Say goodbye to the McMansion. According to a leading real estate website, Trulia.com, 2011 was officially the year that homes over 3,200 square feet ended their dominance and appeal.But don't think that downsizing means downgrading. In fact, homeowners are looking to upsize their amenities to help them enjoy every inch of their homes. And, while many different generations are following this trend, Boomers are a unique group, looking to enjoy their smaller nest now that the kids have flown the coop - yet ensure that their homes are filled with the many amenities they'll require for their golden years. Anything but basic baths: While they may purchase a smaller floor plan, mature adults are looking for ways to turn ordinary rooms into extraordinarily indulgent experiences. In the bath, that means the ultimate spa experience - from elaborate showers to heated floors and towel warmers. But when it comes to the bathroom, it's just as important to keep it safe. Luckily, safe can also equate to stylish. Try installing comfortable seating for the shower with a beautiful fold-down shower seat made of teak and aluminum; or updating common bath accessories such as a paper holder, towel bar or shelf with a new integrated version that combines each accessory with a grab bar for added safety. "Our goal is to make every bath a safe bath. And, for savvy homeowners looking to incorporate safety at any age, it's essential we provide products to meet their safety and style requirements," says Laurie Birko, Moen Home Care brand manager. "Our newest products, such as our Fold-Down Shower Seat and Grab Bars with Accessories look like decorative pieces rather than safety devices, so homeowners no longer have to choose between safety or style ... they can have both." Kitchens that cook ... and more: Different generations have very specific desires in terms of creating a kitchen to meet their needs, and according to findings from the Research Institute for Cooking and Kitchen Intelligence, boomers are looking for kitchens with amenities that will assist with entertaining. These upgrades may include cooktops with special-purpose features, such as a built-in grill or wok; commercial or professional-grade appliances; a built-in coffee pot connected directly to plumbing or an oven that dramatically reduces cooking times without microwaves. Bedrooms that sizzle: Mature adults still know how to spice up their bedroom with hot amenities, including fireplaces, heated mattress pads and large-capacity warming cabinets for blankets, robes, towels and clothing. Convenience-based bedroom trends include a laundry room off of the master suite, remote-controlled window treatments and voice controlled lighting and electronics, making your mature boudoir much more magical than your childhood bedroom. The greater outdoors: No-mow lawns have sprouted up as a time-, water-, fuel- and money-saving alternative to the traditional lawn. These lawns have been around for over a decade in parks and other public spaces. Now they're catching on with homeowners - particularly with the growing population of second-homeowners who don't want to spend their precious getaway weekends mowing the lawn. They're also becoming popular with mature adults who are simply tired of the rigors and high cost of constant lawn upkeep. For homeowners in colder climates who are tired of the hassles and hazards of snow removal, driveway heating systems are an ideal amenity. Radiant driveway heating systems provide heat similar to indoor in-floor heating systems. Heat is delivered with either electric cable (electric systems) or by hot water pumped through plastic tubing (hydronic systems) compacted in the surface. Most driveway heating systems have automatic smart sensors that turn the systems on when it begins to snow, providing great consistency and reliability for snow removal, whether you're home or not. And, with safety always a concern - both indoors and out - driveway heating systems are not only convenient; these systems are potentially lifesavers, helping prevent heart attacks, frostbite and back pain commonly associated with snow removal. Driveway heating also helps reduce injuries due to slips and falls, and possibly liability due to such accidents. Regardless of the size of your home, whether you build new or buy used, filling your empty nest with hot amenities will help to make your golden years as good as gold. For more information about Moen Home Care bath safety products, visit moen.com.
********** Published: December 22, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 36