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A Home Remodeling Before and After Slideshow

Small and large changes make a Florida house suitable for "aging in place"

  • Photo by Jeff Young Photography

    Getting Started

    Located in a Tampa-area retirement community, the 1976 home was purchased for $63,650 in 2014 by a Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES). His plan: Spend no more than $50,000 to remodel the house and sell it as a move-in-ready, age-friendly home.

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  • Photo by Jeff Young Photography

    The Floor Plan

    At 1,150 square feet, the two-bedroom, two-bath, one-story house is neither too small nor too large for a couple or individual. But the home's fixtures were dated, and its rooms and passageways were cramped or disconnected.

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  • Photo by Jeff Young Photography

    The Kitchen

    The galley-style kitchen (as seen from a garage doorway, far left) was confining and isolating. The remodel (shown looking toward the doorway) opened the space by removing a wall and adding counter space for working or sitting.

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  • Photo by Jeff Young Photography

    Appliances and Cabinets

    While a countertop microwave would have been a safer and more-accessible option (no lifting of heavy, hot items), the new kitchen features easy-to-use drawers, D-style cabinet handles and a side-by-side refrigerator.

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  • Photo by Jeff Young Photography

    An Open Kitchen

    Before the remodel, the kitchen was a lonely place. Now it opens onto a space that can be used as a dining area and/or den. While there's a new, easier access to the garage and laundry room, both can be hidden behind closed doors.

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  • Photo by Jeff Young Photography

    And More Open Space!

    A wide corridor connects the front door and living room area in the front of the house to the kitchen area in the back. There's room enough for both furniture and the movements of people on foot or in a wheelchair.

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  • Photo by Jeff Young Photography

    Bathroom Vanity

    A cabinet-style sink vanity makes for a tight fit, especially when a swing-in door further reduces the room's floor space. A pedestal sink and sliding pocket door open up the area. A small closet (not shown) provides needed storage.

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  • Photo by Jeff Young Photography

    Have a Seat

    Another benefit of a pedestal sink: There's leg room for a person who is using a stool, walker or wheelchair. The lever-style faucet handles are user-friendly since they can be pushed and pulled rather than gripped for turning on and off.

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  • Photo by Jeff Young Photography

    The Shower Stall

    Although a no-step shower is the age-friendliest solution, the renovated space (modeled by me, the occupational therapist who worked on the house) provides a smooth threshold and, very importantly, a nearby grab bar.

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  • Photo by Jeff Young Photography

    The Bathtub

    A deep walk-in tub had been installed by a prior owner. In the remodel a sturdy grab bar replaces a towel bar that would not provide a bather with safe support. The wood and vinyl flooring that was prone to warping was replaced with a matte-finish tile.

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  • Photo by Jeff Young Photography

    The Enclosed Patio

    Every house should have at least one no-step entrance. This home has several, including in its aesthetically improved indoor-outdoor space. In this area and throughout the house doorknobs were replaced with easier-to-use lever-style handles.

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  • Photo by Jeff Young Photography

    The Laundry Room

    Previously, the laundry room was only accessible via the garage. By adding a door into the main house and using the same floor tile, this laundry and storage area becomes part of the home instead of an annex to it.

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  • Photo by Jeff Young Photography

    No-Step Entrances

    Doorway floor thresholds are tripping hazards, even when they're only an inch or so high. A safer option — for foot traffic as well as for wheelchairs, walkers and baby strollers — is to use a flat threshold with a height of 1/2-inch or less.

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  • Photo by Jeff Young Photography

    Safety Solutions

    Swing-back hinges open a door (1) all the way. A flat threshold (2) offers a no-step entrance into the house. A toilet grab bar (3) provides support when needed. Shower grab bars and a lever-style faucet (4) enhance safety and ease-of-use.

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  • Photo by Jeff Young Photography

    The Front Door

    The original door (far left) did include a peephole and side panel for checking who's outside. However, the new doorway's etched glass provides better privacy, visability and light. A lever-style handle replaced the harder-to-grip doorknob.

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  • Photo by Jeff Young Photography

    The New Facade

    Since the house already had an accessibility-friendly no-step, covered stoop, the exterior work focused on curb appeal by tidying the landscaping and replacing the original sky blue facade with a subtler color palette.

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  • Photo by Jeff Young Photography

    Before and After

    Although the house is in a so-called retirement community, much of its interior was not suitable for safely aging-in-place. Learn more about age-friendly design by reading the AARP HomeFit Guide and a blog diary about this project.

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Published October 2015