Architecture

  • 5 Kitchen Updates to Skyrocket Your Home's Value

    45169185_sEveryone knows that updating a home’s kitchen is one of the best (if not the best) way to increase the value of that property. Although, as with most things in life, there are some things that work better than others.

    So, what are some of the things to do in your kitchen that offers the best bang for the buck?

    Great question, and it’s the one we hope to answer with our five high return on investment (ROI) updates.

    1. Pantry

    One of the most common problems in the kitchens of existing homes is the lack of pantry space. Many homes don’t even have a pantry! If you’ve watched a home show or two, you may have noticed that potential buyers clamor over a well thought out and sizeable space for dry goods. This storage space not only adds value; it could end up being one of the primary selling points for your home.

    2. Extra Eating Space

    Not so much in the form of an eat in kitchen. Think of it as bonus space for feeding the kids in the morning with a breakfast nook. Or perhaps a high counter with a couple of stools to continue the conversation with friends after dinner. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a place for large meals, but enough space to feel intimate and not crowded. No one wants to eat in the dining room for lunch, and once you’re done eating; guests usually vacate to other areas.

    3. Lighting, Lighting, Lighting

    The reason kitchens are so important to a home’s value is due to their uses being expanded. Years ago, the cookery was used to prepare food, that’s it. Now, it’s for homework, friends, dinner, lunch, business, you name it. That being said, people like primary living spaces that have a lot of light. If you can go natural, even better. Just make sure there’s enough and it fits the room and creates a warm feel.

    4. Ridiculous Amounts of Storage

    Not just cabinets, although they are a category all their own. The pantry (mentioned earlier) will go a long way, but adding extra space and maybe even utilizing space saving fixtures. Something like a chandelier that also holds pots and pans, or a fashionable magnetic knife holder and spice rack. The extra space will always get used and makes the room super appealing to home shoppers.

    5. Luxury Cabinets

    If there is a most important update, it would be the cabinets. Buyers wonder if there are enough cabinets immediately upon entering every kitchen they see. Not only that, but if the cabinets have updates like soft closing and if they maximize space usage. The sale price of your house will be directly impacted by new cabinets if they look stunning and function well.

    One of the best ways to ensure a look that stands out among the rest is to use invisible cabinet hinges. These hinges are some of the best quality you can find, and will last as long as the cabinets (actually longer if allowed). SOSS has made invisible hinges since 1903 and help some of the highest value properties in the world look even better.

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  • 7 New Products That Are Helping Seniors

    17699363_sThere are many kinds of disabilities, so there are many different kinds of assistance technology that has been created by companies. A number of these companies focus on how they can add value, creating adaptive devices to help improve the lives of their customers.

    We’ve rounded up 7 new products that are truly helping the disabled, from audio books to doorknobs that have no knobs, so let’s take a look at how they can transform your life.

    Audiobooks

    Audio books may not have been created especially for people with disabilities, but their contribution here is huge! If you think about the difference between listening to Audio books and Braille reading tools, you can easily understand why we have to put them on this list.

    Many elderly and visually impaired people have lost the joy that once came with reading books and other materials. Audio books let you experience the stories and information you’ve been missing and that you may not be able to get otherwise.

    Lightweight Transfer Board

    Transfer boards provide a smooth and stable flat surface between level areas. They are very light and small, and can be used by someone who is able to position the board and slide over or can be used by a caregiver to avoid lifting the user.

    Being able to move where we want is something most of us take for granted. That is why this product is invaluable to the individuals that need it.

    Type Aids

    This product enters our list because of the possibilities it gives for people with limited hand skills. From working to using social media, we all know how typing is part of most people’s day-to-day lives, therefore type aids are the perfect tools for helping to accurately press keys and facilitate the user’s job.

    Cane Holder for Walkers/ Wheelchairs

    This is a simple double-clip cane holder. However, do not underestimate its help! It can keep the user’s cane handy whenever they may need it, and they can snap onto the user’s walker or wheelchair.

    Tub Grab Bars

    I know this might not sound like a new product and it isn't. But as technology evolves, you can find different types of grab bars with different attributes, allowing people with disabilities to enjoy daily life without additional assistance.

    Today it is possible to find multi-handle tub bars with compact design, ideal for use at home or while traveling. This aspect is essential because it improves the user’s independence of the caregiver.

    Reaching Aids

    Reaching Aids are just simple tools that help individuals grab things difficult to reach. You can find several models online or in medical supply stores such as reaching aids that hold shavers, razors, sponges, and even help apply ointment to the user’s body.

