Many people from the Greatest Generation and the Silent Generation moved into Retirement Communities upon retirement. From there they moved into Retirement or Assisted Living Homes. These were moves that were planned for. People looked forward to the amenities and activities afforded in the communities. While there is still a group of Baby Boomers that are following this path, there is also a large group that is planning to stay where their roots are, where their families are. In the communities where they have built life long friendships. Some baby boomers are renovating their existing homes and some are selling their homes, to purchase homes better suited to their needs. In the next few blogs, I will focus on design tips for Baby Boomers who are planning to build a new home.
The advantages to building a home are amplified for the Baby Boomer Generation. There are a limited amount of homes are the market that are designed specifically for retirees. Building a home allows you to customize the home to your current needs and prepare for down the road while keeping the home style and function inline with the vision you are looking for.
So lets get to the nitty-gritty of what Baby Boomers may want to consider in their home design. This blog will highlight trends for exterior of homes. The key trend here is low maintenance. Who wants to spend the retirement they have worked so hard to achieve maintaining their home.
- Exterior finishes: wood siding is out for a lot of Baby Boomers. This generation loves the look and energy of wood siding but the cost and work entailed in maintaining the finish is too high. Vinyl siding doesn’t appeal to many Baby Boomers as it does not have the depth or detail they are looking for. Fiber Cement Siding has become popular in the past few years. There are now several brand names and most carries a 50 year warranty if installed properly. It is a great fit. It is virtually maintenance free, and available in a variety of styles and finishes from rustic to stately.
- Roofing: asphalt shingles are still the leader for style. There are dozens of colors available to match trim or siding colors. Most architectural shingles carry a 30 year warranty for materials. Metal roofing is growing in its market share, especially in the Northeast. The advantages of metal roofing are durability and its “shedding” ability. Simple fact is, snow slides right off , as do those dreaded pine needles. Plus, metal roofing is now available in a growing color range and several different styles. There have even been a few studies comparing the energy efficiency of metal roof and asphalt. Depending on the style and installation of metal roofing the net air space created actually acts as an insulator and stops solar radiation typically conducted thru asphalt shingles. Metal roofing has a 30-50 year warranty on materials.
- Windows: name brands such as Andersen, Pella and Marvin are still tops in the window market. However, homeowners are now comparative shopping and learning that there are a lot of well built energy efficient windows on the market. Baby Boomers are looking for high energy efficiency, remembering too well the drafty windows of the past with the tedious swap-out of screens to storm windows. Oh and lets not forget the rattle of those storm windows during winter storms… Vinyl clad, double pane, Low-E windows are energy effiecient, require little maintenance and have a wide array of styles and colors. I would recommend double hung windows for easy cleaning. No need to get out the ladder, just tilt them in and wash.
- Landscaping: another area where homeowners can spend a lot of time working. Some people enjoy working on landscaping, some do not. There are ways to ensure that the landscaping does not take over all of your time and still maintains a look of a well manicured lawn. First, plan your space. Decide before hand where gardens, bushes and grassy lawn areas will be. Use mulch and landscaping fabric liberally to cut down on the amount of time you spend weeding. As you plan your lawn area, keep in mind that sweeping curves are easier to mow than 90* angles. Another tip: lawns with a high ratio of clover require less water and less mowing.
- Decks and porches require quite a bit of maintenance and upkeep. Consider incorporating a patio into your design. Patios can be more costly to install, but require less maintenance if installed properly than a deck.
- The less steps you can have leading into your home the better. Less steps to shovel and sand in the winter (or slip on when you have done the previous). Less steps to haul shopping bags up. Talk to your contractor about how to eliminate the need for a full set of exterior steps at the front entrance of your new home. Also be sure to have a secure railing at your front entrance for guests to use if need be.
Coming up next… Home Design Tips for Baby Boomers ~ Interior, Functionality.