15 Mar

Universal Design – Alzheimer’s

General Contractor Ben Becker of BLB Custom Building is a Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP), completing his certification through the National Association of Remodeling Industry (NARI) in 2017. By incorporating universal design methods and techniques into remodeling and building plans, BLB is able to create accessible spaces for families looking to age-in-place or families with special needs.

 

NARI’s 7 Principles of Universal Design:

  1. Design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
  2. Design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
  3. Use of design is easy to understand regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
  4. Design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
  5. Design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
  6. Design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
  7. Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of the user’s body size, posture or mobility.

 

The Alzheimer’s Caregiver organization has teamed with BLB Custom Building to put a spotlight on how to prepare your home for an aging relative with Alzheimer’s. The below article features guest author Lydia Chan of the Alzheime’rs Caregiver organization.

 

Image via Pixabay, provided by Lydia Chan

 

How to Prep Your Home for an Aging Relative with Alzheimer’s

by Lydia Chan, Alzheimers Caregiver

 

According to the AARP, 16% of adults in the United States live in a multi-generational household. A significant portion of these are aging parents with cognitive disorders moving in with adult children. Here are some tips on prepping your home for this scenario. Many of these preparations can be made well in advance of your new living arrangements. With a little foresight, diligence, and common sense, you, and your entire family, can live safely and harmoniously together.

 

Evaluate your environment. Before moving your aging relative into your home, take a walk around the house, both indoors and out. Pay special attention to areas that could pose a threat to someone with mobility or cognitive impairments. The garage, swimming pool, and deck should be secure and inaccessible without a key.

 

Be prepared for emergency situations. The Alzheimer’s Association suggests keeping a list of emergency services handy. This includes poison control and police and fire departments. You should also keep your relative’s primary care physician’s contact information programmed into your phone. Always keep an emergency first aid kit on each level of the home. Adding a medical alert system to the home may give you added peace of mind if the senior will be left alone.

 

Remove falling hazards. Nearly 90% of broken bones in elderly individuals are due to falling accidents. Many of these are sustained by encountering unseen hazards in dimly lit rooms and hallways. You can help prevent these types of injuries by installing handrails and lights in the hallway and on staircases. Strip lighting in the kitchen and bath will add illumination to these areas. Consider a motion light in the bedroom, which will automatically turn on if the senior gets out of bed. Remove area rugs and designate a spot for young children to keep toys. 

 

Consider accessibility at the front door. Assisted Living Today explains that exterior stairs can be a challenge for seniors unsteady on their feet. Installing a wheelchair-accessible ramp at the front door is a good idea even for seniors who still have the ability to walk on their own. Many seniors with Alzheimer’s have coexisting mobility or spatial issues that can make navigating stairs or uneven thresholds unsafe.

 

Watch for safety hazards in the kitchen and bathroom. The kitchen and bath are two of the most dangerous rooms for older Americans and are the areas you must pay most attention to when preparing your home for an Alzheimer’s patient. Consider issues such as uneven flooring, which could throw your loved one off balance. Safety in these two rooms are paramount to the senior’s well-being.

 

Create a private space for yourself, your aging parent, and your own children. Moving an extended family member into your home isn’t just a change in their lifestyle, it affects your and the members of your family as well. And as much as your teenage daughter may love her grandmother, she may need her own space and privacy. 

 

Support your loved one’s independent abilities. Depending on how far into the disease your loved one may be, he/she may still have plenty of lucidity. Ensure that your home is safe, but not so restricted they are unable to pursue their passions and set and accomplish goals for themselves. Psychology Today explains that having a little bit of independence will encourage feelings of usefulness, an important part of staving off depression.

 

Sources

https://www.aarp.org/relationships/grandparenting/info-03-2009/goyer_grandparents_moving_in.html

https://www.alz.org/care/alzheimers-dementia-home-safety.asp

http://www.comfortkeepers.com/home/info-center/senior-independent-living/seniors-and-falls-statistics-and-prevention

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/communication-success/201503/5-ways-motivate-and-encourage-seniors

http://www.nari.org/

13 Nov

Wash. Dry. Fold. Repeat.

