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AIP Bulletin

Make your home livable, longer, through Universal Design & Technology.

October 2010

This Month's Favorite Quote:

"Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid."

Frank Zappa, Musician
Smart Home Technology Conserves Resources, Adds Convenience

Smart homes rely on networking, programming and automation to connect all the devices and appliances in your home so they can communicate with each other and with you. With a smart home, you can control just smart-home-remodel-01about any element of daily living. Systems can turn on your coffee maker in the morning, adjust the temperature of your heated pool or control the time your landscape lighting goes on at night.

"Smart homes are the future," said John Davies, ASID, director of design for Marrokal Design and Remodeling. The firm recently won a National CotY Award from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) for a whole-home remodel it completed in San Diego that included a centralized computer system. 

The Marrokal Design & Remodeling project began as a one-story Spanish-style home built in the 1970s. In an effort to take advantage of 180-degree views, the homeowners purchased two smaller adjacent lots to create a small estate-like setting in San Diego's hilltop Presidio neighborhood. To more easily operate all the electronics in the remodeled 4,500-square-foot residence, the homeowners opted to incorporate a smart home system using components from a variety of home automation companies.

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AIP Pro Tip: Remodeling, Moving or Building? Plan Twice, Do Once

There's on old carpenter's saying, "Measure twice, cut once." The idea is that if you measure carefully and then cut, you can save a lot of time (and materials) by having something that is done properly the first time. Andrea Tannenbaum, founder and, recommends a similar saying for aging in place building or remodeling: "plan twice, do once."

"Think through what features you would like to have for your home. Make a list and prioritize the list so the most important ones are first. You know, the features with the biggest bang for the buck. Then set your list aside. Now think through what changes life could bring before you get to build or remodel again. This includes the good and not so good possibilities: a wedding, a car accident, a birth, an older relative moving in, a diagnosis, a change in your financial status.

Dual Purpose: Bench and storage unit.
Dual use furniture: accessible bench with storage.

"Now you need to think about the impact these potential life changes would have on your original list of projects. Does it change what the overall design might be? Would you include different features? Does it change the priority?

"This kind of exercise can even affect whether it makes sense to remodel or build. You might even discover it would be better to move. Maybe a few smaller changes, like rearranging the main living space and adding some accessible storage, could provide really important benefits and mean that a move or remodel isn't really what's needed at all.

"Sometimes it is really easy to fall in love with the idea of the project like a remodel or move and not really stop to ask yourself (or those on the journey with you) if what you are planning is what will be right for you in the long run. So, plan twice, and be more assured that the changes you make will really make you happy!"

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Life Before, During & After 100

Eight men and women ranging in ages from 99 to 103 talk about their century of life in "Secrets of the Centenarians" (New York Times: Health 10.19.10). Click here or on the image below to hear the interviews.

NYT: Secrets of the Centenarians

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