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    Category: Kitchen remodels


    Aging in Place With the Help of A-1 Builders and Adaptations Design – whatcomtalk.com - February 5, 2020 by admin

    Whetherthinking of yourself or an aging family member, what will day-to-day life belike 10, 20 years from now?

    WillUncle Petes achy knee become a real mobility issue that curtails his abilityto climb the stairs in his home? Do you worry about your elderly mother, wholives alone, climbing in and out of the bathtub? When you are older, do youstill want to live in the home you built?

    Theseare some of the many considerations that may go into a decision around agingin placethe concept of equipping homes to allow their inhabitants tosuccessfully manage independently as they age.

    Agingin place encompasses everything from lighting to location, and A-1 Builders and AdaptationsDesign Studio has knowledgeable designers helping homeowners make(and implement) those kinds of choices.

    DesignManager Maggie Bates and Dave Kangas, a certified aging in place specialist,are part of A-1 Builders design arm, Adaptations Design Studio. They work with homeowners onaging-in-place improvements, which, they say, can be simple, inexpensive fixesall the way up to extensive remodels or new construction with aging-in-placeconcepts at the forefront of the design.

    Itsnot exorbitantly cost prohibitive to make simple changes that affect the wayyour space works, says Kangas.

    Accordingto Bates, one of the easiest and least-expensive improvements that can be madeis in improved lighting.

    Outsidethe home, that means no dark walkways or approaches to the house. Inside, thinktask lighting in the kitchen, garage, laundry or other workspaces, as wellample light for your favorite reading spot and in the bathroomincluding in theshower.

    Alot of people dont realize this, but you really should have a light in yourshower, Bates says.

    Bathroomsare also an excellent place to add grab barsa simple safety feature that cango a long way toward continued independent living.

    Similarly,graspable handrails for both interior and exterior stairs are an inexpensiveimprovement that greatly aid in mobility and confidence. People at any age mayhave trouble with stairs for any number of reasons, Bates says, includingprogressive lenses in glasses that make it more difficult to gauge where thestep is. Adding a railing is a simple, relatively inexpensive addition thatadds safety and peace of mind.

    Anotherplace to consider adding an exterior handrail is along an inclined driveway,Kangas notes. It can make taking the garbage out or getting to the mailboxeasier and safer in slick conditions.

    Makingfunctional changes to the kitchenone of the most utilitarian rooms in thehousecan be a game changer, and not just for those who are aging, Bates andKangas stress.

    Forinstance, putting a microwave at counter height instead of above the stove issafer in the long run for everybody.

    Ifyouve got children, or anyone in a wheelchair in the houseor youve just gotsomeone with limited mobilityyou dont want that microwave up at head height,Bates says. An under-cabinet microwave is another option.

    Add-insto the cabinetry that make things easier to reach is another place to makechanges. Anyone who has had to reach into the depths of a cupboard canappreciate these improvements. People are familiar with cabinets that roll out,Bates says, but there are also models where the shelving can be pulled downinto reach.

    Allthe kitchen gadgetry you see in a very well-designed, high-end house, oftenits also very good for universal design to make that kitchen accessible to alot of people, she says.

    And many of these changes, adds Kangas, arent just about aging in place, but also part of the larger concept called universal design. A home that applies universal design concepts works for everyone.

    Tome, it just makes sense to make your home as accessible to as many people aspossible, says Kangas.

    Universaldesign elements can become a selling point for your home in the future, areoptimal when an elderly friend or relative is visiting, or may even be a godsendwhen something like an unexpected injury or illness makes those accommodationsnecessary.

    Forhomeowners already planning a remodel, incorporating universal designprinciples and specific aging-in-place improvements into the home, such as astair lift or zero-threshold shower, are fairly simple to incorporate into theredesign.

    Bates sees many couples who come to Adaptations because theyre beginning to think about aging in place. With the luxury of time, homeowners can plan and budget for the major changes.

    However,sometimes peoples situations change quickly, and a ramp or an accessiblebathing area are needed right away. A-1 Builders and Adaptations Design Studiocan help in those situations, as well, working with the scope and budget thatmeets the needs of homeowners.

    Lookingahead might also mean a change of location.

    Ifyoure going to build a housesay its your last houseconsider where itslocated in relationship to shopping, the senior center, or publictransportation if youre not able to drive eventually, says Bates. Locationis so very important to consider.

    Itmight also look like adding an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or suite withinyour home for a caregiver, for use now or in the future. Given a long enoughlead time, these considerations can be met with thoughtful solutions.

    Theteam at Adaptations Design Studio can also help homeowners anticipate needsthey may not have even thought about.

    Thats part of our job: to think of the things our clients havent considered, to forecast future needs for individual families, says Kangas. Planning for the future with our clients is a meaningful and fun part of our work.

    Sponsored

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    Aging in Place With the Help of A-1 Builders and Adaptations Design - whatcomtalk.com

    Report: Scope of kitchen renovations shrinks even as spending increases – theday.com - January 24, 2020 by admin

    The median spending on kitchen upgrades increased among homeowners who recently began or completed this work, according to the home design site Houzz. At the same time, homeowners were reducing the scope of their work.

    In its 2020 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study, analysts found that the national median cost for a major kitchen remodel completed in mid-2019 was $35,000, a 17 percent increase over comparable remodels completed in mid-2018. Median spending on minor remodels held steady at $8,000.