    UltraLatch Doorknobs

    A doorknob that has no knobs! A perfect way for opening doors without using your hands, twisting your wrist or bending; benefiting anyone with limited hand skills or special needs. The SOSS UltraLatch is an example of a simple but powerful solution, not only in ease of use, but also to help avoid possible accidents.

    To get more great ideas about senior living please download our free senior living design guide.

  • 10 Ways To Put a Secret Room In Your Home

    28968655_sThere are many functions of having a hidden room in your house. From having a place to keep your valuable things to being able to stay focused without any distraction, a secret room is a wonderful solution. Further, secret rooms are becoming popular as safe rooms for protection of your family.

    Secret rooms can only fulfill their purpose if they are well hidden and very discreet. No one can suspect about its existence, or its function will be ruined. The key to obtaining a successfully hidden place is your creativeness. The more you use your imagination and adapt your home, the more options you will have for creating a secret space.

    Below you will find a list of 10 creative ways to design a secret room in your home:

    Wine Cabinets
    A wine cabinet is used for storing and organizing wine bottles, but it can be a very useful way to hide your wine cellar full of your favorite vintages. Install an invisible hinge on your cabinet and you will have your very own secret cellar.

    Bookshelves
    The same thing can be done with a bookshelf inside your home library. You only need to choose one bookshelf to hide a different room with your favorite and rare books. The perfect idea for having a secret room in your home is installing a SOSS Invisible Hinge into your bookshelf and use it as a passageway. Your secret door will be completely inconspicuous with this hinge.

    Towel Cabinets
    Using a Towel Cabinet inside your bathroom is another creative way to hide a room or a sauna for example. If you always dreamed of having a sauna, why not have a private one?

    Stairway Rooms
    If you have kids, a great idea for creating a secret room is to build under a stairway in your home. Building a small, themed playroom for your children is a way to fire their imagination and keep them playing and learning.

    Toy Shelves
    In case you don't have stairs at your house don't worry, you will probably have a toy shelf that you can also use as a passageway to a secret room. Your children will love a small passageway that they can crawl through to a room that's only for them.

    Paintings
    One painting of a reasonable size can also be an original way to hide a secret room. No one will suspect the existence of your private space.

    Mirrors
    Door size mirrors are fairly easy to come by. You can attach the mirror to the wall using SOSS invisible hinges so it can be used as a portal to a secret room that you use to keep your jewelry and valuable objects safe.

    Tall Dressers
    A tall dresser with a false bottom is an unusual and practical way to keep a secret room well hidden for life. Large old-fashioned wardrobes with fake backs or bottoms are also wonderful for this purpose.

    Fireplaces
    A fake fireplace is a great alternative if you want to ensure that no one will ever discover your secret room. Some are built to where the entire mantle moves and other just utilize a fake fireplace insert.

    Rock Walls
    Rock Walls that are well designed can be a successful way to hide a passageway to your secret room. Keep in mind the importance of the Invisible Hinge by SOSS here too. Otherwise, your secret room will be quickly exposed.

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  • 4 Ways To Help Family Members Delay Assisted Living

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    One of the hardest decisions we may face during our lifetime is whether to help our family members remain in their home or to consider the move into an assisted living home. In some cases assisted living may be necessary and unavoidable.

    However, there are a few options that may help delay the move to assisted living and should not be overlooked. Here are 4 simple changes that you can make that may make it possible for someone to stay in their home independently.

    Exercise

    A necessary condition for delaying assisted living is to be healthy. Of course, elderly people need to be aware of their changing limits, but appropriate exercise can be a major factor in keeping them happy and living healthy in their home. Gentle walks might be the most common recommendation here, and it's the perfect activity to enjoy with your family.

    Remove Clutter

    Having fewer things around the house will mean less dust, less cleaning, more space, and a big decrease in the probability of accidents. The key thing to achieve this is to simplify, and removing clutter will help a lot.

    How can you help here?

    Make sure all walk ways are clear and there are no unnecessary items on the floor. Clear off counters to lessen the likelihood of something being knocked off. After this, sort through anything that needs to thrown away or sold. Selling or donating any extra furniture or items can be both a fun and productive way of reducing clutter.

    Adapting Your Home

    Together with removing clutter, changing a few key features in your home can reduce risks and increase confidence in the elderly. Here is a short list of things you might want to consider when retrofitting your home.

    Providing Or Improving Access To Rooms
    By installing a stair lift, widening doorways and installing ramps to avoid using steps you can help your loved one gain access to areas of their own home that may not have been possible before.

