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Take a Tour of Our 'Lifelong' Home

It was clear that our comfortable two-story Victorian home would become less comfortable as we got older — so we built ourselves an age-friendly house

  • Photo courtesy Sharon and Howard Johnson

    Come On In and Take a Look

    After lots of research about how and where to live, we bought a lot in Twin Creeks, a walkable, transit-oriented development in Central Point, a city in Oregon's Rogue Valley. Our custom-built abode is a "lifelong housing certified" home.

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  • Photo courtesy Sharon and Howard Johnson

    One-Story Living

    We worked with W.L. Moore, Inc., a local builder, to create our 2,265-square-foot, single-story house, which features a master bedroom suite, two full baths and a multi-use "great room." Three additional rooms can be used as a bedroom, a home office or den.

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  • Photo courtesy Sharon and Howard Johnson

    The Entrance

    The threshold of our home's no-step entry is less than a half-inch high. That, and the 36" wide doorway, makes the house easily accessible for a wheelchair or a stroller. Wide halls (near left) and an open floor plan allow for easy mobility inside.

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  • Photo courtesy Sharon and Howard Johnson

    The Great Room: View #1

    The main area of our home is divided into activity areas including the kitchen, two dining areas, a conversation corner centered on a fireplace (not shown) and a “library, game, music” niche.

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  • Photo courtesy Sharon and Howard Johnson

    The Great Room: View #2

    In addition to natural light from a solar tube above the cooking area, the kitchen features recessed, accent and task lighting. Windows throughout our house are wide and lower to the floor for increased visibility to the outdoors. This photo shows our dining areas.

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  • Photo courtesy Sharon and Howard Johnson

    The Kitchen

    Our open kitchen features products and design elements that are Americans with Disability Act compliant, including a gas range with controls at the front so we aren't reaching over hot pots. There's a 5-foot turning radius between the island and the range.

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  • Photo courtesy Sharon and Howard Johnson

    Easy-Access Cabinetry

    Kitchen drawers are easier to reach, see into and organize than lower-level cabinets. These drawers are strong enough to hold heavy pots and pans, dishes, platters and more.

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  • Photo courtesy Sharon and Howard Johnson

    Island Life

    A fold-down surface at one end of the kitchen island sits at a useful height for wheelchair users or small children. Hiding the trash cans within the island keeps them in a handy, yet out of the way, spot.

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  • Photo courtesy Sharon and Howard Johnson

    Useful Storage and Utilities

    The kitchen pantry has a wide door and plenty of reachable shelves. The raised, front-loading washer and dryer are easy to access. A motion sensor provides hands-free lighting.

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  • Photo courtesy Sharon and Howard Johnson

    The Master Bedroom

    The bedroom fits a king size bed without limiting mobility. Electrical outlets throughout the home are 22" above the floor for easier access (the standard is 12" to 18"). Light switches are "rocker" style, which are easier to use.

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  • Photo courtesy Sharon and Howard Johnson

    The Shower

    The tiled master bath shower has a no-step entry and is private, even though it has no curtain or door. The shower contains a grab bar and dual showerhead with a hand-held spray. The space is roomy enough for a shower seat if one is needed.

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  • Photo courtesy Sharon and Howard Johnson

    The Bathrooms

    The master bath (far left) has two vanities, one with a removable front panel for wheelchair access if needed. The master closet is reached through an easy-pull 36" pocket door beyond the vanity area. The guest bath (near left) has grab bars near the toilet and tub.

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  • Photo courtesy Sharon and Howard Johnson

    The Garage

    Having two garage doors rather than a single large one provides more room for both vehicles and passengers. Storage cabinets and a wall mount for garden tools keeps clutter to a minimum. The doorway into the house is 36" wide and step-free. 

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  • Photo courtesy Sharon and Howard Johnson

    The Backyard

    Our 650-square-foot covered patio is accessible through three no-step French doors. The patio surface is stained concrete. A small, low-maintenance yard is fully enclosed and includes two 24" x 48" raised beds for vegetable gardening. 

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  • Photo courtesy Sharon and Howard Johnson

    Our Lifelong Home!

    Here we are! We're retired now but in 2013 we became Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists (CAPS) and founded Age-Friendly Innovators, Inc., a nonprofit that works on aging-in-place issues. (Visit us on Facebook.) With smart design, a house can be a home for life. 

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Slideshow published January 2015


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