    "It is remarkable to see median spend on kitchen remodels grow by double digits for the third year in a row," said Nino Sitchinava, principal economist at Houzz. "Combined with a two-year decline in the scope of kitchen remodels, spend increases confirm our findings of significant price inflation in the home remodeling industry due to changes in international trade policy. Homeowners are dealing with increasing product prices by substituting materials, as indicated by slower growth in the use of engineered quartz and a decline in the popularity of engineered flooring materials, highly impacted by tariffs on imported materials from China."

    The report found some indication that homeowners were scaling back the extent of the work they were doing. While 89 percent of respondents upgraded their countertops, this was down from 94 percent two years earlier. Similarly, the share of respondents upgrading their sinks fell from 90 percent two years ago to 83 percent. Compared to the previous year, homeowners were also significantly less likely to upgrade their backsplash, wall finish, windows, or exterior doors.

    Homeowners were also more likely to work within the space of their existing kitchen. Forty-six percent modified the layout of their kitchen, down from 50 percent in the previous year. Thirty-five percent increased the size of the room, down from 42 percent in the previous year.

    The reduced scope of kitchen renovations also meant fewer homeowners were pursuing an open floor plan. Forty-six percent said their upgraded kitchen was more open to the home's interior, down 7 percentage points from the previous year. However, 64 percent of those who opened their kitchen to the interior said they did so by eliminating wall separation, a year-over-year increase of 6 percentage points.

    Nearly every renovation94 percentincluded an upgrade to the cabinets. Sixty-eight percent replaced them entirely, while 27 percent opted for a partial upgrade. These options included refinishing cabinet exteriors (64 percent), replacing some cabinets (25 percent), or replacing the doors only (18 percent).

    Islands were also a popular choice, with 61 percent renovating this feature. One in three homeowners added a new island, while 22 percent upgraded an existing one. The islands were typically a large focal feature in the room, with 32 percent measuring more than seven feet long. Ninety-eight percent said the island had storage capacity, with 79 percent saying it incorporated cabinets and 70 percent saying it included drawers.

    Fifty-eight percent said they used their island as a dining area after the renovation. Forty-nine percent said it was used for entertaining, while 45 percent said they frequently socialized at this feature.

    Engineered quartz continued to gain popularity as a countertop choice. Fifty-one percent said they used this material, up from 48 percent in the 2019 survey and 43 percent in 2018. Twenty-nine percent opted to use granite, down from 30 percent in the previous year and 34 percent in 2018.

    Full-wall backsplashes were becoming a more popular choice. Sixty-three percent had the backsplash extend up to the cabinets or range hood, while 11 percent extended it up to the ceiling. Ceramic or porcelain tile continued to be the most popular choice for backsplash material, with 57 percent using it; the next most popular choice, marble, appeared in just 10 percent of renovations.

    There was a steady increase in the use of vinyl flooring, which appeared in 14 percent of renovations up from 12 percent in 2019 and 10 percent in 2018. Hardwood and ceramic were the most common flooring choices at 29 percent and 23 percent, respectively.

    More than half of homeowners55 percentreplaced all their kitchen appliances as part of their upgrade, while 31 percent replaced only some of them. The dishwasher, refrigerator, and microwave were the most commonly updated appliances.

    Interest in high-tech options declined slightly. Twenty-five percent of updated appliances included high-tech features, down from 30 percent in the previous year; wireless controls were the most popular high-tech appliance option, followed by color touch screen displays and built-in apps. Fifty-one percent of faucets used high-tech features, down from 57 percent in 2019; the most popular options included water efficiency, no-fingerprint coatings, and touch-free activation.

    Nearly every respondent94 percentsaid they used the kitchen for cooking after the upgrade, while 70 percent said they dined there and 60 percent said they used the room for baking. One in three homeowners said they felt they were living a healthier lifestyle after the renovation.

    The 2020 U.S. Houzz Kitchen Trends Study was based on survey respondents from nearly 2,600 Houzz users between June 19 and July 2. These homeowners were planning a kitchen renovation, in the midst of one, or had recently completed one.

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    Report: Scope of kitchen renovations shrinks even as spending increases - theday.com

    Instead of downsizing, Twin Cities baby boomers are remodeling their homes to stay longer – Minneapolis Star Tribune - January 24, 2020 by admin

    After more than 30 years in their Plymouth home, John and Arlys Edson were thinking about a change.

    They were tired of their closed-off, dated kitchen, especially as John, an amateur chef, looks forward to spending time cooking after he joins his wife in retirement. They wondered if it was time to downsize to a smaller home with the open layout they desired.

    They began looking at a variety of townhouses. But nothing they visited not even places that were newly built felt right.

    "We love our neighborhood. We have great neighbors, walking paths right out our door. We have a park, we back up to a lake. We were kind of spoiled," said Arlys, a retired teacher and corporate trainer. "We just never could duplicate our location."

    The Edsons, who are in their 60s, decided to stay put in their four-bedroom home, which was built in 1986 and remodel the kitchen instead.

    "Really, when we looked at the cost difference between doing this in our existing home, which has the wonderful location, versus buying a new townhome somewhere else in more of a high-density neighborhood, we decided we wanted to do the remodeling," Arlys said. "From a financial perspective, we feel that this was a really good decision for us."

    And now that the project is complete, they couldn't be happier. "We just walk around, and we're like, 'Oh, my gosh, how could this be? We should have done this 20 years ago,'" she said.

    The Edsons' remodel, which involved taking out walls and opening up their kitchen to their living room, was finished last month and downsizing is off the table, for now.

