Thursday, June 9, 2011

Senior Living Plans

Designing an affordable small unit plan for senior living is a challenge. Many seniors are downsizing from a single family home and many of the pieces of furniture they wish to bring with them are scaled for houses and not small apartments. When a large hutch, dining table or favorite easy chair is placed in a small apartment the result is a home that feels crowded and cramped, making the transition even harder on the individual.

This concept for a 600 sf One Bedroom modular apartment borrows a trick from the RV industry -- the slide out. The common party wall between units does not run straight but is offset adding 18" to the width on one or the other side of the unit, just as a slide out in an RV makes a narrow space more livable. When this additional width is in the living area it allows for a larger couch, when in the kitchen area it allows for a larger dining table. The variety of configurations possible in this common module provides greater choice for the tenant. In unit A3 the kitchen is on the inside next to the corridor as is traditional in most apartments, allowing a larger living area. On Unit A2 the kitchen is placed on the outside wall and has the added width. This allows a larger table to be used and provides a bright well lit working, cooking and entertaining area. Where as the living section is on the interior side for a dimmer environment better for watching TV, etc.

There are no wasteful hallways in this unit. The bedrooms open onto the main living areas with double sliding doors. In this way a person who may be bed ridden for a period of time still feels part of the home and not confined to a small bedroom. It also visually expands the width of the unit making it feel much larger than it's 600 sf would suggest.

Storage is accumulated in two large closets with large sliding doors to make everything easily accessible and to allow for a variety of closet storage components to be placed inside for more efficient storage. The "L" shaped kitchens can have a built in dining bar freeing up more floor space, or incorporate open shelving for displaying the many small treasure collected over a lifetime.

This unit concept was incorporated into the design of the Russellville Park Senior Living project we designed in Portland, Oregon.

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