    Changing Door Knobs
    The UltraLatch door knob made by SOSS is a very comfortable fully ADA compliant and easy to use door handle. In fact, the UltraLatch allows its user to open doors with only half an inch of movement, benefiting anyone with limited hand movement or special needs.

    Changing Things To Proper Heights
    We all know using adjustable beds or chairs are of great benefit. However you can also adjust the heights of light switches, door handles, and electrical outlets making them more accessible.

    Learning a New Skill

    Studies show that we need to use our brain, to delay losing some of our mental capabilities. There is a wide range of skills that you can learn, from learning a new language to how to use a smartphone.

    Ideally, it should involve some physical movement or change in environment. This can simply be trying a different walking path at new park. Whatever changes you can help your loved one make will help delay assisted living and increase their quality of life.

  • Inviting Confidence Into Your Room Design

    10218140_sWhen choosing your living room furniture design, you will come across a mind-boggling number of options, but unfortunately not all of them can be accessible for physically challenged individuals.

    As members of the family go through aging, infirmity or have specific needs, you might consider some small changes that can bring more confidence to them, or even delay assisted living.

    Mobility problems can cause known issues like injuries, but you also want more than to just to prevent accidents, you want your family and guests to feel safe and eliminate any possible fear of falling.

    Accessibility

    First you have to consider how people will get in and out of the room. A person who is using a wheelchair or is dependent on a cane or a walker will not be able to gain access to the room without a ramp. Whether or not they are in a wheelchair, make sure they can get from one floor of the house to another. You can make this easier with the insertion of handrails as well.

    Furniture

    When looking for furniture, try finding chairs and sofas that are adjustable. Recliners are simple to use and enable disabled people or the elderly to relax in the most comfortable position for their condition. They also come in many designs and can meet the decorative elements of the rest of your home. Many people think that their home decor might be compromised when they purchase this type of furniture. That is not true because most good manufacturers offer them without sacrificing style.

    Design

    A good example of how you can have the best of both worlds is using door knobs like the SOSS UltraLatch. These doorknobs actually have no knobs, allowing you to open doors with only one touch; benefiting anyone with limited hand motion or arthritis. They also are available in many finishes, meeting the style of your door and your room.

    In the end, it all comes down to considering how you can make your room more accessible. You can widen doors for wheelchair access and install things like light switches, door handles, door bells and electric sockets at waist height. These are good examples of small improvements you can make, without giving up design.

    If you are interested in making bigger improvements, you may also consider consulting an occupational therapist. They will assess the patient’s daily living needs and help them achieve the maximum degree of independence by advising on adaptations to your home.

    Download our Senior Living Guide for additional tips, resources and ideas

  • Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Custom Cabinets

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    You may be considering a remodel for your kitchen. Some kitchens are a bit older and may need updating to better suit your needs. Tastes also change and you might want something different.

    Although you would be best off considering a professional to remodel your house, you’ll probably want to give input on everything. Cabinetry is one of the most important elements of a kitchen, so you’ll want to design just the right type of custom cabinets. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when designing custom cabinets.

    Going Overboard

    In the midst of the excitement remodeling brings; knowing when to stop is a challenge. You might want to have a lot of cabinets to fill with all your “stuff”.

    But filling the walls of your kitchen with cabinets, no matter how beautifully custom-made they are, can make the design seem suffocating. There’s a beauty in leaving some open space.

    Good custom cabinet design is all about balancing function, storage, and aesthetics.

    Poor Color Choices

    Cabinets have to mesh well with the overall color of your kitchen – the floor, counters, and any appliances (stainless or otherwise) you might have.

    It’s often a tough call between having what you want versus knowing what color cabinets will match well with everything else. Choose the best color possible but something you’ll be happy with.

    Not Bringing Cabinets Up to the Ceiling

    This is surprisingly a common mistake. Many people don’t bring up their cabinets all the way to the ceiling. It could be because they can’t reach the cabinets that are too high.

    But having cabinets that fall short of the ceiling can collect dust you’ll most certainly forget to wipe off. It’s also tempting to put a bunch of stuff on top of them, contributing to clutter down the line.

    Skimping on Door Hardware

    It’s true that kitchen remodeling can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but that’s no excuse to skimp on quality. Invest in quality cabinets that are good-looking and strong.

    Consider your overall design and pay attention to small details like the cabinet hinges. If you’re going for the more contemporary look, you’ll want to look into invisible hinges. Hidden cabinet hinges creates a clean modern look to your cabinets.