    A growing number of Americans are making similar decisions as they approach retirement. Many couples once aspired to first own a home, then have kids and move to a larger one, only to later downsize into a more modest house and put any potential earnings left from the sale of the bigger home into their retirement savings. But baby boomers today are working until later in life, and often are welcoming their adult children back to the family home for extended periods. A shortage of less-expensive, smaller homes across the country, including in the Twin Cities area, also makes downsizing less appealing.

    Instead, many empty nesters are looking to remodel their current homes, according to a national 2019 Chase Bank survey of more than 700 baby-boomer homeowners. More than half of the respondents said they did not ever plan to move from their family home, while 88% said they plan to renovate.

    Downsizing delayed

    Downsizing is still happening, but later, studies suggest. An analysis of census data by online real estate company Trulia found that in 2016, the age where it became more common for senior households to downsize into a multifamily home vs. moving to a single-family home was 80. In 2005, that tipping point was happening by age 75, according to the analysis.

    For the Edsons, who have an adult daughter and enjoy hosting relatives, their current home's biggest draw was its location, and the fact that it offers extra space to be able to welcome family. The nearby walking path also allows for easy, accessible exercise.

    "We're very active and doing lots of things. I just don't want to end up with a sedentary lifestyle," Edson said. "You know, 60 is the new 40."

    Mary Maney, an interior designer and certified kitchen designer with Crystal Kitchen + Bath, said that she works with many baby-boomer homeowners who have decided to stay put and make improvements.

    "The majority of our clients are 60 and older, and we do basically 99% remodels," said Maney, who designed the Edsons' kitchen project.

    A typical client is someone whose kids have been gone for quite a while, who has looked around at moving options and decided to stay. "Basically they come back to, 'I like my neighborhood, I like my house. I don't want to take on homeowners association fees. I'll just stay where I'm at, and live here for as long as I can,'" she said.

    For her company, the average kitchen remodel starts at $75,000, including cabinets, countertops, lighting, plumbing, "the whole gamut," Maney said.

    "Lighting is important," she said. "It's funny how poor lighting is in most homes that we remodel. You've got a single fixture and one over the sink, and that's it. As you age, you definitely need more of that."

    Most of her clients aren't making changes with an eye to selling, but are thinking about their own future in the home, she said. "I would say, easily 75% or higher are doing it just for themselves."

    'We love where we are'

    After their youngest left for college, Sue and Mark Read considered downsizing from the Deephaven home they had built 27 years ago.

    Sue had an idea of what the next stage of life might look like, and at first, it didn't necessarily involve remodeling her current kitchen.

    "I think you kind of romanticize changes at this point in our life, where you're close to retirement, and you think, 'Oh, wouldn't it be great to live in a neat little house down by the lake, and we can walk to get coffee,'" she said. "We thought, 'Let's move into Excelsior. Let's move downtown. It will be great.'"

    But as they considered a move and checked prices, they worried about bringing mortgage debt from a new house into retirement. They realized that they actually loved their current location, on 1 acre of land, yet near the city, in a neighborhood they enjoy.

    "We love where we are. It's a great neighborhood. You know, we've got a mixture. We have old people, and middle-aged people, and we've got a neighborhood baby now. We're happy about that," Sue said.

    Sue, who moved around a lot as a child, also realized that she wasn't ready to uproot from the place where so many family memories had been made.

    "My parents moved for one of the last times when I was in college. I hated the fact that I never had a place to come home to. And I didn't want to do that to my kids," she said. "It was important to me that we didn't pull up their home, even while they're still in college. They don't live at home, but they don't own their own homes."

    The Reads decided to stay, but make a few changes. Their plan started with simply changing the knobs on their cabinets but in the end they hired Maney to remodel the entire kitchen, replacing flooring, cabinets, countertops and appliances.

    "We made the decision that we would put money now into doing the things to make our home more aesthetically pleasing for us," Read said. "Everybody asked us, 'Are you doing this for resale or for yourselves?' Well, for ourselves."

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    Instead of downsizing, Twin Cities baby boomers are remodeling their homes to stay longer - Minneapolis Star Tribune

    Home of the Week: 13221 Hidden Valley Drive – The Homer Horizon - January 24, 2020 by admin

    Located on one of the most picturesque wooded settings in Hidden Valley Estates.

    What: Gorgeous, custom-built home

    Where: 13221 Hidden Valley Drive, Homer Glen

    Amenities: This well-maintained home boasts four spacious bedrooms, a large main floor office/optional fifth bedroom and new roof (September 2018). There is granite, an island and stainless steel appliances in the spacious kitchen. Also, there are hardwood floors, a beautiful family room with custom fireplace (wood burning and gas starter), a lovely dining room with wainscoting, separate living room, upgraded master bath with separate shower and dual sinks and a large deck looking out to 100-year-old oak trees. Full, finished lookout basement with rec room, gym area and work area. Two hot water heaters (40 and 50 gallon), back-up sump pump. Quality built home by Riordan & Murphy, who also completed the bathroom and kitchen remodels. Three floors of living space. Conveniently located just minutes to schools, Interstate 355, Interstate 80, commuter train and more.

    Listing Price:$475,000

    Listing Agents:To view this property or for additional information, please contact Judy Glockler, the Glockler Group, at (708)-529-5839, judy@cbexchange.com, GlocklerGroup.com

    Agent Brokerage:Coldwell Banker Residential

    Originally posted here:
    Home of the Week: 13221 Hidden Valley Drive - The Homer Horizon

    How Have Home Design Trends Changed in Just One Year? – Professional Builder - January 24, 2020 by admin

    Do you feel like homebuying preferenceschange like the weather? Youre not alone. Just askNino Sitchinava, an expert from Houzz. In less than a year from when she gave an in-depth, data-driven presentation at John Burns' 2019 Housing Design Summit, her team has already seen major changes in what people want to see in a home. With access to social media, homeowners are able to grab inspiration at the touch of a button, changing the speed at which trends come and go. One of the popularhome styles of recent years, the farmhouse, is on the decline. Modern contemporary is hot, and bold accent colors are making an appearance in what used to be stark white kitchens. But there is one trend Sitchinava says is going to last: Homeowners are spending big on remodels.

