Whether or not you’re close to considering retirement, you may be one of the many empty nesters who are choosing to purchase homes in active adult communities today. “While most pre-retirees expect to stay in the same state or region once they retire, 40 percent want to take the opportunity to try someplace completely different.” If that describes you, the following factors might lure you to one of the many active adult communities right here in metro Atlanta. read more
When you think about design trends for active adult homes, it’s common to focus on functional features like one-level living, wide hallways and doorways, zero-entry showers and baths with grab bars and bench seats, lever handles for doors and anything that can make everyday life easier for those over the age of 55. Yet, today’s active adult communities—which can be found popping up all across metro Atlanta—offer home buyers so much more than that. These days, they provide a chance for individuals to personally craft the forever home of their dreams, complete with a wide array of design elements that are as beautiful as they are practical. Here, we look at four current home design trends that are sweeping the active adult market and giving older residents the opportunity to spend their golden years in a truly comfortable and elegant environment. And they can be found in 55+ communities throughout the ATL.
Warm Colors, Natural Materials and Eclectic Interiors
According to Mandy Cornelison, design consultant with Kolter Homes LLC, builder of active adult community Cresswind Georgia at Twin Lakes, everything old is new again—and that includes the colors, materials and décor that active adults are selecting to use in their homes. She says, “I love the current trend of modern details and furnishings mixed with a bold or interesting antique thrown in,” noting that mixing classic elements with unique tile, trim details on walls or even a funky accent chair or pillows are all the rage today. She adds that gray tones are on the decline and making way for taupe and earth tones to come back in and warm up interiors.
According to Judie Woodall, a managing member of Strategic Real Estate Advisors, many fabrics being used are plusher and more inviting while boasting warmer hues like browns, mossy greens, raisins and ambers. “Earthy tones are back,” she observes of the trend, which can be found in many homes in Lake Arrowhead, the renowned master-planned community located north of Canton that features myriad active adult homes on lake, mountain and golf course sites. “There is less interest in coordinated spaces and matching furniture; it’s about unique pieces and thrifted finds that tell a story. There appears to be an empowerment in finding your own personal style.” What’s more, natural materials are being used liberally throughout today’s 55+ homes, with wood and stone countertops taking center stage.
“Natural materials create a more organic and inviting atmosphere,” explains Angi Sago, director of design for Traton Homes, who notes that many active adults are choosing interior elements that reflect a preference for both functionality and aesthetics. With that in mind, many 55+ homeowners are moving away from monochromatic and all-white color palettes and selecting more organic materials that complement their natural surroundings; of course, they also still have a penchant for utilitarian materials that are low maintenance and durable, such as Luxury Vinyl Plank flooring, which is waterproof and comes in a wide range of realistic finishes.
Space for Entertaining
With age comes not only wisdom, but also the chance to dedicate your days to doing all of the things you have always wanted to do—including spending ample time with the people who mean the most to you. This desire is reflected in the 55+ homes that are being designed and built today. As Cornelison notes, “A home that is open and centered around hosting and entertaining is a top request. The ability to entertain comfortably in their homes is a huge function that active adults are looking for. They value spending time with family and old and new friends at this stage of their lives and want their guests to feel welcome and comfortable in their home.”
This means that open floor plans are a must, with the kitchen often being the top area that 55+ homeowners focus on when considering the design of their home. “A bright, open kitchen with plenty of storage and countertop space is important,” Cornelison continues. Woodall agrees, noting that lots of storage is a must for many homeowners. Additionally, she says that today’s home designs make it possible to have “a well-thought-out lighting plan where you can change from remote work in the day to charming entertaining at night.”
In many cases, that entertaining can take place in the outdoor living spaces that recently have become integral in the designs of active adult homes. In fact, according to the onsite agents at Kelly Preserve in Loganville, an active adult community from Davidson Homes, outdoor living is one of the newest and most popular exterior design trends in the 55+ market, with covered or screened patios, outdoor fireplaces and grilling areas being included in plans for newly built homes. Nikki Stewart, marketing coordinator for Lennar Atlanta, also notes that covered and screened porches are the focal point of today’s outdoor home environments and allow for a homeowner’s living space to be greatly expanded.
“ customized outdoor living areas and landscape designs with entertaining in mind, including cocktail pools, fire pits, Big Green Egg grills, water features, an abundance of outdoor lighting, edible gardens and more,” Woodall reveals, adding, “Our purchasers are looking to improve their quality of life and spend more time in the great outdoors.”
Cammy Luchina, director of sales for Artisan Built Communities, points to the popularity of outdoor living spaces and garden areas as one of the most coveted design trends for home buyers 55 and older. “Active adults are looking for a social community with outdoor living spaces,” she notes. These features take a home’s living space to the next level and provide active adults with a chance to make the most of every inch of space both inside and outside of their residence.
Versatile Flex Spaces
That type of thinking also applies to the types of rooms and spaces active adults have in their homes. Typically empty nesters, these homeowners have the opportunity to decide how to use their square footage to their advantage. And today, that often means having spaces that can be used in multiple ways.
“Another key feature that active adults are loving is an additional ‘catch all’ space that they can turn into an office, home gym, extra bedroom, craft room, man cave or something else,” Cornelison explains. “This age of design is exciting because nearly everything goes. Your home is your home, and if you love a particular style or detail, you can go for it.”
According to Sago, there undoubtedly is an emphasis on having versatile spaces that adapt to different functions. She says, “This includes features like kitchen islands with integrated seating and clever storage options, enabling those spaces to serve as multifunctional hubs in the home.” What’s more, these types of features can provide specific spaces for homeowners to pursue hobbies while serving in other capacities when needed. Woodall adds, “Multifunctional rooms continue to be requested so when the grandchildren leave, a craft room is renewed.”
As these spaces are considered, it’s important to think about how you want to live—and what the coming years might look like for you. Sago concludes, “Building a house that reflects your current preferences allows you to start enjoying it immediately without the worry of future renovation projects. Keep in mind that your needs and mobility might change over time. So design your home with consideration for potential changes as you age, ensuring that it will be appealing and functional for years to come.”
Prepare for Your Design Meetings
In many of metro Atlanta’s active adult communities, you will have the chance to have your home built from the ground up. This means spending time with construction and design professionals who can help you put all of the small details in place to make your home your own. To make the most of your time with those individuals, here’s some advice from some of the people who understand the process best.
Angi Sago, Traton Homes: “Take the time to research and determine the style and color schemes that resonate with your preferences. Bringing inspirational photos to your design appointments can be immensely helpful in conveying your vision to the design team. Avoid the temptation to select all of your design options in a single visit and opt for a phased approach with smaller appointments. This helps prevent feeling overwhelmed and helps ensure you have ample time to make thoughtful decisions.”
Judie Woodall, Strategic Real Estate Advisors: “Determine your ‘must-haves’ versus your ‘nice to haves.’ Make a mood board, know your priorities and communicate them at the start of your appointment. Don’t rush but don’t linger, and don’t obsess over your decisions. Enjoy the process. You’ve earned it.”
Cammy Luchina, Artisan Built Communities: “Have fun with the process and trust the professional along the way.”
Mandy Cornelison, Kolter Homes LLC: “Designing a home is truly a process. Before your design appointment, do your homework. Look for ideas and specific finishes and color tones that speak to you. Bring photos and samples of any furnishings that are going into your new home to your design appointments. Most importantly, focus on the big picture. Picture yourself living in the space and how you want it to function and flow. It’s your home, and you should build it so that you will love and enjoy it every single day.”