    Remodeling a kitchen, when done right, will generally raise property values and is often one of the remodeling projects that you get your money back when selling the home. It will certainly increase your personal satisfaction since your kitchen is probably where your family spends the most time together.

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  • 3 Keys to Designing a Luxury Home that Sells Fast

    2669854_sWhen searching for a luxury home, owners aren’t only looking for a good investment, they are looking for a feeling, an experience, and a sensation of indulgence. Affluent homeowners are accustomed to certain features such as pools, game rooms, wine cellars, and hi-tech home systems. What the discerning buyer is looking for these days are designs and items that make the entire home feel amazingly unique.

    Here are three key features to help a luxury home sell fast.

    A Lavish Spa Bathroom

    Affluent buyers always want the best and nowhere is this more evident than in an opulent spa bathroom. Towel warmers, heated floors, deep tubs, fireplaces and huge walk-in showers fitted with multiple shower heads are just a few amenities of a high end bathroom. A spa bathroom is a must-have item on the “I want” list of affluent home buyers.

    Outdoor Living Spaces

    Backyards are now a great place for living as well as a great place to barbecue. Having a beautiful outdoor area that is always available for family and guests is a huge selling point for many luxury home buyers. Outdoor living rooms and kitchens have become the new summer getaways for those that can afford them.

    Televisions and video games have found their way outside as well as fireplaces. These superb outdoor kitchens are fitted with large gas grills, ovens, and stainless steel surfaces for preparing food and stone patio tables for outdoor dining.

    Seamless Clean Lines

    No matter where you are in the home, the view should always be stunning. Using clean and simple lines in the design of each room can guarantee beauty, grace and a flawless sense of style that can’t be erased. Clean door lines are a unique design feature in these rooms, and they certainly add a touch of elegance.

    The clean door lines are created by using invisible hinges, providing a truly seamless look between the door edges and the adjoining walls. Architects that design these luxury homes use SOSS Invisible Hinges to achieve the ultimate modern look. These smooth lines can be designed into every room of the house, including carrying the theme beyond the house to pool houses and other out buildings.

    Sometimes luxury homes may only be made luxurious by the items within them, but because these items can be removed, the home may only be as tasteful as the person occupying it. By including luxury in the design of the home itself, the added sense of affluence not only enhances its ability to sell quickly, but it also provides a constant source of pleasure and beauty in everyday living.

    Check out other high design ideas in our free invisible hinge design guide.

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  • Secret Rooms are Wildly Popular

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    How to Make a Secret Room

    Secret rooms are becoming more and more popular these days, and could even be considered a trend. Whether a new home is being designed, or an old one is being remodeled, secret rooms are now often included in design plans. The intended uses of these secret places are as varied as their location.

    A True Multi-Purpose Room

    Some secret rooms are not only hidden but reinforced for protection; these serve as panic rooms. Entire families can hide in these rooms if they are threatened by an intruder. Some secret rooms are small areas concealed under a staircase, often made as a child’s hideaway. Other secret rooms serve as getaway for adults.

    No matter what the purpose of a secret room, the main aim is to make sure the secret room remains well, secret. You will need to make sure to carefully disguise the entrance.

    Keeping Your Secret

    The easiest way to do this is to use invisible hinges in a door that is made to look like part of the paneling, or some other type of wall section. Because the hinge is invisible, the faux paneling fits seamlessly into the adjacent wall without betraying the existence of a door. The Invisible Hinge by SOSS is a wonderful option that provides quality and durability.

    Because these invisible hinges are extremely strong, they can be used to support another type of structure to hide the entrance to a secret room—a bookcase. A bookcase hinged along one side with several invisible hinges is an inventive way of disguising an entrance to a secret area. The invisible hinges hide the bookcase/wall seam as well as it hides the seam that is formed between a door and a wall.

    Choices, Choices

    Another option for concealing a secret room is a sliding wall or door. The sliding wall or door is supported by guides that can either go into the adjoining wall on either side or move in front or back of the wall along the same type of guides. This type of installation is much more time-intensive in addition to being much more difficult to install than the previous two choices.

    Also, if the secret room serves as a panic room, a reinforced sliding door is more difficult to conceal, due to the increase in bulk from being reinforced.

    Safe Haven or Man Cave

    The size of the secret room should be dependent upon its intended use. A panic room should be fairly large considering that it may have to provide shelter for more than one person for a possible extended length of time.

    A secret room that serves as a getaway for adults may be large as well, depending on how the person wants to get away. A writer might want to place a desk inside, and a dreamer might want a day couch for napping. Or maybe you need a true man cave, a place of no interruptions.