    Builders can finally rely on data as well as opinion to make multi-million dollar design decisions, resulting in improved profitability.

    At last years Housing Design Summit, the head of architecture at one of the largest builders in the country shared that consumer design preferences were changing more quickly than ever, attributing most of the reason to the Internet, and specifically Houzz and Pinterest. This was causing consternation for his salespeople, who were having to respond to customer requests for more up-to-date designs and materials.

    Also at the Design Summit, Nino Sitchinava from Houzz laid out the most data-rich presentation of design trends I have ever seen. In this podcast episode, Nino shares an update on those trends, with one of the hot trends she mentioned last March already on the decline!

    As a gift to you, here is a link to her presentation last March. Be sure to attend this year, where her teammate Liza Hausman will keynote.

    Here are a few of Ninos insights from the podcast:

    Read More and Listen to the Podcast

    See more here:
    How Have Home Design Trends Changed in Just One Year? - Professional Builder

    BIGGBY COFFEE Partners With The Novi Home Show – Franchising.com - January 24, 2020 by admin

    By: BIGGBY COFFEE | 0Shares 17Reads

    January 23, 2020 // Franchising.com // East Lansing, MI - Southeast BIGGBY COFFEE locations are excited to partner with the Novi Home Show for their 2020 show at Suburban Collection Showplace Friday, January 24Sunday, January 26.

    With the snow falling and temperatures dropping, its the perfect time to think about cozying up your home! At the 2020 Novi Home Show, visitors will get the opportunity to experience the latest kitchen, bath, window, door, flooring, and cabinetry designs; attend design seminars; connect with Michigan crafters and businesses; and snag some good deals from ABC Warehouse, Big Georges, and Witbeck Home Appliance Mart. While strolling through the show, sip on a free hot BIGGBY coffee while you dream up your dream home.

    All Southeast Michigan BIGGBY COFFEE locations have coupon discounts for the Home Show and are even giving away free tickets to the Home Show on their Facebook page at Southeast Michigan BIGGBY.

    Not only will there be hundreds of exhibitors ready to talk siding, landscape, kitchen and bath remodels, waterproofing, and more, this year, Laurie Smith from TLCs Trading Spaces will be there giving insider design tips and tricks and talking the most popular trends today.

    This is a longstanding popular event that many of our customers attend, Karissa Canfield, owner of BIGGBY COFFEE New Hudson said. We love an opportunity to get out in the community and are excited to meet our customers at the Novi Home Show.

    For a $2 off coupon and a chance to win free entry to the Novi Home Show, stop by any Southeast Michigan BIGGBY COFFEE location and ask your barista how you can get involved!

    BIGGBY COFFEE, East Lansing, Mich.-based, was started with a single store on March 15, 1995. One year later, and on the cusp of opening a second location, Bob Fish and Michael McFall, on a handshake and $4,000, decided to franchise the concept. BIGGBY COFFEEs cultural values of Make Friends, Have Fun, B Yourself, and Share Great Coffee help coffee-lovers and the coffee-curious alike benefit from a less pretentious and fun approach to the standard gourmet cafe paradigm. Besides connoisseur-worthy drinks with pronounceable names like Teddy Bear and Caramel Marvel, BIGGBY baristas provide a unique experience focused on brightening their customers day and supporting them in building a life they love. The Big B on the orange background caught on, and today BIGGBY COFFEE has more than 230 cafes across many states including Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Kentucky, and Florida. In 2018, BIGGBY launched an Area Representative Program and currently has 8 Area Representatives in 6 states.

    Nicholle Robertson517-294-3487press@biggby.com

    SOURCE BIGGBY COFFE

    ###

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    BIGGBY COFFEE Partners With The Novi Home Show - Franchising.com

    Dacor Delivers a Legendary Experience at KBIS 2020 Debuting Three New Style Collections and Personalized Customization Tools for the Kitchen -… - January 24, 2020 by admin

    LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dacor, the leading American luxury home appliance brand, today announced the debut of new appliance and personalization offerings at the 2020 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in Las Vegas, Nevada from January 21-23 2020. Showcasing the brands commitment to high-quality craftsmanship, performance and innovation, the interactive booth focuses on transforming culinary experiences from memorable to legendary. This event marks a significant evolution in the brand portfolio through the introduction of three distinct product styles: Contemporary, Professional and debuting at KBIS, Dacors new Transitional style, to more directly cater to consumers individual cooking & cooling needs and the diverse design styles within the kitchen design marketplace.

    The exhibition space (booth C5907), highlights the versatility of Dacors unique suite of full kitchen appliance offerings, while encouraging consumers to envision how each product style can come to life in their home. Three kitchen vignettes highlighting the product styles: Contemporary, Professional, and Transitional are prominently featured, along with a vibrant display of the unique color match customization program, DacorMatch, which continues to be a growing category for the business as consumers look for appliances options that bring color into the kitchen. An added level of personalization is touted through the debut of a new accessory kit, Personalize with Dacor, enabling individuals to customize their appliances by selecting unique finishes for handles and knobs on select styles.

