Friday, April 26, 2013

NKBA 2013 Design Competition Awards

The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), just announced their Design Competition winners for 2013.  We always love to check out the winning designs, which always have a great balance of over-the-top extravagance and why-didn’t-I-think-of that practicality.  This year was no exception.  Here are the winning designs that stood out for us.
Jon Crabtree of Inspired Spaces in Minneapolis, MN, won second place in the Small Bath category for this ingenious bathroom design.  By using the entire room as the shower floor, the designer was able to incorporate the roomy curbless shower into a tiny footprint, while still maintaining an open, airy feeling throughout the room.  

In the Small Kitchen category, we loved the storage options provided in the first place winning design by Elina Katsioula-Beall from Dewitt Designer Kitchens in Pasadena, CA.  With plenty of low storage throughout the kitchen, including drawer organizers and beverage bottle niches, the users of this kitchen will be able to access anything and everything they need easily and comfortably.

All Images Via NKBA

Congratulations to all the winning designers for 2013! 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Universal Design Living Laboratory Acheives Platinum Seal of Approval

In the summer of 1998, Rosemarie Rossetti’s life was changed in an instant when she was crushed by a falling tree while out on a bike ride with her husband.  Paralyzed from the waist down, Rosmarie was fiercely determined to regain her independence, but once released from the hospital, she realized that the features in her home increased her disability.  The carpet made it difficult to roll her wheelchair, she couldn’t bathe independently, and even after installing a lift, there were many areas of her home that were inaccessible to her. 
Rosemarie and her husband, Mark Leder, immediately began research and planning for a new home, one that would be comfortable and useable for both of them.  In an effort to educate the public on the need for this type of design, they decided to make their home a national demonstration home and call it the Universal Design Living Laboratory (UDLL).  Enlisting the help of industry experts and corporate sponsors, they embarked on the project in 2005, finally moving into their home in May of 2012.

The Universal Design Living Laboratory includes an abundance of livable features, including multiple counter top heights and appliances with front-mounted controls in the kitchen, illuminated, rocker or push-button light switches throughout the home, a large amount of storage provided at a low height, lever style door hardware and plumbing fixtures, and even an elevator!  One of our favorite features is the spacious wardrobe which combines well-organized storage with laundry facilities all in one convenient spot.


All Images Courtesy of UDLL
We are thrilled to honor the Universal Design Living Laboratory with the first Livable Design Platinum Seal of Approval!   Thank you Rosemarie and Mark for all the work you’ve done to educate others about the need for universal design.  Your home is functional, beautiful and inspiring to all of us!

Have you visited the Universal Design Living Laboratory? 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Making the Outside of Your Home Just as Livable as the Inside

Typically we talk about the home environment and the features found inside the home. Did you know the area surrounding your home can be just as important?
We all have had a moment where we’ve struggled to get to the front door when moving large furniture or when trying to bring a sleeping baby in from a long walk in the stroller. Re-adjusting was probably required because you were not able to get in without having to negotiate narrow walkways or steps leading up to the front door. Wouldn’t it be nice if not only homes were completely livable but so was the entire community?
Just imagine, having a wider sidewalk so that you and your friend could run together without tripping over each other. Ever feel like you’re mountain climbing when trying to get to the top of your driveway?  Swap out your hiking boots for some comfy flip flops by incorporating a minimal slope.  Another great feature would be paved access to the electrical panel.  Just imagine how much easier it would be in a rain storm to access the area without having to trudge through the mud.
 It’s no secret that having Livable Design features inside your home can make life easier and more convenient.  But why stop there?  Making some changes outside can also make a world of difference!
Are there any features on the outside of your house that you wouldn’t want to live without?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Vertical Gardens

If you love gardening, but have a small yard, consider a vertical garden.  Not only do vertical gardens take up less space than traditional gardens, they also use less water, and are less prone to weeds and pests.  Additionally, they are easier to water and maintain without the bending and kneeling associated with traditional gardening. 
Whether you build your own trellis system, or purchase wall mounted planting containers, a vertical garden will add a lush, green, tranquil ambiance to any outdoor space. 

Image Via Fytogreen

Image Via Europlanters

Image Via Flora Grubb Gardens

Have you experimented with a vertical garden?  Share your experience with us!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Guest Post: Hypoallergenic Decorating Ideas

