No. of Recommendations: 4
LakeDog you age is a factor - the longer you have to live, the more your personal situation will change. I am 73, so I tend to think about issues for elderly people a whole lot more than I did 30 years ago. I feel strongly being able to live on one floor is almost critical - that means cooking, bathing, TV, etc. Right after single floor living is entering and exiting the living floor.

A lot of different things can make mobility an issue, so wider doors for baths. A shower that can be entered by wheelchair or at least that does not have barrier to be stepped over can make a huge difference. Grab bars or at least blocking in the walls so grab bars can be installed without ripping out shower walls is a good investment.

When we remodeled our bath, we added two 12 inch square by 3.5 inch deep shelve to hold chemicals and equipment.

Personally I don't like the appearance for much of the handicap access kitchen fixtures - I would wait and remodel if needed. Some bath fixture are clean and modern, but one gives up the under sink storage -- it is a trade off whose value depends.

I feel we are in a period of changing climate. So far the Atlanta area is only warmer, more humid and a bit more rain. But folks in the Southwest, California and the agricultural midwest have seen more dramatic changes. I would think about what if we get a lot more or a lot less precipitation. Certainly the people locating Interstate Roads in Arizona did not consider getting 6 to 10 inches of rain in a few hours.

Regarding costs, over the years I have done several projects and my experience mirrors that builders advise - very few people make a $10,000 mistake. But many people make hundreds of small choices that total up to big money. One example - I went to Home Depot and looked at light switches (simple single pole variety) and switch cover plates. With the nice large switches and cover plates cost is $4.66 per switch. The house I grew up in had the older style and those come at $1.79 a switch.

A few years ago, my wife decided she did not like the brass door knobs. That lead the door hinges. We spent several hundred dollars replacing functional brass with brushed nickel. Then we replace the brass and chrome bath room fixtures.

Also in my experience the largest single cost reducing choice I have made is spending a lot of time obtaining a contractor and then doing the job on a Time and Materials basis. No contractor can stay in business without pricing jobs higher than what the contractor can see, so a fixed bid always has some padding. Further, if you don't trust the contractor enough for a Time and Materials basis, you need a different contractor. That said, I always ask for a good faith estimate and make it clear I am to be advised when anything is found that is a material change. Construction jobs seem to work better with clear communication and with only one person authorized to make changes.
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