    For more than 50 years Dacor has expertly led the luxury kitchen category with appliances that deliver outstanding performance with careful consideration for design and innovation, said Randy Warner, President of Dacor. At KBIS 2020, we will debut a distinguished portfolio of product styles that our consumer can confidently identify with based on the needs of their individual kitchens. Whether you are regularly hosting or entertaining, or you like to stay ahead of the curve on smart home technology integrations, or youre looking to merge the two without a trade-off, our goal is to encourage culinary and design enthusiasts alike to showcase their own style without compromising on reliability, hand-crafted and high-quality design, power or performance.

    Highlights and new introductions include:

    Dacors participation and introductions at KBIS 2020 follows a series of new launches for the prestigious brand, including the debut of its first two US showrooms, Dacor Kitchen Theaters, located in the A&D building in New York City and Chicagos renowned TheMart (formerly the Merchandise Mart). Next month, the luxury brand will debut its flagship showroom in Irvine, California. Additionally, Dacor will continue to serve as a key partner to the trade community through its National Design Contest, a two-year contest ending in July 2020, which designers and students are invited to submit their work to be recognized and promoted within Dacors showrooms, website as well as win prizes including a $10,000 scholarship for student submissions and Grand Prizes for the Designers Choice Award, include a trip for the winner and one guest to Seoul, Korea to visit the Dacor house. Submissions will be judged by the Dacor Design Council, an esteemed group of individuals curated by Dacor for its body of work, innovations and expertise. Members of the Design Council hail from the across the United States and Canada with projects that range from interiors to product design with remodels, new builds and collections.

    For more information about Dacor, or to find a dealer, visit Dacor.com.

    About Dacor

    Dacor is a leading American luxury home appliance brand known for creating stunning tools that deliver expert innovation, intuitive technology and handcrafted design. The company, based in Southern California and founded over 50 years ago, has revolutionized the luxury kitchen landscape through its award-winning suite of next-generation creative tools. Boasting curated design and confident reliability, Dacor pushes the boundaries of innovation and performance by transforming the modern-day kitchen into a place to connect, entertain and create. For additional information, please visit Dacor.com or follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

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    Dacor Delivers a Legendary Experience at KBIS 2020 Debuting Three New Style Collections and Personalized Customization Tools for the Kitchen -...

    Navigating Disability In The Kitchen Is All About Finding The Right Adaptations – Gizmodo Australia - January 24, 2020 by admin

    I am acutely aware of the fact that, when I handle a knife, it often makes people nervous. And I understand why: I have a neurological disorder that manifests most visibly in a pronounced kinetic tremor. My hands get so shaky that I often have trouble using pens or phone keyboards or other common implements grounded in fine motor skills. So watching a sharp cleaver twitch and jump in one of my mitts while the other holds down, say, an onion, it is easy to worry that I might end up lopping off one of my digits. Or dropping it on my foot. Or otherwise mutilating myself or others.

    Admittedly, I did slice and dice my fingers fairly often when I was first learning to cooka period that coincided with a spike in the severity of my tremors. But after a while, like most people with disabilities, I developed adaptations: ways of positioning my body that allow me to brace my arms and so reduce tremors. Methods for keeping objects on a cutting board in place without using my hands. Basic care and observation honed through years of practice. As a result, I can safely dice an onion faster than most of my family and friends. And I take a great deal of pride in that.

    But the occasional wince or sharp inhale I still catch to my side, and the unsolicited offers for help because it looks like youre struggling there, can be frustrating, tiring, or outright disheartening. Even when born of genuine concern, they represent the all too common patronising view that people with disabilities are not safe, or do not belong, in the kitchen. In fact, this conviction is so prevalent that it keeps far too many people with disabilities from ever finding a place for themselves in the kitchenfrom developing their own tricks and adaptations.

    In part, this view just reflects the fact that most kitchens and appliances fall far short of universal design. Even the standard height of a countertop or sink, points out Minna Hong, who developed paraplegia after sustaining a spinal cord injury about two decades agoand who makes a mean paelladoes not work for someone like her who uses a wheelchair. Not to mention the countless utensils that are not easy for people with low grip strength or dexterity to hold or manoeuvre. This systematic lack of intuitive accessibility can be daunting, lead to accidents or difficulties, and reinforce the view that kitchens just arent a safe place for a population that, in reality, designers have simply historically failed to account for.

    This view also reflects the severely limited representation of disability in cooking shows. One in five Americans has some kind of disability; one in ten has a severe disability. Yet chances are that the only time most Americans have ever seen a chef with a disability on TV, it was Christine Ha, The Blind Cook, who won season three of MasterChef in 2012. (Granted, PBS diehards may have seen a few more on the show Cooking without Looking.) And that is likely not just the result of low representation in the culinary world due to accessibility issues and general stigma. I was recently approached by a TV station for a cooking show, but found out I was ultimately turned down because the studio kitchen was not accessible, notes James Coke, a skilled and successful chef who uses a wheelchair and has lived with a multiple sclerosis diagnosis for about 35 years. I felt Id been used just to tick an inclusion box and was angry that I was prevented from showing that disabled cooks are winners.

    Instead, cooking shows valorize or reify proper techniques, physically intensive cooking styles, and intricate recipes that just do not work for many average, much less disabled, cooks. Fooderati also turn up their noses, points out Anna Moyer of Accessible Chef, a site with recipes and lessons geared towards people with disabilities, at things like pre-cut or canned foods, which may be vital ingredients for people with severe fatigue or limited to no hand control who want to get into the kitchen. When shows do deign to bring on people with disabilities, adds Sue Hoss, who builds resources for young chefs with intellectual disabilities at Look, Cook, and Eat, It seems theyre there for the challenge value of living up to ableist standards rather than their innate talent.