Today we are excited to have a guest post written by Mike Zook!  Mike is committed to good health through simplicity and natural living. You can find him fighting for environmental protection and reviewing spill containment systems for MPC Containment.
Do you find that your family members are actually more likely to start coughing, sneezing, and getting sick when you stay home than when you're out and about? Maybe you need to rethink the materials that you're using in your home design and decoration.
Synthetic materials tend to attract more allergens, so it's often better to find natural solutions and get a little creative. Here are several great ideas that will not only make your home look fantastic, but also keep everyone happier and healthier.
Wool rugs. Did you know that wool is naturally hypoallergenic? It's true! The same things that cause wool to build up all kinds of static electricity also makes those electrified particles naturally kill off many different kinds of bacteria. It's like having a self-defense rug! A few wool rugs around the house can do wonders for keeping nasty germs and allergens at bay.
Hard wood and tile and laminate, oh my! Carpets are breeding grounds for allergens and germs, so if you can remove some or all of the carpeting in your home, it can really help to make things healthier and more sterile for all of those allergy-sufferers in your life. Moreover, hard floors can make a home feel more open, as well as lighter and brighter - depending on the color, of course.
Slip covers. Almost all furniture has a habit of collecting dust and other allergens, and over time this can become quite problematic. Worse, things like couches aren't the easiest to clean. That's one of many reasons that slip covers are so great - you keep the worst of it from accumulating on your furniture, and the covers are incredibly easy to remove and toss in the washer. And from a design standpoint, slip covers make it simple to give your rooms a makeover by changing colors or styles.
Display cabinets. Most of us have certain items that are special to us which we like to put on display, such as awards and trophies to fine china, collectibles, or other knick knacks. Simply setting them out means they will be magnets for dust, dirt, and other allergens. But if you buy a nice cabinet with display windows, you can have the best of both worlds by showing off your wares while protecting your health.
Allergen-proof pillows. Throw pillows are wonderful little accents, but they can also retain allergens - unless you opt for ones that are specially designed to be hypoallergenic, such as Land's End Pure Loft. Beauty, comfort, and health all in one.
Blinds, not drapes. Fabric drapes suck in all kinds of nastiness, and if you're going to keep them in your home, you should make it a point to have them dry cleaned about every two months. But there's an easier solution. Instead of using fabric, opt for stylish wipe-down blinds. These days they're available in all sorts of styles, so they should fit your décor no matter what it is. Plus (as the "wipe-down" name implies), they are incredibly easy to keep clean and free of allergens.
Leather, leather everywhere. Really want to say goodbye to those annoying allergens? Choose leather sofas and chairs over the fabric variety. Sure, they tend to be a bit pricier, but you'll have far fewer allergy-causing substances piling up around the house.
If you are interested in writing a guest post that would educate and inspire our Livable Design readers, we'd love to hear from you!  Please contact us at info[at]livabledesign[dot]com!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Silverado Homes Reaches Gold Approval!

Construction is underway at Eskaton Village Placerville!  Silverado Homes is building 39 new cottage apartments on our Eskaton campus in Placerville, CA.  We always love to see construction going on in our communities, but this project is especially exciting for us because all of these new homes will have the distinction of having the Livable Design Seal of Approval at the Gold level! 
The homes, which will be available as rentals, will range from 320 square foot studios to 2-bedroom, 2-bath units with 820 square feet.  Some of the Livable Design features that are being included are lever door hardware, overhead light fixtures in all bedrooms and over the bathing area, and plenty of easy-to-reach storage.

Here are some photos of construction in progress.  We will post more once the project is complete!


A broad color palette creates a neighborhood feel.


All cottages feature curbless showers with reinforced walls.

We are thrilled to partner with Silverado Homes on this fantastic project and can’t wait to see the finished product!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Meet the Livable Design Team

Our mission at Livable Design is to change to world, one environment at a time.  One part of this mission includes our outreach to home builders and our efforts to change the way homes are built across America.  The other part involves an internal influence over the communities served by our parent organization, Eskaton.  Regardless of the space we are working on, our intent remains the same:  to create beautiful and functional spaces that are adaptable to any lifestyle.

We are lucky to have a talented team of people to bring this vision to life.  We all bring different strengths and experience to the table, but we share a common passion for our cause. 

Erin Clay Scherer















Erin joined Eskaton in January 2008 and managed the National Demonstration Home project located in Roseville, CA. She leads the Livable Design movement, which is aimed at enhancing home environments for all generations through beautiful, flexible and inclusive design. Erin is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist and a Certified Interior Decorator and has presented at conferences around the nation, educating building and aging industry professionals on the benefits of Livable Design. Erin also manages capital acquisition oversight for Eskaton’s 30+ communities and programs.

Ginger Gaddi















Ginger joined Eskaton in October 2010 and is our Lead Project Manager. She brings over 15 years of experience in commercial and residential construction, and is responsible for the planning and oversight of all remodel and renovation activities within Eskaton’s 30+ communities. 

Matthew Lanfri















Matthew became a member of our team in 2012 as our newest Project Manager.  He holds a Bachelor of Science in Construction Management and has 12 years of practical construction experience.  Matthew assists with the planning and implementation of construction activities throughout Eskaton communities and has bravely taken on the task of creating an organization and archival system for all projects.

Hollie Jackson-Ng













Hollie joined Eskaton in June 2011 and assists with space planning and furniture and finish selections for Eskaton’s communities. Additionally, she provides marketing and administrative support to the Livable Design team and manages the workflow of all capital acquisitions within Eskaton.  Hollie is a member of the International Association of Color Consultants and Designers and is a LEED Accredited Professional.