Downsizing from your family home in retirement can be daunting. Such a big change can be worrying but it can also be a really exciting process. One where you can customise a smaller home to perfectly match your lifestyle and your new found freedom.
We’ve worked with many downsizers to transform uninspiring houses into fantastic homes. Ones which are perfect for entertaining, hobbies and making the most of their retirement.
If you’re planning a similar downsizing project we’ve compiled some key points to remember if want to make the most of this exciting opportunity.
Light and Space
Moving to a smaller home doesn’t mean it should feel claustrophobic. You can indeed do more with less by opening up views through the home, between different internal spaces or by adding dramatic double height volumes.
Make the most of any views you have. Even if you aren’t lucky enough to live in beautiful surroundings carefully framing key parts of your garden can be extremely uplifting if you’re spending more time indoors.
Plenty of daylight and sunlight can also add to your sense of space so make sure this is a key part of the architecture. Rooflights or large windows are great features for any room.
Well designed storage is crucial to creating a sense of space. Think carefully about what you need to store and how often you need access. Design your storage around this so that it blends seamlessly into your rooms.
A smaller home will feel more spacious when you make the most of every square meter of space. Think about flexibility. How could the same room could be used differently throughout the day?
Or could space be used creatively to host a large family gathering but also be split into more imitate rooms when you’re on your own? A smaller home shouldn’t prevent you from entertaining larger groups of family or friends.
It can be difficult but consider how you will use your home as you age. An accessible ground floor shower room and wide doors are a must. As is the ability to live, even temporarily, on the ground floor. To help, ensure there is a room which could act as a bedroom at ground level.
If you’re planning to build a new house, particularly in Sheffield, be wary of steeply sloping sites which may not be accessible as you age. If you can’t resist that house on a steep site with amazing views, factor into your budget the cost of making the site accessible.
Comfort and energy
You’re likely to feel the cold far more so investing in plenty of insulation is money well spent.
Also make sure your architect and builder understand how to deliver a low energy building which is free from draughts and reduces the radiant cold felt from walls or windows. Not only will this improve your comfort but it will also reduce your heating costs. This means you’ll have more money to spend on the things you enjoy the most.
Don’t forgot summer comfort too. A great deal of preventable illnesses are caused by overheating. Insulation will help but make sure your architect carefully designs your home to cope with summer temperatures.
For more information on comfort and energy have a look at our previous blog on this subject.
If you’re planning to spend more time indoors during your retirement then make sure your home is a healthy one.
Good ventilation is important as it can minimise the risk of respiratory problems. Consider installing a mechanical ventilation system, such as mechanical extract ventilation with heat recovery, to help create a healthy, mould free home. You’re unlikely to want to open your windows in the depths of winter.
Just because it’s a new house or a renovation doesn’t mean your design shouldn’t have a bit of you in it to make it feel like home. A good architect will ask plenty of questions to understand how you live now and help design a home which is tailor made to you.
Also be sure to think about what you want to do more of in your retirement and design your home around that.
Do you want to entertain lots? Consider an open plan kitchen/diner which can become the focal point of any gathering. Planning to spend time in a hobby? Make sure you create the perfect space for this with plenty of light and good views. Enjoy having your grand children to stay? Think about having a good connection to your garden so it’s easy for you to supervise them as they play.
Allowing plenty of time to plan how you want to live in your new home is likely to pay dividends and help you to make the most of your retirement.
Are you considering a downsizing project in your retirement? Get in touch with us today to discuss how we could help you realise your dream.
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