    As Hoss and Moyers projects attest, there are a growing number of resources online for people with disabilities looking to learn how to cookor to get affirmation that they can find a place in the kitchen. There are also a growing number of people with disabilities making cooking content on social media, blogs, and digital video platforms, improving representation and fighting stigma and stereotypes. Specialty companies also make a growing range of adaptive appliances; I have looked into, for example, gyroscopically stabilised forks, spoons, and knives in recent years. But adaptive technologies, Hong points out, are often incredibly expensive and as such inaccessible to most people. And representation and resources, Hoss argues, are still quite limited at best.

    When stereotypes, stigmas, and a pure lack of resources convince people with disabilities that they just cant cook, that is not only a huge moral problem, but also a public health one. As Moyer points out, people with disabilities often, for want of kitchen access, knowledge, or confidence, end up lacking affordable and nutritious food. This despite the fact that eating well is often key to the management of chronic disordersand the fact that cooking with and for others can foster a sense of community, inclusion, and autonomy that many people with disabilities struggle to maintain.

    To give disabled individuals concrete examples of the ways their peers have carved out a space for themselves in the kitchen, I recently asked a handful of professional and amateur chefs to share their experiences navigating cookingfiguring out tricks and adaptationswith disabilities. The insights they present below are hardly comprehensive. Every individuals disability will be at least somewhat unique, and as such demand equally unique adaptations. But they are a good starting point for visualising how disabilities of all stripes can fit into the average kitchen.

    Almost everyone I spoke to for this piece, no matter their disability, agreed that when coming into the kitchen, people with disabilities have to really look at what is happening, as Ellen Kyhl, who spoke to me alongside her son John, who has Down syndrome, put it. You need to figure out what your abilities are and how you can accommodate that ability. Make a list of things that you might have trouble with, and things that you excel at, then start coming up with broad adjustments or porting over solutions that you have applied in other parts of your lifethe tricks you use to reach things from a wheelchair or to grip things with limited dexterity or hand strength.

    Some people might have to abandon spontaneity in the kitchen in favour of planning and preparation so they do not find themselves unexpectedly blocked or running out of steam midway through a recipe. That might include budgeting time for physical and mental fatigue into a cooking schedule. Pre-planning is also useful for people who might need to find workarounds for certain ingredients when shopping on a fixed income or when they have trouble getting out to or navigating stores.

    It is important to find community and support in organisations that advocate for civil rights and awareness, adds Christine Ha. Not only will they be able to connect you with a broad range of support and resources, but they will be good spots to meet with people who have a similar disability and compare notesto figure out what dishes or techniques have worked for others and how to make them your own. This is especially helpful when it comes to developing DIY solutions to kitchen accessibility issues. (Everyone I spoke to for this piece recommended trying to find such a DIY solution before splurging on adaptive appliances or remodels, as there is usually some inventive way of jury-rigging what you already own to make it work for you.)

    For beginners especially (but not exclusively), says J.J. Goode, a chef who was born with one arm and has written extensively about single-armed cooking, it is useful to just throw away any dreams of making the ultra-complex recipes you might have seen on TV or in a magazine. Say, I am going to do this easy thing, he argues, and it is delicious. That way you can slowly build up your own approach to core cooking skills, getting fancier and more complex as you go alongbut only if you want to. There will be a learning curve as you figure out how to adapt and account for your unique context. But, says Ava Marie Romero, an autistic chef and food blogger, my message for everybody is: Do not give up. It may sound trite, but really, you have to believe in yourself.

    Honestly, most of this advice could be useful for anyone, not just people with disabilitiesas is the case with most of the insights that come out of the world of disability. But it is the vital core that most people with disability especially need to adapt and experiment their way into cookery.

    I cant tell you how frustrated I washow many things I spilled on my lap, all over the kitchen how many ugly words I said to myself, says Hong of her first year or so getting back into cooking after becoming a wheelchair user. As with anything new and different, it takes time. But its worth doing, especially if you identify with itas somebody who enjoys being a cook or cooking.

    Goode argues that most of the things people do in the kitchen, like stirring a pot, are already one-arm activities. But moving boiling water pots, taking hot, heavy trays out of the oven, or chopping things up are much harder for him than they are for most two-armed people.

    Most of the time, Goode believes, you can bridge this gap through automatic compensation: You try to do things the way that a two-armed person does, then adjust your body however feels right in order to find balance and leverage in line with your own anatomy. This may involve leaning down so close to a cutting board that youre almost eye-to-eye with an onion. It may mean using your foot for a quick assist stabilizing a tray or centering your gravity. At times, he admits, it looks ridiculousIm hunched over and balanced in this precarious way. But no matter how it looks from the outside, it will feel natural and quickly develop into automatic muscle memory.

    Goode notes that many people who can only use one arm or hand use simple DIY fixes to reduce the need to find new positions in which to cook. A spike in a cutting board, for instance, can hold items in place, reducing your need to find leverage. And a wooden dowel affixed to a paint roller is a lot easier to use one-handed than finding the right angle to hold a two-handed rolling pin. Thats just not Goodes style, personally. Although maybe when I get older and Ive developed intense back pain from all this hunching over Ill be like, all right, gadget time.

