Designing for wellness means different things to different people. As architects, we believe that the home has a profound impact on the wellness of its occupants. To read more about our philosophy around wellness design, click here. In today’s blog we are going beyond the philosophy and taking a look at some practical ways to incorporate wellness features into a floor plan. To us, designing for wellness means creating hardworking, flexible plans that offer buyers the options they need to create the ideal space to support their healthy lifestyle. When paired with the right systems and interiors, you get a home that works as hard for your wellness as you do.
We are going to look at a 2,352 square foot ranch plan that we designed as a prototype wellness house for a presentation at the 2017 International Builders Show. This particular plan was designed to target the 55+ buyer, but many of its features appeal to homeowners of all ages. It was created with production builders in mind, so affordability and flexibility are key considerations.
We started with a 2,352 SF base plan packed with design features to promote wellness and aging-in-place. A couple highlights include the over-sized walk-in shower with built-in bench in the master bath and a generous kitchen island with multiple counter heights. (To download a pdf discussing all of the features in the base plan, click here).
We then added 2 opportunities for ‘bolt-on’ flex options: one in the front and one in the back of the home. You can see the flex option spaces shown in light gray in the base plan above. We created several options for each flex space, giving buyers the opportunity to mix and match the options that work best for them. Whether it is a back kitchen or a yoga studio, guest rooms for grandkids or a revenue suite, this plan is designed to offer buyers the opportunity to tailor their home to their unique wellness needs and goals.
Front Flex Options
Front Flex Option 1: Exercise Room and Study
The first front flex option takes the original 2nd bedroom and turns it into a dedicated exercise room with its own bath and steam shower or sauna. Regular exercise has so many benefits – including reduced risk of chronic disease, increased energy levels and better sleep – and having a dedicated exercise space in your home is a great way to make it easier and more convenient to exercise. A study or project room and 2nd bedroom suite complete this option.
Front Flex Option 2: Bedrooms 2 and 3 with a Jack-and-Jill Bath
Option 2 provides 2 additional guest bedrooms at the front of the house, allowing the master suite to be extended to include a flex space. The flex space is ideal for a study or separate sleeping room for spouses who sleep apart but still want to share the master suite. The 2 guest rooms provide a great space for visiting grandkids or other family members. This option also adds an extra coat closet and linen closet for additional storage – perfect for longer guest stays.
Front Flex Option 3: Revenue, Caretaker, Multi-Gen or Office suite
Perhaps one of our favorite options, we love the freedom and flexibility of this suite with its own separate entrance. It can be used as a revenue suite for added income, or a caretaker suite if you plan to do a lot of travelling. As a multi-gen suite, it is perfect for aging parents or boomerang children. It can also be used for a live-in nurse, which can delay the need to move to assisted living.
Alternatively, if you office from home or have a practice in which clients come to see you, the separate entrance makes for an ideal home office.
Front Flex Option 4: Grandkids Suite
To create the ultimate grandkids suite, we turned the original 2nd bedroom into a kids room and added 2 bedrooms connected by a jack-and-jill bath. This plan creates a ‘grandkids wing’ at the front of the home, with dedicated play and sleeping areas that can easily be closed off to hide a mess when entertaining or when grandkids aren’t around.
Front Flex Option 5: Second Master Suite and Multi-Gen Option
As more people embrace the advantages of multi-gen living, the demand for homes with multi-gen friendly floor plans is on the rise. This option not only offers a second master suite, but creates what could easily become a multi-gen wing to comfortably house a grown child or sibling with children of their own.
Back Flex Options
Back Flex Option 1: Back Kitchen and Potters Shed/Outdoor Storage
This option is all about promoting healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle. For gardening enthusiasts, the potters shed is a great way to get organized and start seedlings early in the season. In addition to providing fresh, healthy food to eat, gardening has a variety of other health benefits that may surprise you.
Fresh fruits and vegetables take up a surprising amount of room in your refrigerator, and if the harvest is good, can be difficult to finish. The back kitchen provides extra room to spread out when canning, and an extra refrigerator to store your harvest. Not a gardener? Having a back kitchen is also great for anyone who loves to cook or entertain. Imagine finally having enough room to spread out for holiday baking or a place to hide those pesky dirty dishes when entertaining.
Back Flex Option 2: Wellness Wing
This option is packed with “I deserve it features” to promote wellness. Not only do you get a dedicated exercise room for your daily exercise, meditation or yoga practice, but a massage room and bath with a sauna or steam shower. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.” They also add that it may be helpful for anxiety, headaches, stress-related insomnia, and a variety of other conditions.
Back Flex Option 3: Craft Room or Home Office
A spacious craft/project room is the perfect place to pursue hobbies or work on that home business. It provides plenty of storage and is easily tucked out of sight from the rest of the home with a sliding barn door. This option would also make a great home office.
Back Flex Option 4: Hearth Room and Home Office
Extend your living space by adding a hearth room. The open floor plan provides flexibility, but is spacious enough to allow for a dining area and hearth room that are separated through furnishings. A home office with extra storage is conveniently tucked away behind center meet sliding doors.