Photo above: Custom design/build laundry unit, designed in collaboration with the homeowner to maximize function in a small space. Newburyport, MA.

It’s safe to say that any day there isn’y any laundry to do is a great day! The average household has piles of laundry at any given time, and spends hours in the endless cycle of sort, wash, dry, fold, repeat. BLB Custom Building’s design/build format allows homeowners to work collaborative with General Contractor Ben Becker to create a space (or even closet!) that functions for their laundry needs, while maintaining an appealing esthetic in their home.

Custom zebra wood counter top with backsplash, with easy access to plumbing utilities. Added storage between units. Newburyport, MA.

Additional custom storage drawers located beneath the staircase, close in proximity to laundry room. Newburyport, MA.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

13 Nov

Balancing Beams

Post and beam construction has been used for thousands of years in all areas of the world, and now it’s having a moment in the spotlight with current building and design trends. Structural beams can provide added support to load-bearing walls, while helping to maintain an open floor plan. While many homeowners opt to have these structural supports recessed into the ceiling, an alternate option is to simply highlight it. Using reclaimed or new wood, many variations of beams can add great design features to a room.

Historic Newburyport post and beam home renovation. Beams were white washed, and shiplap inlay was added to entire first floor. Full kitchen remodel. Click photo to see full renovation details.

BLB Custom Building Owner + General Contractor, Ben Becker, pictured with his family in their barn (under construction). Douglas fir beams run across the cathedral ceilings.

Rough sawn hemlock beams bring high style to the second floor of this Plum Island beach cottage. Unique lighting fixtures and railing complement the home’s design.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

02 Oct

2017 Walk Against Domestic Violence

This past weekend,  BLB Custom Building walked in the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center’s annual Walk Against Domestic Violence. The walk supports the extensive work of the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, providing advocacy and support services to families and the communities within the Greater Newburyport area who are victims of domestic violence. It is their mission is to empower individuals and engage communities to end domestic violence.

The BLB Custom Building crew at this year’s Walk Against Domestic Violence.

The Center provides a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week crisis hotline, legal advocacy, emergency and transitional shelter, counseling and support to victims of domestic violence in the communities they serve. To learn more about the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center’s mission, or to donate or volunteer, please visit their website at jeannegeigercrisiscenter.org.

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

26 Jul

Newburyport Kitchen Tour

BLB Custom Building’s recent renovation on Winter Street will be featured on the 17th annual Newburyport Kitchen Tour, this Saturday, July 29th. This event raises money to benefit the Newburyport Elementary PTO helping to fund the school budget and assist with books, field trips, science fairs, and cultural events. Come by 38 Winter Street to see this beautiful kitchen renovation and addition in person, and meet the builder, Ben Becker, to answer any questions and provide insight into the design/build format of this project.
This Newburyport kitchen addition and renovation features custom beaded inset face frame cabinetry with shaker-style doors, custom 2-piece crown molding, quartzite countertops, butcher block island counter in walnut, and custom subway tiling. The luxury finishes in lighting, hardware, window selections, and custom stained glass connect to the historical home’s unique character.
To purchase tickets for this year’s tour, visit newburyportpto.com/kt/.
25 Jan

OSHA Workplace Safety Grant

BLB Custom Building was among thirty-seven Massachusetts companies to be awarded grant money by the Charles Baker and Karyn Polito Administration’s Office of Labor and Workforce Development. The BLB Custom Building crew will undergo a series training courses for OSHA 30 certification, fall protection, respiratory protections, and CPR/First Aid/AED training.

On Monday, January 16, 2017 the BLB Custom Building crew attended the first session in a series of OSHA 30 certification courses at the Chestnut Innovation Center in Amesbury, MA.

 

Press release from the office of Charles Baker & Karyn Polito

15 Nov

Storage Solutions

Spring cleaning is great, but fall organizing is a must before the cold weather hits and you are stuck inside. As the nation has moved toward the new trend of “tiny” homes and minimalist living, unique storage solutions have become ever more important for a functional living space.

As part of the BLB Custom Building design/build format, General Contractor Ben Becker works with the homeowner to design custom solutions for their family’s unique storage needs, and accommodate any particular possessions.