    Meal prep and planning can be especially powerful tools for anyone prone to fatigue, says Coke. I tend to do my cooking in the morning, as I have more energy, and cook double portions that I can freeze for later use. Simple recipes and pre-prepared ingredients are also a boon. The rise of the popularity of one-pot recipes certainly helps to accommodate these sorts of needs today.

    It is trickier, Coke argues, to figure out how to deal with low grip strength when you have to use utensils with small, hard handles. Cokes solution is to just zap everything in a food processor then throw it all together, reserving his strength for things like mixing and side-stepping the finest motor function and ongoing strength drains of cooking. But others with limited grip strength, dexterity, and stamina address this limitation by putting foam onto handles to make them easier to hold for longer periods of time. Others design their cooking schedules to alternate between tasks that use different muscle groups and build in breaks to minimise the continuous strain of gripping, chopping, stirring, or any other kitchen activity.

    For Hong, one of the most frustrating aspects of learning to navigate life in a chair was figuring out how to doand reacheverything from a low seated position. It takes a while, she says, to figure out things like, oh, if I have my coffee at the edge of the counter instead of at the back, like everybody else, itll make things so much easier. Granted, people born with a disability that leads them to use a wheelchair may, with their spongy young brains, figure these things out a bit quicker and so feel less frustration. But everyone in a chair needs to contend with a largely standing world.

    Hong has solved this kitchen conundrum by bringing as much of cooking down to her level as she can. Her family has built a customised table low enough for her to get leverage while in her chair. Shes learned how to balance a cutting board on her lap with a towel under it to prevent slippage. And when she does need to use higher surfaces, there are always hooks and poles for reach, mirrors to see what is going on, and clever workarounds like scooping pasta out of boiling water into a colander suspended over another bowl rather than hoisting said pot of boiling water up from the stove while seated and perilously getting it over to an elevated sink to dump it out.

    One-pot meals are a favourite for Hong as well, as they minimise the amount of back-and-forth she has to do in the kitchen. The more efficient her recipes, the less she has to figure out adaptations.

    She is also a big believer in recognising when a modification may be possible, but would also be time-consuming, exhausting, or flat-out absurd. In these situations, she suggests just asking for help from someone proficient in an ability you might struggle with. Independence does not mean you have to do everything yourself, she argues. True independence is controlling your environment. Sometimes that control takes the form of empowered delegation or cooperation.

    Although the needs of people with developmental disabilities vary wildly from one individual to the next, Sue Hoss (of Look, Cook, and Eat) and Anna Moyer (Accessible Chef) note that many have trouble with standard recipes. John Kyhl, for instance, who has Down syndrome, is an excellent reader but often has trouble holding his place in a paragraph if he has to turn away from it. Complex recipes with compound steps also pose a challenge.

    For me to find a simple recipe was half the battle, says Ellen Kyhl, who ultimately turned to Hosss resources for help. It helps as well if that simple recipe is written (or can be copied out) in large font and clear bullet points. Illustrated steps might help, too. Ellen Kyhl says that, when cooking with John, she often thinks: How can I make this task as small and simple as possiblethen split it in half again and again and again, so theres something easy to follow that will slowly build up skills.

    Differentiation of like things is also a challenge for John, Ellen adds. For example, a tablespoon versus a teaspoonfinding it in a drawer, because of the similarity of the label. You might have to develop clearer labels and strict organisation systems in a kitchen to help mitigate that issue.

    It is useful, at least early on, for many people with developmental disabilities to cook with at least one partner the way John cooks with Ellen. That partner can help them to build a repertoire of recipes customised in the way that works best for them, to fill in on recipe work if fatigue starts to set in, and overall to help them develop the core skills and confidence necessary to cook a stable of loved dishes on their own. The duration of learning a skill for someone with a disability may be years instead of months or weeks, Ellen notes. But the autonomy is worth the time.

    A shocking number of recipes and bits of conventional cooking advice centre on sight: checking the colour of meat, reading thermometers, or noting the hue of variant peppers. So one might think that cooking with a visual impairment is especially daunting. But in truth, more often than not, people with vision impairments can learn alternative cues for readiness at each stage of cooking with their other senses. Powders all have their unique feel. Frying oil or boiling water has a sound. About-to-burn bread has a smell.

    When cooking in a new environment, a visually impaired chef might need some help getting acquainted to a new space and where all its ingredients and appliances are. But most visually impaired cooks memorise the layout of their own kitchens and customise them with simple cues like bump dot stickers on the stove and touchscreen appliances, as Ha points out, which assist in differentiating between devices, setting temperature dials, and so on.

    Cooking with a visual impairment may require a few special precautions, like avoiding sleeves in case they get caught on something. Adding cook time to recipes instead of preheating the oven minimizes the risk of scorching oneself on a hot rack.

    But beyond that, it islike cooking with most disabilitiesnot too different from the way most people cook in practice: Use the skills and senses that you have, and lean into the strongest ones. Experiment your way to individualized tactics that work well and feel natural for you. Plan and organise until you develop a sense of confidence. This might take time, and your process could look different from anyone elses. But as Hong points out, There is no right or wrong way, no specific time in which to master things. If cooking is something you really want to do, you owe it to yourself to try. Because its absolutely doable.

    More:
    Navigating Disability In The Kitchen Is All About Finding The Right Adaptations - Gizmodo Australia

    2020: The year of the home improvement – Mountain Grove News Journal - December 7, 2019 by admin

    2020: The year of the home improvement

    Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2019 9:01 am

    2020: The year of the home improvement Brandpoint (BPT) Mountain Grove News-Journal

    (BPT) - A new year is an opportunity to bring fresh life into your home through renovations, both large and small. Want an updated kitchen? A patio addition? New floors? Every homeowner has a different vision for their space, so make 2020 the year your home improvement dreams come true. But where should you start?

