Building Your Forever Home

Dave and Kelli Holliday ShelfGenie Chattanooga

Dave & Kelli Holliday, ShelfGenie

Create a Functional Kitchen

As families evolve, priorities and needs change, but a functional kitchen is always a must – whether you are 40 or 80! You will always want plenty of storage and a functional design so you can easily find items and safely access them. Adding pull-out shelves to your existing cabinets and pantries will help increase storage, organization, and access. Because they pull out, more shelves can be added to increase your usable storage space by up to 50%. Extra storage space is helpful when you have a house full of teens and their friends – you can stock up on necessities. These pull-out shelves also increase visibility and accessibility, which is necessary
as we age and become less able
to bend, twist, and reach into the backs of cabinets. 

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Jay Caughman Caughman and Caughman Architects Chattanooga

Jay Caughman, Caughman + Caughman Architects

Plan Around Your Lifestyle

The most important thing in planning your forever home is the layout and flow. Regardless of the beauty of the materials, how well it’s illuminated, and how wonderful the views are, if the plan does not allow for clean, easy flow from room to room, no amount of expensive materials will compensate for that. The home exists to serve the homeowner, not vice versa. Think through the plan, digest it, and really visualize how you will live in it. You should not have to alter your life to accommodate a poorly thought-out plan. The plan should reflect the lifestyle of the owner.

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Eddie Lawson Interior Trim and Supply Inc Chattanooga

Eddie Lawson, Interior Trim and Supply, Inc.

Choose Your Style First

Take time to figure out what you like before you purchase anything. We have so many selections at our showroom, but it’s helpful if customers look at photos in magazines, on Houzz, or on Pinterest to see what look they gravitate toward. Maybe it’s craftsman, traditional, farmhouse, or contemporary. After deciding on the look they like, the next step would be to visit our showroom where we have various doors styles, trim options (baseboards, crown moldings, window and door casings), staircase parts, and beams that are available in the style they like. We also have hardware designs and finishes that can be chosen after door styles and trim are chosen. Choosing beams for large great rooms is a popular trend today, as well as nickel gap or tongue and groove ceilings.

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Louis Wamp AIA Louis Wamp Architects and Associates Chattanooga

Louis Wamp, AIA, Louis Wamp Architects & Associates

Consider the Future

When thinking about designing a forever home, the first (and often most difficult) consideration is aging in place. Consider features like master bedroom on main floor, laundry room on main floor, no stairs from garage or main entry, and less square footage than you want now but will not need later. And if a home is safe for the aging, it’s also safe for young kids. If you think about downsizing now, it will save you the pain of doing it in the future. If you can, invest in quality materials that will cut down on maintenance. Balance your true needs with resale expectations. Another consideration is site choice. Unless you are wealthy (not to mention physically fit), yardwork on a 10-acre estate is not going to be feasible past a certain age.

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Todd Weller Weller Brothers Construction Chattanooga

Todd Weller, Weller Brothers Construction

Create a Fur-ever Home

We are changing the way we build homes to accommodate man’s best friend, as 67% of pet owners consider their dogs a family member. Homeowners are increasingly requesting space for their furry friends, such as a little nook under the stairs for them to hide out and sleep, or cutting a bubble window in a fence, so pets can see what’s going on outside of their yard. The biggest request we are receiving is for pet-washing stations. Building raised tile washing stations brings your dog up to a comfortable height. Not having to lean over a tub will save your back from strain. So consider all your family members when building your forever home.

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Connie McCoy McCoy Homes Inc Chattanooga

Connie McCoy, McCoy Homes, Inc.

Think Through Potential Needs

When clients tell us that they want to build their “Forever Home,” we ask them if they’ve thought about how they will live in 30 years. We all plan to be fit and healthy from now until kingdom come. However, as people are living longer, there is a very real possibility that we will find ourselves in need of home modifications. Using the principles of universal design to lay out your home now will make it easier to modify later. Our interior designers suggest halls be at least four feet wide (to accommodate a wheelchair) and to add extra blocking in the bathrooms (for the future installation of grab bars). You wouldn’t notice these things now, but if you need to modify your home later – you’ll be really glad you thought it through.

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Tim Burns Burns Construction Company Chattanooga

Tim Burns, Burns Construction Company

Find the Perfect Location

Building a forever home is a tough one because things in our life change so quickly. In my 42 years of building homes, I have lived in 28 new homes, and our current home definitely has characteristics of our forever home. It is not a terribly large home, but we did use space well by making sure the family rooms were the largest. I have noticed one thing that seems to have stayed constant throughout all our homes – the main living area and kitchen are the gathering areas for friends and family. We seem to spend 90% of our time in these parts of the home. Besides devoting space to these important rooms, I also believe in buying high quality, traditional amenities over trendy items that seem to come and go so quickly. Ultimately though, the most important aspect of the forever home to me would be location. I would spend time trying to pick a location that will retain its value and won’t lose its character or convenience. Find a place your children and grandchildren want to come back to. Last but not least, reach out to a professional to guide you through the process.

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Glenn Walker Glenn R Walker Builder LLC Chattanooga

Glenn Walker, Glenn R. Walker Builder, LLC

Create Easy Access

No one likes to think about having any handicaps in the future. However, for many of us there could come a time in life where, maybe even just for a little while (like while recovering from surgery or after spraining our knee), we will need our home to be easier to navigate. When planning the home you hope to live in forever, there are a few things to keep in mind that will accommodate the accessibility needs of anyone in a wheelchair, on crutches, or simply recovering from injury or sickness. Many of these features also make everyday navigation in the home more convenient for any age. Consider widening door openings and hallways, opting for a curb-less shower, and eliminating as many stairs to the entries of your home as possible. Doorways and hallways should be at least three feet wide. And we’re seeing a big trend with curb-less showers – we just incorporate a slot drain to the back of the shower, so there’s no need to worry about water overflow.

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Shana Cooper East Chattanooga Lumber and Supply Co Chattanooga

Shana Cooper, East Chattanooga Lumber & Supply Co.

Make Smart Investments

Whether building or remodeling, the smart investment is to plan for future living conveniences. One of the best choices you can make is to have wide interior doors and openings. This will benefit homeowners in multiple ways, from carrying laundry or packages, accommodating crutches, to any long-term needs like wheelchair accessibility. Pocket doors are also a good option by allowing you full clearance as well as easy use for those with limited mobility. Finish off your wide openings with easy-to-operate levers or egg-knob style hardware, and you are ready!

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Dexter White Dexter W White Construction Chattanooga

Dexter White, Dexter W. White Construction

Invest in Energy Efficiency

Make your forever home the most energy efficient you can. Energy costs to run and operate a home are enormous over the course of your lifetime. The money you invest in quality materials on the front end become a long-term investment that you won’t regret. If you choose energy-efficient materials, you’re ultimately saving money, so invest in quality, energy-efficient materials now.

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Kim Campbell Chattanooga Closet Company Chattanooga

Kim Campbell, Chattanooga Closet Company

Plan for Adjustments

I cannot stress enough how important adjustability is in all areas of your home. As we grow older and our family dynamics change, our spaces need to change with them. A closet for a small child’s bedroom should be built the size they will need later. Rod heights can easily be adjusted as children get taller. Doorways need to be 36 inches wide for the possible use of wheelchairs or walkers. Smooth floors are important for safety – for growing children and for older adults. Having the master suite on the main floor is a necessary element for aging in place. In your bath, a smooth entrance to the shower is advantageous as well. All of these options considered ahead of time will add to a lifetime of enjoyment in your home. Even if you don’t stay in your home forever, these elements are added value when you sell.

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