Principle #3 – Lifetime Homes

Why Can’t Homes Last a Lifetime?

Home builders, realtors and developers have pushed an agenda that homes are stepping stones in life’s path. From starters … to family homes … to empty nests … to retirement homes.

Why not create a space that strive to accommodate all life phases? Even in a down market people still get married, have babies, home school, work from home, send kids to college , and have multiple generations living under the same roof.

When housing values were accelerating it made sense to sell, trade up and keep moving. In the current reality you need your investment in a building project to support each phase of an evolving life.

Jones Pierce contends any home can be a lifetime home. Following our 3rd principal we create homes that can be phased over time, accommodate changing usage within the same framework and use space for more than one purpose.


Plan for an elevator, or build a closet large enough to accommodate one in the future (left). Build accessible” roll-in” showers with large openings (middle). Plan for your kids and all phases of their lives (right).


Eight strategies used to design a lifetime home:

  1. Start with a master plan. Don’t allow future needs to force you to tear up completed work.
  2. Plan for future Construction phases. If your master plan requires phasing, anticipate where to partition off the renovation if you will be living in the home during later phases. Typically it is best to work top to bottom in the house then to outside spaces or accessory structures.
  3. Think about rooms that can change names over time to avoid over-building. As the renovation is planned think long term about how spaces in the house could changes as kids arrive on the scene, they grow up, move out … and then move back in.
  4. Space is expensive so use it twice. Build less space that serves multiple purposes for today’s needs, without being a burden later when those needs no longer exist.
  5. Make your home smart. Home automation technology adds significant convenience, safety, control, energy efficiency, and value to your house. For example, this technology can let you shut down parts of the home not needed or monitor your home’s system status when leaving for an extended period of time.
  6. Install an elevator shaft. Over the last 10 years the cost of residential elevators has become more affordable. Residential elevators can travel fifty feet in height, make five stops and have doors on three sides of the cab making them more flexible to fit into existing homes. Elevators can be phased by installing the shaft at the time of a renovation.
  7. Plan for accessibility. If you are putting in new doors, install 2’-10” doors to allow for wheelchair access. You’ll be ready for this if needed, without giving your home a commercial look.
  8. Anticipate all future needs in the bathroom. Plan for enough floor space to accommodate wheelchair access to toilets and showers. Install wood blocking today to allow for grab bars in the future in the shower and around toilets. For new baths, depress floor framing in bathrooms to allow for thick set tile beds sloped to create roll in showers.


With careful planning and long-term thinking, you can transform your home into a lifetime home.


An example of a Jones Pierce Lifetime Home with a fully accessible first level that includes a “Grandparent’s Suite” along with other wheelchair-friendly characteristics.



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Contact Jones Pierce: Residential@JonesPierce.com

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