    Affording your renovations

    The cost of home renovations deters many from updating their homes, but there are financing options that can make costs more manageable. Consider a home equity line of credit (HELOC), which gives you the flexibility of a credit line you can access as you need funds for your renovation projects. At Bank of America, you can get a HELOC with no fees to open or maintain it. You pay only for the funds you use.

    Now that you have the finances sorted out, what home projects should you consider?

    But, what if you arent a homeowner yet?

    If you're not yet a homeowner, make 2020 your year to own your home. Upfront costs dont have to be a barrier.

    The Bank of America Community Homeownership Commitment(TM) helps eligible homebuyers with the upfront costs of purchasing a home by offering:

    For more information about the Community Homeownership Commitment, HELOCs and other ways to make your 2020 home dreams a reality, visit http://www.bankofamerica.com.

    Posted in Home Improvement on Wednesday, December 4, 2019 9:01 am.

    Read the original:
    2020: The year of the home improvement - Mountain Grove News Journal

    My Boyfriend & I Had Never Lived TogetherUntil We Bought A Home – Yahoo Finance - December 7, 2019 by admin

    Refinery29 is proud to partner with theNational Association of REALTORS(NAR) to share real womens stories about finding, buying, flipping, and paying off their homes. Ahead, read one womans testament to homeownership, and discover the power of a REALTOR.

    It should come as no surprise that a couple in the suburbs might decide to take the plunge and buy a home together. But heres the thing: When my partner and I began the process, we werent married. We werent engaged, either. And we had never lived together. In fact, neither of us had ever lived anywhere aside from our childhood homes.

    Sure, marriage isnt a prerequisite here but as partners, we were admittedly a bit non-traditional in our approach to a mortgage. After six years together, we were making the decision to take on the biggest financial commitment of our lives thus far without even knowing what it was really like to share a bedroom.

    When we told friends and family, they were often openly disapproving. To them, it felt impulsive and irresponsible. But in spite of all the naysayers, we both felt, deep down, that this was the right choice for us. While living with our respective parents and siblings retiring each night to our childhood bedrooms we both desperately craved a space of our own. Neither of us was paying rent, our savings were growing substantially, and we often fantasized about what our life might look like under a shared roof.

    At the time, I was working as a full-time editor in New York City making $65,000 a year, and my partner was working in construction making $110,000 a year. Between us, we had about $30,000 in savings, and we were ready to put that towards a down payment somewhere in Long Island.So we tracked down an agent from the National Association of REALTORS through Douglas Elliman one who was openly supportive of our decision and we got to work.

    Of course, we knew that renting an apartment together was the more logical next step. We understood this would be a safer way of testing the waters without, well, diving right in. But we both wanted to settle close to our families, our agent assured us that the market looked good, and most adults we knew in the area were already owners. Buying simply felt like the smartest step it was what we wanted in the long term, and paying rent rather than working toward that goal felt counterproductive.

    Still, in all honesty, I occasionally felt myself wavering. What if his propensity to leave dirty glasses in his bedroom for days on end pushed me over the edge? How would he feel about me once he realized I had never really learned how to do laundry correctly? Were we being completely delusional?I thought about making an ultimatum: We could get a house if he proposed but at the same time, I didnt want a proposal he felt pressured into. In fact, I felt that purchasing a house together was, in some ways, a bigger commitment than a ring. It was this enormous investment, both financially and emotionally, in our future life together. And our agent was fully prepared to help us take the plunge.

    After shed sat down with us a handful of times to talk seriously about our game plan, she helped us to narrow our search. We talked through what Long Island neighborhoods we were interested in, the condition of our future home, the importance of a spacious backyard, and plenty of other things. Then she showed us options. We perused countless places online together and visited many an open house while she offered us details about levels of buyer interest and potential for kitchen remodels.

    Then finally, after one particularly long day spent perusing various open houses, our agent convinced us to stop by a home we hadnt been interested in when wed viewed the listing online. She insisted it would be worth the trip, so we agreed, reasoning that she hadnt let us down yet.

    As soon as we entered the space, something shifted. We looked at each other we knew this was it. Walking through the rooms, we could both imagine our futures here, in each of these vacant rooms, and it felt right. That night, we called our agent and told her we wanted to make an offer.The place was listed at $399,000, which wasnt so far beyond our target price.

    Story continues

    The rest of the home buying process was centered around financial logistics the particulars of which our agent dexterously helped us navigate. It forced us into a number of conversations about finances that many couples dont have until marriage (not fun, but necessary). We met with a lawyer about the details that surrounded putting both of our names on the deed. With Sandys help, we eventually negotiated the price down to $365,000. And eventually, closing day arrived.

    Our agent and our lawyer worked together to make sure things ran smoothly. Once the paperwork was squared away, I felt myself loosen up. I began to feel a particular sense of elation. This was our home this was where the life wed been imagining together for the past six years would take place. That evening, we began to move some of our things in (just a rug or two, some end tables, a favorite chair), and, one piece at a time, the space started to look less like a vacant structure and more like a home.

    Less than a year into living together, he proposed. And now, nearly three and a half years after that first day in our new house, were married, we have a baby, and we still love our home. Scheduling aside, buying was the right choice for us we knew this place would be the setting for our entire lives together.

    Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?

    More:
    My Boyfriend & I Had Never Lived TogetherUntil We Bought A Home - Yahoo Finance

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