    Secret rooms and their designs are as unique as the people who want to build them. The one thing they have in common is that their entrance and hopefully their existence will only remain known to a few.

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  • 5 Items Why Seniors Avoid Your Retirement Community

    13293877_sCreating a vital and engaging world within a retirement community is challenging. Baby-boomers entering these communities expect to maintain a high quality of life as they age. Here are five key reasons potential residents won’t join your retirement community.

    No Sense of Connection

    Retirees come in many ages, levels of mobility and ability, but one thing they all need is a sense of community. People want to live in a place where they can connect with others and experience friendship. A lack of communal dining, restrictive visitation hours, and lack of accessibility to the facility can all contribute to a feeling of isolation.

    Every Day Inconveniences

    A lack of attention to detail can look like a lack of concern for a potential resident. Comfort and convenience in every aspect of life should be evident in the design of the resident’s rooms.

    For instance, aging hands sometimes struggle with the simplest tasks, such as opening a door. Installing easy-to-use ADA complaint door handles like the SOSS UltraLatch shows care for those with mobility challenges.

    Lack of Activities

    A good retirement community will feature a large variety of internal activities, such as games and social events. Activities and interacting with others keep people engaged and helps keep them happy. A lack of these is a sign that healthy mental aging is not a priority in a retirement community.

    Not having a gym is another red flag. Because maintaining mobility is such a critical factor in healthy aging, the lack of gym facilities can turn away potential residents.

    Hidden Costs

    Most retirees are living on a fixed budget. With cost being a concern, not revealing all the costs and fees of living in your retirement community can reflect badly on its reputation.

    Do not cover up the daily fees and let the residents discover the additional costs on their monthly bills. Hidden costs only help create mistrust between management and the residents.

    Inadequate Support and Assistance

    Although residents may not require extra support and assistance when they first move into a retirement community, many prefer to have access to these benefits in case they need them as they grow older. Lack of services such as shuttles to doctor appointments or enhanced emergency responses for sicknesses and accidents can make residents question an extended stay in your community.

    Today’s retirees are a new type of senior citizen. Many are smart, savvy, and discerning, wanting the best and the most their money can buy. They want a good life and an enjoyable one. Paying attention to what they need and providing for those needs before they ask is the secret to a successful retirement community.

  • Getting Your Medical Practice Ready for Seniors

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    The increased effectiveness of modern health care and the large population of the baby-boomer generation have combined to create new challenges for today’s physicians. Doctors who deal with this rapidly growing patient base are finding that their medical practices need to be adjusted and adapted to provide the best possible service and medical care.

    However, identifying exactly what needs to be changed and improved can be challenging. Here are a few suggestions for getting a medical practice ready for the new generation of senior citizens.

    Caring and Considerate Staff

    The kindness and caring attitude of office workers, nurses, and other medical personnel is extremely important when dealing with people who are aging. It can be difficult to remain patient and considerate while handling the limitations and issues of older people who are ill or may be suffering from dementia. Not only are the patients experiencing the effects of illness, but they are also feeling the effects of aging, which can be very upsetting and disorienting.

    Dealing with these personality issues on a daily basis can be demanding. Make sure your office and support staff have the right type of personality traits and demeanor for your aging patients.

    Enhance Your Environment

    Take a good look at the physical aspects of your office and make sure it can be adapted or remodeled to handle the senior clientele. All approaches will need to be wheelchair-accessible which requires ramps with a low degree of slant as well as textured surfaces to allow for better traction. Elevator panels may need to be lowered for those in wheelchairs, and they may need to be modified with larger print and buttons for patients who have eye problems.

    Doors may need to be adapted, making them easier to open. People with arthritis or patients who have recently undergone hand, arm or wrist surgery may not be able to use a traditional door handle. Installing an ADA compliant door handle, like the SOSS Ultralatch, will allow patients with limited grasping ability or special needs to open any door.

    Changes in Office Routine

    Office routines may also be affected by your aging patients. Depending on your specialty or the fact that the majority of your patients are elderly, existing systems and processes may need to be updated or completely changed.

    Scheduling office visits is one such aspect. Due to difficulties in comprehension and delays in communication, some older patients require longer office visits than younger patients. Because a patient may require more consultation time than the next, scheduling a longer appointment for each patient regardless of their medical condition may be necessary to ensure that waiting room times do not become excessive.

    Adapting your practice for senior citizens is not a monumental task but it is one that demands careful attention to several aspects of aging. Small changes made with great consideration can make a big difference in how your aging patients experience your care.

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