4 Tips for Retiring in a Two-Story Home

Posted by Helene McQuaide on 5th February 2019

Spending your retirement years in an apartment may seem like a good idea, but it’s not always easy to give up your home when you’re ready to stop working. Fortunately, a few of these home remodeling tips can improve the safety and comfort of your two-story Pittsburgh house.

Add a First Floor Bedroom and Bathroom

Temporary or permanent mobility challenges may make it difficult for you to climb the stairs to reach your bedroom or bathroom one day. Adding a first floor bedroom and a full bathroom (if you don’t have one on the first floor) can help you ensure that you’re ready for any challenges that may occur.

Grab bars, enhanced lighting, a raised toilet, non-slip flooring and other features will make your new bathroom accessible. You may also want to consider a walk-in/roll-in shower. The showers eliminate thresholds on the floor, which makes showering easier if you have a mobility issue or are confined to a wheelchair.

Just because you add a first floor bedroom and bathroom now doesn’t mean that you have to use it immediately. Your future bedroom can serve as a home office, guest room or craft room in the meantime.

Consider a Ramp or Elevator

Moving your bedroom downstairs isn’t the only option if you’re concerned about navigating the stairs when you grow older. Ramps and elevators offer another choice. Although both will require significant renovations to your home, they offer an excellent choice if you don’t want to give up your second-floor bedroom.

Ramps are particularly helpful if you have a split-level house or your home contains a sunken living or family room. Although poorly constructed or industrial ramps can look out of place, your home renovation contractor can create a ramp that becomes a beautiful architectural feature.

Relocate Your Laundry Room

Is your laundry room in the basement? Back in the early part of the 20th century, the dingy basement was a perfectly acceptable spot for a washer. Unfortunately, the architects of older Pittsburgh homes didn’t have the ability to see into the future. They probably couldn’t imagine that people would ever want to do laundry on the main floors of their homes.

Although a basement laundry room may only be a minor inconvenience when you’re young, the location may present a major obstacle when you grow older. If you develop arthritis or balance issues, walking up and down the basement stairs may become impossible. Moving your laundry room to your first floor during your renovation will make your life easier, plus you’ll get a light, bright, modern place to wash and dry your clothing.

Make Your Home’s Exterior Virtually Maintenance Free

Falls are the top cause of death for people 65 and older, according to the National Safety Council. Despite the sobering statistic, many older homeowners still paint their homes themselves and climb ladders to clean gutters and windows.

Painting is unnecessary when you install stone, fiber cement, engineered wood or vinyl siding or other low maintenance materials on your home. Windows that tilt in for cleaning and gutters with integrated guards mean you’ll never have to risk your life with these dangerous chores.

Could your two-story home benefit from a retirement renovation? Master Remodelers can help you update your home and recommend a few changes that will help you age in place. Contact us for information about our design/build process.


National Safety Council: Top Causes of Unintentional Injury and Death in Homes and Communities


National Association of Home Builders: Aging-in-Place Remodeling Checklist


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