CUSTOM HOMES FOR THE NOT QUITE RETIRED
By Susan Bady.
Photography by Daniel Nadelbach.
Whether or not retirement is around the corner, empty nesters want their homes to be ready for it. Accessibility and low maintenance are critical.
The two homes featured here may not seem to have much in common, but their owners do. They're busy, active empty nesters who aren't retired yet - but when that day comes, a properly designed home will ease the transition.
One couple built a home near a lake as a retreat for now and, in a few years, a full-time retirement residence. The other couple elected to minimize their home's footprint on a large rural site. When they're off the clock, they can kick back and relax without having to spend much time on maintenance.
Again in place, obviously, is a big consideration for such clients. "We work mostly with empty nesters and believe it's very important to work universal design elements into a design," says architect Rick Burleson of Wimberley, Texas. He incorporates such features as wider doorways and hallways, curdles showers, step-free entrances, and low-maintenance exterior materials.
Grady Burnette builds a lot of houses in the central Texas town of Wimberley. Since many of his clients are empty nesters who are contemplating retirement, Burnette works with them and local architects, such as Burleson Design Group, to create homes that are accessible and easy to care for. Typically, the exterior are rich with locally quarried stone, but this particular Wimberley home has board-and-batten, fiber-cement siding.
The site is approximately 6.7 acres and on top of a knoll. The client's desire to save as many trees as possible made the builder's task a little more challenging. "We had some logistical issues in terms of getting equipment in and out and maneuvering around the site," says Burnette. Site work was confined to the footprint of the house, the swimming pool, and the road leading to the property. In order to keep all the living areas on one level, Burnette built a taller foundation under one side of the house.
Architect Rick Burleson and his colleague, David Costea, designed a 3,218-square-foot home, laid out in a U shape around a swimming pool. They oriented the living area to the southeast to avoid drawing direct afternoon sun into the house. "The length of the roof overhangs is important also," says Burleson. "We typically use 30-inch overhangs to provide a good level of shading.
"With the pool as the centerpiece of the design, the architect created an inviting outdoor room with a summer kitchen. "Elongating the house, as opposed to designing a super boxy plan, provided more opportunities for windows, which, in turn, opened up the views from inside." The foyer, great room, and kitchen are in the center of the U. The master bedroom wing is on one end of the house and there are two home offices, plus a guest bedroom and bath, on the other.
The wife wanted the kitchen to be open to the great room - "sort of an alcove instead of a separate room, and she wanted a sizable pantry," says Burleson. A large window in the kitchen allows cross ventilation through the great room's sliding doors.
There's also a detached, three-bay carport with a storage room. "Most of the homes we design are in rural areas, and we like the approach of a carport plus a storage area," says Burleson. "People can contain their storage needs better if there's a defined room, rather than just filing up the garage."
Photo Caption (Page 5) - Instead of the stone typically seen on central Texas homes, this residence features board-and-batten siding. Covered porches and long roof overhangs shade windows from the harsh afternoon sun. Inside, rough-sawn fir beams accentuate the vaulted ceilings and contrast with the mostly white interior (seen kitchen image, opposite page). The board-and-batten wainscoting mimics the look of the siding, and the floors are stained concrete.
Photo Caption (Page 5) - The shower in the master bath features a striking pattern of black, white, and clear tiles in various shapes and sizes. A bench is integrated into the pedestal wall, separating the shower from the rest of the room.