ASID Icon - Fall 2012 - (Page 40)
DESIGN FOR LIFE/
Meeting Untapped Needs
REMODEL COMPETITION JOINS DESIGNERS WITH THE COMMUNITY/ SAN DIEGO’S DESIGN culture stretches back to
its mission roots, still visible in the many Spanishstyle buildings and plazas throughout the city. Yet for many San Diegans, design is something to be admired rather than embraced. This is especially true among the elderly population. The temperate climate and ocean vistas have long attracted retirees to San Diego. And like most Americans, they want to stay in their own homes as they age and continue to enjoy an active lifestyle. Few homes, however, are designed to accommodate the changes that come with aging. Often, home modiﬁcation—employing universal design and other strategies—can help make the difference between relocating or staying put. For a variety of reasons, though, most homeowners are not aware of these design options and their beneﬁts. ReVisions Resources, a nonprofit that helps older adults remain independent for as long as possible, set out to rectify that. Inspired by the AARP Recession Remodel competition, they initiated a universal design contest, called “Designed for Life,” to demonstrate appealing, cost-effective solutions for aging in place. In collaboration with AARP, the ASID San Diego Chapter and other community organizations, they invited homeowners to submit a short essay on why their homes needed a remodel. Contestants were asked to select a kitchen or bathroom and describe the work needed. The winning entry received a one-room remodel, as well as the services of an ASID designer.
Lacking the means is not the only deterrent to home renovation. Even homeowners who could afford it did not know how to go about it or who could help them.
The outpouring of interest in the contest demonstrated that there was a real, untapped need in the community. “The entries were surprising in another way as well,” says Liliane Choney, executive director of ReVisions Resources. “We thought the response would be based on immediate health need, but we saw many entries coming from folks who wanted to plan ahead.” As they reviewed entries, the organizers discovered an unexpected bonus. What had begun as an effort to stimulate community interest in helping seniors stay safe and comfortable in their homes grew into an ad hoc needs assessment. “There’s not a big knowledge base of what people need and want in the community,” says Choney. The essays gave particular details of the challenges seniors in the community were facing. Out of the hundreds of entries received, nine were selected for the next phase of the contest and nine interior designers from the ASID San Diego Chapter volunteered to create design concepts employing cutting-edge solutions that would address the needs that homeowners had expressed in their essays. The homeowners were asked to provide some additional information about their lifestyle preferences and any limitations the designer would need to know about, along with photos of their kitchen or bath. This material was given to the designers, who were tasked with developing a budget and specifying materials, as well as creating a design that supported the occupant’s abilities and lifestyle. Each submission also included a ﬂoor plan and perspective drawings.
the magazine of the american society of interior designers
Photos by Paul Burlingame Photo
Given homeowners’ usual reluctance to discuss aging-related issues, competition organizers were unsure what type of response they might get. They hoped to identify 25 to 30 possible projects, expecting that most would be from low-income homeowners who lacked the resources to do their own remodels. Instead, hundreds of requests came pouring in, from many socioeconomic levels. Lacking the means was not the only deterrent to home modiﬁcation, they found. Those who could afford to do so simply did not know how to go about it or who could help them.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ASID Icon - Fall 2012
Taking Business Abroad
Finding the Right Formula
The State of Our Society
Design for Life
Resource Guide & Advertisers
ASID Icon - Fall 2012