Bower Architecture Ideas: Tips for your home for an active and luxurious retirement

Journal – 13 July 2021
By Anna Dutton Lourie

Let’s talk about retirement!

Did you know that many of our clients come to us to discuss their retirement forever home well before they are actually retired.

Yes, that’s right. If you are in your 50s, 60s or even late 40s, it could be time to start daydreaming about your dream home for retirement.

Here’s why: It’s important to remember that you may not wish to borrow or refinance your investments to fund a project once you’re comfortably enjoying retirement.

It can be a lot of fun to start planning. It is an extra special time to focus on creating a special place just for you, and not the kids!

To inspire you, here are our top four things every dream home for retirement should consider:

Michelle tending to her garden at Coastal Court, Flinders.

1. Space for hobbies and things you love doing

When you retire, you hope to be active and engaged, and not just at home mornings, evenings and weekends. You are there during the day doing things you love. Perhaps it is gardening, baking, community groups or involvement, crafts or business projects or support. Whatever it is you need spaces to enjoy these things during the day. At Coastal Court we created a special study for Peter to create his intricate fly fishing flies and plan his travels and adventures.

2. Free flowing, open spaces

When it is just you at home most of the time, you can enjoy free flowing spaces and openness in a way that may not be possible when you are keen to keep zoning and privacy from your kids. At Hover House the main bedroom opens up via internal and external sliding doors to the living spaces and courtyard garden to create a luxurious and generous feeling of space for just Maurie and Raema to enjoy when they are by themselves. When guests come to stay, the screens and doors do their work to create privacy.

Peter making flies in his workspace at Coastal Court, Flinders.
Reading room at Coastal Court, Flinders.

3. Ergonomics, access and ease of use

We frequently chuckle with our clients when they say they want to stay at their home “until they wheel me out!”. We couldn’t agree more and so making sure you can live with ease and independence is key. We think about ergonomic heights for appliances, good operability of handles, doors and windows, easy circulation without steps or dead ends, gentle acoustics, ramps instead of stairs (check out Coastal Court) and places for grab rails if needed later. If there is to be stairs, straight flights are better for installation of a stair lift. We even suggest this fun little piece of equipment that I secretly wish I had!.

4. Zoning, potential retirement income streams and hobby businesses

Some other ideas we are exploring with clients is how the guest areas of a house for retirement can also be separated off and function as an income stream as a holiday rental, or how a space may be able to be accessed separate from the home for a hobby business. Zoning is always important so you don’t heat or service the part of the home you are not using every day.

Hover House, Mount Martha.

Pictured above is our project, “Hover House” in Mount Martha. Hover House is home to our clients, Maurie and Raema, who intend to use this house as a place for long term enjoyment and retirement.

This is one of the views from the main bedroom. Maurie and Raema can open the concealed sliding doors and screens to create a magical and luxurious flow of space inside and outside. This is a treat that can be enjoyed in a house designed just for them, not the family. When guests come to stay or in party mode, the screens do their work to conceal their bedroom sanctuary.

So, have you given any thought to what you what your forever home for retirement to be like? Reply and let me know!

Warm wishes from Anna and the Bower team.

Photography by Shannon McGrath.