Green Studio: A New Place to Grow Old

Green Studio: A New Place to Grow Old

Trent Johnson
Nov 6, 2008

Bruce Nelson and Carolyn Matthews of Northeast Portland prepare for their retirement with the addition of a 700-square-foot green cottage designed to be a flexible space that may evolve into their future residence or provide rental income. In the meantime, it's a private study and overflow space for friends and family.

With the physical limitations that come with aging, Bruce Nelson and Carolyn Matthews wanted to prepare by outfitting their home with an accessible 700-square-foot dwelling with an open floor plan.

The studio includes amenities such as a motorized sink that raises and lowers at the touch of a button and pullout chopping boards that can accommodate a seated person. The bathroom lacks a curb for wheelchair access, and a built-in seat and grab bars help for accessibility.

Green Features:

The cottage is also earth-friendly, and includes rainwater harvesting, hydronic radiant floor heat and on-demand hot water. Rainwater is collected from the roof and stored in two buried 3,000-gallon cisterns. The construction used SIPs (structural insulated panels) for both faster assembly, and built in insulation.

Features for Aging in Place:

  • Taller toilet for easier transfer from wheelchair
  • Adjustable heights for kitchen sink
  • Barrier-free entries
  • Casement windows with easy-to-use crank-style mechanisms
  • Contrasting trim color on countertops for sight-impaired users
  • Marv Bondarowicz/The OregonianCurb-free shower
  • Elevated exterior landscape faucet
  • Elevated refrigerator
  • Front-loading washer, dryer and dishwasher
  • Hand-held shower head with slide rail
  • Lever handles on doors and faucets
  • Doorways 32 inches wide
  • Movable kitchen cabinets
  • Open floor plan to allow for wheelchair entry and turning
  • Open space under kitchen and bathroom sinks as well as slide-out cutting boards to accommodate a seated person
  • Pocket door to bathroom
  • Reinforced grab bars in bathroom
  • Slide-out kitchen drawers instead of hard-to-reach cupboards
  • Wall electrical plugs at least 15 inches above floor

See the rest of the article at Oregon Live.

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