or position off another shared space, allowing people to interact with each other, while doing different things.

Generally you should try to plan for adaptable living spaces with plenty of natural daylight and spaces that are well insulated, comfortable and pleasant to be in. This generally will also allow the house to be adaptable over a longer period, including for accessibility of infirmity in years to come, and also provide spaces which are comfortable for larger numbers of people to be in such as for family gatherings.

You should consult a registered architect when considering changes to your home. riai.ie

Do you have an architectural dilemma we can help with? Email designclinic@independent.ie. Advice provided is for guidance only and readers are advised to seek professional assistance for any proposed project.

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