The first post in my new series on making my new place a lifetime home. Hope you enjoy the ride!
Read time: 3 minutes
Remind me never to move again.
This month my husband and I moved flat. After two years of living (almost genuinely) on top of one another in a tiny studio flat, we decided enough was enough and we deserved a home with two internal doors, an oven, and a window that you can see the sky from.
But you forget, don’t you? That moving is bloody hard. The packing, the lifting, the money, the stress, the cleaning, the unpacking, the seemingly never-ending admin of changing addresses and setting up bills. It’s no walk in the park. I think we blank it out otherwise who would do it? (sounds weirdly like childbirth so I hear…). But after moving about seven times in the last decade (gimme a cheer if you are a fellow renter!) this time we have reached the promised land of an affordable decent sized one-bed flat (plus windowless box room! – the estate agent was so excited) in a decent part of London and I swear I am never moving again.
OK OK, so I don’t really imagine we’ll want to live here forever. Jobs change, family and health happens, landlords get selly, all sorts of external things can change our trajectory that we can’t begin to anticipate right now.
But we might. And could we even do it if we wanted to?
And that’s what this is all about. Could we actually live here into old age? And what would we need to do if we did? And what would it mean along the way?
So here’s the thing. I have decided to make our new flat a bit of an experiment to put into practice what I preach and see if I can make it a lifetime home. A home that we love and which lets us lead the life we want to live now, but one which also allows us to grow old in as we want and love just the same. In theory the benefit is not only a house that works better for us now and in the future, I hope it will also make our home more visitable for friends and family – from prams to grans – at any time. Win-win right?
Lots of people call this future-proofing, but I hate this term as I discuss in another blog. It’s really just common sense home improvements; little things you can do incrementally as you make the upgrades and redecoration we all inevitably make over the lifetime of a home anyway, but which have the potential to have huge impact on your happiness and independence in the long run.
It’s a bit like a pension for our home I guess – investing in making a home that can support us in older age. Actually, scrub that, that’s even less sexy than ‘future proofing’. And actually unlike a pension you don’t have to wait to retire before you benefit – it pays out immediately. It has the power to make life a little bit nicer for everyone along the way.
So, with my background working with older people and all the amazing people I have met in the world of inclusive design while establishing TPGP, I am going to chart the whole journey of trying to make my new flat a home fit for us at age 82, but right now instead, age 32. I’m going to document what it really means in practical terms, everything I learn and attempt along the way, interesting things I discover, the challenges I face and choices I make. I hope to provide plenty of information and inspiration along the way too; making things realistic and replicable will be a major part of this. And most importantly, making a home that totally rocks too (this is my real home after all!). Hopefully showing that a lifetime home doesn’t have to be drab and depressing – it can be bold, individual and fun.
One last thing: I am doing it with the added challenge of being a renter, meaning I do not have full control over my own housing destiny and if I want to change things on any scale, I may not be able to. But renters are masters of adapting – making the best of what we have got when we’ve got it – which I think in this adventure may actually be an advantage. Certainly an interesting angle to find out about what you can and can’t achieve. It could all be a complete folly or it could be genius! We shall see. I know I’m excited to find out.
I would love if you wanted to join me on this weird and wonderful adventure too – let me know your thoughts along the way about what I’m doing, maybe even give me some hints and tips of your own. Goodness knows I’ll need them! And let’s see what happens together!
And remind me never to move again.