Aging in Place: Blending Households from Afar
Carol Mailander, formerly a resident of Los Altos, CA, moved to Fairfax, VA to retire-in-place with her daughter, her son in-law, two grandsons and the family dog. In 2017, Sun Design began construction on Carol’s in-law suite.
Prior to moving to Fairfax, Carol would visit during the summer months to watch her grandchildren and it was during her last couple of visits when she realized that she was going to need to make significant changes in her life.
“We are seeing this more and more,” explains Craig Durosko, Founder of Sun Design Remodeling. “Blending multi-generational families under one roof can benefit both the parents and grandparents, if it is planned well. The grandparents tend to babysit for their grandchildren and then when the time comes, the grandparents are cared for in the comfort of their own space, with family nearby.”
Carol observed, “I’ve been living alone for the past 20 years. It was a major step for me to move 3,000 miles and give up all that was familiar to me, but I knew I had to make a change while I was still in good health.”
The unique aspect to the new build was that Carol had her home addition designed while she was still living in California. All her design reviews were conducted through Skype. The advantage was that Carol was able to narrow down what furniture pieces she wanted to incorporate into her new space. Creating an in-law suite design that was both connected to the family, yet still had privacy, was important, but it was consideration for her personal belongings within the design that really made her new space feel like her own.
“We plan for our careers, our children going to college, and we even plan our vacations, yet we don’t plan for the transition years when we can no longer take care of ourselves,” Craig observes. “Yet those who do make housing plans in advance have a considerably better quality of life.”
In addition to a master suite, Carol has her own private entrance, a bright sunroom for TV viewing or reading, and a kitchenette. Her master bathroom features a walk-in shower with low profile entry and tastefully placed grab bars.
Carol shared, “I have no regrets with my investment. My future is guaranteed now; my family will be there for me as I age in place. I’m the envy of my friends who worry about their future and wonder ‘Who’s going to take care of me?’ ”
About the Author:
Beth Walters, Director of Communications, joined Sun Design in January 2011. As the Director of Communications she analyzes the local market and proposes and implements strategies through market research, advertising and sales promotion programs. This involves designing, implementing, and facilitating annual marketing plans for the firm, translating business objectives and strategies to develop brand portfolio objectives, developing strategies to facilitate business growth, and developing all promotional and marketing materials.
She brings to Sun Design and its clients over a decade of experience in land development, community associations management, new home construction, remodeling, interior design and marketing. Before joining Sun Design, Beth was Marketing and Designs Manager for a leading new home builder in Virginia Beach, VA. Prior to that, she was the Community Associations Manager for KETTLER in McLean, VA. She has earned certifications from a number of urban planning, real estate and development organizations.
“I’ve always had a passion for architecture and then developed a craze for generating buzz. When my husband and I decided to move back to our home town I interviewed at a couple places, but when I met with Sun Design, it was love at first sight. The atmosphere in the office is electric… very addicting to one that likes high energy.”
Beth is married and has three little ones at home to keep her on her toes 24-7.
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