20161110_123503

Custom built-in laundry storage, designed by BLB General Contractor Ben Becker

This custom laundry storage built-in was designed by BLB General Contractor Ben Becker in collaboration with the homeowner. The main closet houses a stackable washer and dryer, with a vented screened door to accommodate the ventilation needed while dryer is in use. The additional cabinetry feature unique functions, such as  a drop-down ironing board, a folding station pull-out counter space, and a hamper.

Custom under-the-stair storage, deigned by BLB General Contractor Ben Becker

Custom under-the-stair storage, deigned by BLB General Contractor Ben Becker

Inspired by a Pinterest post, this homeowner wanted to utilize space under the stairs for additional storage. This custom designed drawer unit features shaker-style cabinet doors to complement existing cabinetry in the historical home.

03 Oct

Universal Design

General Contractor Ben Becker of BLB Custom Building is participating in extensive training through the National Association of Remodeling Industry (NARI) in their Universal Design Certified Professional (UDCP) program, creating accessible spaces for families looking to age-in-place or families with special needs. Incorporating universal design methods and techniques into remodeling and building plans enables BLB to create custom spaces for our clients that lend to the specific needs of each unique family and home.

29 Orchard 1 0026

Handicap accessible kitchen design on the main floor, open to the large living and dining spaces.

BLB Custom Building’s unique 5,000 square-foot ICF energy efficient build in Newbury, MA, was designed with age-in-place living in mind. With two families living in one space, the homeowners took into consideration their changing physical needs over time, and worked with General Contractor Ben Becker to create a floor plan that would enable them to function and live comfortably. For comfortable one-floor living, their main level features a grand living space, a handicap accessible kitchen, as well as two master suites on the main floor with their own handicap accessible bathrooms. Additionally, an elevator was installed, acting as a wheelchair lift, for use in the future.

NARI’s 7 Principle of Universal Design:

  1. Design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
  2. Design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
  3. Use of design is easy to understand regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
  4. Design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
  5. Design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
  6. Design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
  7. Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of the user’s body size, posture or mobility.

Sources: http://www.nari.org/

29 Sep

Hardwood Floors

The upgrade that every prospective homeowners wants – hardwood floors. Their durability alone makes them a great investment, but the esthetic appeal is a huge draw for many homeowners. With so many new options, techniques, and trends, it can be easy to get lost in all of the hardwood flooring choices. Here are a few of our favorites from recent BLB Custom Building projects:

19 Sep

He Shed, She Shed

Until recently, the “man cave” was the highly coveted addition to any home. But, trends are now featuring big upgrades to the sad little shed that sits out in the yard collecting dust. No longer are the days of a run down tool shed, with rusty rakes and garden hoses. These new custom luxury spaces are created to provide an escape from the house, a place of tranquility, a place to call your own. We are talking about the She Shed!

As an example of the perfect She Shed, we turn to Scituate, MA based home blogger Danielle Driscoll of Finding Silver Pennies, who describes the She Shed that she built as a “[A] special place. A place I can go to think and relax. A spot away from our sometimes hectic house filled with boys (who sometimes fight and argue, but are usually pretty good).”

Finding Silver Pennies She Shed

Finding Silver Pennies’ She Shed. Photo courtesy of www.findingsilverpennies.com.

These custom spaces can range in price, starting as low as $5,000. With a focus on product selection, General Contractor Ben Becker works with the customer to maintain a budget while adhering to the desired esthetic of the space. New multi-function products, such as this woodgrain tile (see photo below), which BLB Custom Building used in a recent bathroom renovation, lend great to the She Shed, allowing for more luxury details while also maintaining durability.

10450439_726619984052658_857081660229651638_n

Woodgrain tile fooring, installed in a BLB Custom Building bathroom renovation in Newburyport, MA

And just because the days of the Man Cave may be over… who says the guys can’t also take part of this trend. Check out the Custom Cedar Pool House, built by BLB Custom Building, in Newbury, MA – or as we like to think of it, the He Shed (wink, wink).

For more She Shed inspiration, check out Popsugar’s She Shed feature HERE.