8 ‘Resort Style’ Entrance Features

Boomers want a resort style life

Baby Boomers are aging, this is no longer a secret.  Also, we don’t think we are getting old and we don’t think old!  We are younger looking, healthier, travel more and generally have more fun than our parents did.

Even Real Estate news websites are beginning to talk about it: “Our current generation of boomers doesn’t want to do those for-old people things,” says Jana Lynott, senior policy adviser on livable communities for AARP. “We encourage [people to consider] neighborhoods where you can walk to a variety of services you access on a daily basis, like banks, public transportation, shopping, restaurants.”

This is also happening in Canada. Instead of migrating south en masse to retirement communities more and more baby boomers—a particularly urban-savvy group of Canadians —are moving back to the metro areas they abandoned when they began raising families. And in leaving their suburban homesteads, these empty nesters are redefining the urban centers they now call home.  

My husband and I are examples of this.

Making the decision to leave our coastal home on the ocean was an incredibly hard thing to do.  We loved the area but our home was becoming more of a burden than a joy to look after.   Wanting a simpler home with less maintenance where we could enjoy our life became the utmost of importance to both my husband and me.  

Real estate was on the upswing and our home was worth so much more after 30 years of being in the same area.  We sold our character home to a lovely couple that moved from the city wanting a quieter life (the reverse of what we were about to do).

‘Well, the first thing you know we become millionaires… our kin folk said Jan & Glen move away from here… said the island is the place you want to be so we loaded up our trucks and instead moved to Burnaby!   Hills that is… swimming pools, movie stars…  (Music to the Beverly Hillbillies is playing in my head… ) 

We found another ‘character home‘ to begin our ‘Aging in Place – Resort Style‘ life.   We consciously ‘right sized‘ our home and maintenance level and upped our lifestyle!  We now had the added convenience of being within a 5-minutes drive from everything we used and walking distance to parks, stores, restaurants, and even a library! 

So you want to ‘Age in Place – Resort Style’?  

Let’s start with the ENTRANCE to your home.  Here is a checklist that an accessible entrance NEEDS:

  • Smooth, ground level entrances without stairs
  • Surface textures that require low force to traverse on level, less than 5 pounds force per 120 pounds rolling force (for wheelchairs)
  • Surfaces that are stable, firm, and slip resistant per ASTM 2047
  • Learn how threshold ramps and residential ramps can make stairs a problem of the past

Now take your lifestyle up a notch with these ‘8’ AGE in PLACE – RESORT STYLE Features:

  1. High curb appeal exterior design
  2. Easy care driveway (non-slip stamped concrete, exposed aggregate, brick) with turn around 
  3. Remote opening with no post divider in the garage door 
  4. Low maintenance Exterior including stucco, brick, stone or smart board siding (no paint)
  5. Easy sight line into home for security
  6. Security System or ‘motion lights‘ – crooks don’t like bright lights
  7. Low maintenance yard with underground sprinkler system
  8. No threshold entrance or add transition ramp 

Having a no threshold entrance way is optimal.






Or, have a beautiful a ramp added.

Or, have an elevator on the ground level accessed from the garage to all the rest of the floors.  
They really aren’t as expensive as you think. In fact, for about the same price as a ‘Thermador Fridge,’ you can have a 4 x 6′ residential elevator installed.  
This is similar to asking, “how much do cars cost?” There is a pretty wide range, depending on a number of factors. Generally speaking, in most parts of North America, two-stop home elevators start in the range of $20,000 installed.  Typical installations cost between $19,000 and $39,000 .
Below is a contemporary home I designed for my ‘millennial’ clients that have aging relatives.  
Due to the house to lot size restrictions, I designed the elevator in the center of the house with the staircase next to it.
Whatever you are able to do, ensure the floor area is non-slip and has a 60″ turning radius in the halls to allow for wheelchair access if needed.  
The key to ensuring a universal entranceway is to think about ‘all users’ remember ‘grand babies’ need to grab onto handles and don’t like stairs and trip when the floor transitions change height.  
Simply Me by Design,
Written by Jan Addams
(Designer, Author, Trainer) 
President of IMAGE To INTERIOR Inc.
If you have photos, comments or ideas to make an entrance feel like a ‘resort’  submit them to 

What is UNIVERSAL Design?

Universal Design and the Aging Society


Wikipedia States:  Universal Design ( a close relation to inclusive design) refers to broad-spectrum ideas meant to produce buildings, products and environments that are inherently accessible to older people, people without disabilities, and people with disabilities.

Stairs really?

The term “universal design” was coined by the architect Ronald L. Mace to describe the concept of designing all products and the built environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life.[1]

However, it was the work of Selwyn Goldsmith, author of Designing for the Disabled (1963), who really pioneered the concept of free access for people with disabilities. His most significant achievement was the creation of the dropped curb – now a standard feature of the built environment.

Universal design emerged from slightly earlier barrier-free concepts, the broader accessibility movement, and adaptive and assistive technology and also seeks to blend aesthetics into these core considerations. As life expectancy rises and modern medicine increases the survival rate of those with significant injuries, illnesses, and birth defects, there is a growing interest in universal design.

There are many industries in which universal design is having strong market penetration but there are many others in which it has not yet been adopted to any great extent. Universal design is also being applied to the design of technology, instruction, services, and other products and environments.

Transition free floors, elevator behind stairs.


Curb cuts or sidewalk ramps, essential for people in wheelchairs but also used by all, are a common example. Color-contrast dishware with steep sides that assists those with visual or dexterity problems is another.

There are also cabinets with pull-out shelves, kitchen counters at several heights to accommodate different tasks and postures, and, amidst many of the world’s public transit systems, low-floor buses that “kneel” (bring their front end to ground level to eliminate gap) and/or are equipped with ramps rather than on-board lifts.”

Designing Spaces using Universal Design Principals


So… what has been done recently in the building and design world to bring this Universal Design concept to the average home whether it is a house, townhouse or apartment?  

As a veteran Interior Designer, I am seeing more homes incorporating this concept.  In fact, I have recently designed two very different ‘user-friendly‘ homes.  For one owner, is in his late 60’s,  I designed 2 elevators; plus several ADA compliant areas in the home by using side ramp into the main house, wider hallways and doorways with lever handles on the doors.  I also designed a transitional/accessibility vanity (where the cabinet was 34″ high and could be pulled out to accommodate a wheel chair) I also created a transition free 7′ shower in the Master ensuite.  

My other clients, in their late 30’s, had a keen awareness of wanting their home to be accessible to aging relatives. I designed their contemporary styled 2 story home with an open concept around a 3-floor access elevator, ADA  compliant washroom on the main floor and a ground access ‘in-law‘ suite with ADA compliant bathroom, kitchen and bedroom areas with access to the main and upper floors.

As I too am aging, I am doing more and more research on this topic.  However, I want to add another element = creating a Hotel or Resort feel to any home I design that has ‘designer looking’ products that are easy to understand and use; require low physical effort; spaces that have easy access to all areas of the home and are beautiful to behold and touch. 


Join me on this journey and let’s see how we all can embrace this ‘re-Newed’ standard of living!  If you want this info as I get it…  Go to my Training Site and Subscribe to my ‘Aging Resort Style’ – Newsletter >> HERE

 Aging ‘Resort Style‘ by Design,


Jan Addams
Designer, Author, Trainer

and fellow Baby Boomer