What if the home you are planning to build could be your family home for the rest of your life? What if, with a little planning, your new home could adapt to meet the needs of your family and change as your family does?
That’s the idea behind FlexHousing. A FlexHouse is a home designed before construction begins to be user friendly to its occupants at all stages of their lives and to make future renovations easier and cheaper for the homeowner to complete. FlexHousing can eliminate the need to move from house to house as the requirements of your family change over time.
The first home for many couples is often referred to as a “starter” home, which is typically small and easy to maintain. Then, as children come along the first home is too small and that requires the costly and disruptive choice of moving. When the children are grown and on their own this second home becomes too large for only two people to take care of.
As the population ages, half of all homes in Canada will house people 55 yeas old or older by 2017. Also, with a declining population, fewer new homes will be built each year. So homes that are flexible will be in big demand. This flexibility not only is beneficial to the home, but if families don’t have the need to move, they stay in the neighbourhood longer, creating a stronger sense of community.
PRINCIPLES OF FLEXHOUSING
A FlexHouse isn’t a type of home style like a bungalow or two storey, it is the way it is designed prior to construction and is based on four principles.
• Healthy Housing
Adaptability: The home is designed to be renovated to suit changing needs.
A large bedroom can be made into two smaller rooms and used as either another bedroom or home office.
A space such as the basement can be renovated to become a separate apartment by roughing in plumbing for a kitchen and bathroom that will bring in extra income later on or be used by an aging relative.
Bathroom walls can be given extra strength during construction to allow for the installing of grab bars and other special items to assist less mobile residents.
Install counters and cabinets in the kitchen or bathroom that can be adjusted vertically on brackets or that can have sections that are lower so that people in a wheelchair can reach with them.
Building such features into a new home during initial construction saves time, money and inconvenience when changes are needed or desired down the road.