Australians are living longer and enjoying health and fitness long into their retirement, so isn’t it time we created homes to support and enable this growing demographic? One of our passions here at Bent Architecture is designing for ageing in place. With empathetic design strategies, we can enable people to live independently well into their senior years in a home they love and feel comfortable in. As our population ages, designing homes with ageing in place and accessible design principles in mind will mean homes won’t have to be retrofitted to help with mobility issues, require a lot of maintenance or feel overwhelming for elderly owners. Photography by Tatjana Plitt
Recently we were given the opportunity to design a home with ageing in place at the forefront thanks to two design-loving and passionate clients who were ready to sell up their family home and move closer to Mt Eliza village. Purchasing a smaller block closer to town would allow John and Ann to enjoy the rest of their lives together with a more manageable yard and within just a short walk or drive to the shops. The final piece of their dream would be creating a comfortable, energy-efficient home that would support them for years to come, even as they aged.
Saying goodbye to their large garden and leafy outlook would be a challenge for John and Ann, so the design of their new home is conceived as a living space surrounded by greenery. Large windows opening onto the garden retain that sense of nature and the outdoors and it’s easy to forget the home is in an average suburban street. The living areas run the length of the block and open to the north side and the backyard, bringing huge amounts of light into the home. In Ann’s words, the ‘large lounge room window frames a grassy woodland garden where the setting sun bathes indigenous grasses and trees in iridescence.’ A courtyard in the centre of the home enhances the feeling of being surrounded by nature and is a perfect spot for some of the ferns John and Ann brought from their previous house.