We are living in the 21st century -so why then are so many adapted living solutions still clinical and uninspiring?
DESIGNATE is a unique health-focused Assessment and Interior Design Service based in Bristol but available throughout the UK.
We specialise in Inclusive Design for people of all ages and believe that everyone, including both the ‘walking well’ and those with minor or major health conditions, is entitled to enjoy aesthetic and aspirational 21st century Living. We are committed to enablement, equality, and diversity.
Our service is unique because all design work is undertaken by an Interior Designer who is also a qualified Occupational Therapist (OT) so that clients are able to benefit from working with one person throughout the design process. Dedicated to enabling people to thrive physically and psychologically at home we facilitate ‘normal living’ environments, using our Interior Design skills to focus on décor and our Occupational Therapy skills in undertaking client assessments, and risk- assessment of high street and bespoke products for safe use. Whenever possible, DESIGNATE designs feature stylish alternatives to traditional clinical solutions, but in cases where standard disability- specific products are necessary these are cleverly disguised!
The key to producing successful designs is client involvement at every stage of the project, and so we use aninteractive 2D and 3D CAD design programme that produces full colour realistic room visualisations. By working together, client and designer are thus able to turn dreams into reality ,creating living spaces that are aesthetic, safe, future-proofed stimulating and exciting.
How we can help: We can give advice only or undertake small and large projects.
NB: We do not Project Manage or purchase equipment direct.
Clients must be self-funding (but we will also work alongside DFG professionals)
Costs: – POA – Every project is bespoke – Hourly or Project Rates are available.
Case Study 1 – Seaside Cottage Conversion ( Showing 3 of 8 areas)
Commissioned by a client, living with a degenerative neurological condition, to work closely with himself and the architect in converting a seaside cottage into an aesthetic home that maximises his current independence and future-proofed to accommodate deteriorating mobility and live – in carers.
Environment to be AT controlled and equipment to be Hi-spec and unobtrusive, Décor to be ‘themed’ in Art Deco Style. This Design Brief was successfully achieved by DESIGNATE maximising coastal views and using a pallet of ‘All colours of the Sea and Shore’ throughout. allrooms.
Bedroom - featuring:
• Guldmann Hoist
• Eclisse Pocket doors ( x 2)
• Theraposture Fully-profiling bed
• Carpet – Bespoke (client choice
made from recycled fishing nets)
En-suite – featuring:
• Black accessories – Rails / infrared tap /shower(s) ( Hand -held + Rain)
• Geberit Aquaclean 8000
• Guldmann Hoist
• Valiryo Body Dryer
• Built in shower seat / linear drain/
• Wall Board /Hexagonal Wall Tiles/ Non-slip Floor Tiles.
Wheelchair Accessible Kitchen - featuring:
• Wall-mounted Neff Hide and Slide Oven
• Continuous worksurfaces for easy moving of meals and drinks
• Upstand = Art Deco Tiles
Case Study 2 – Bedroom for ‘T ‘aged 5 living with Cerebral Palsy
This was part of a major house remodelling project and involved working with the family architect, community multi-disciplinary team, the Local Authority OT and the Environmental Health Officer in order to secure a Disabled Facilities Grant. The Local Authority OT had recommended that ‘T’ should have a bedroom / Therapy Room on the ground floor, but this proposal was unacceptable to her mother who understandably wanted her young daughter’s bedroom to be on the same floor as her parents.
The Design Brief was to provide an alternative scheme featuring an upstairs bedroom, to be non-clinical in appearance, and with versatile space that would accommodate a Through Floor Lift and also an area for Therapy. This was successfully achieved by storing the therapy gym equipment in the (white) cupboard and, when the lift was descended, using the vacated space as a Therapy Area.
Case Study 3:-Accommodation for a gentleman aged 73 living with MS.
This Multigenerational Living Project involved working closely with the client, architect, and client’s father.
The Design Brief: To design an extension to the family home, to provide independent living space for the client’s father and also enable direct access into the main family house – a Georgian detached property within its own grounds. The family requested the extension should be future-proofed, as although the clients’ father is currently mobile using one walking stick it is possible that in time he may become a full-time wheelchair user and require a live-in carer. They also requested a versatile space so that, if no longer required for parent accommodation, it could be used instead as accommodation for adult children, an entertaining space, for business purposes etc..
It was agreed the extension would be built in the style of an ‘Orangery’ and comprise 2 bedrooms, an open-plan lounge/kitchen/diner and a Jack and Jill wetroom.
Maintaining physical and psychological health and personal independence were essential considerations and so level access throughout, access to outdoor space and maximising countryside views were integral. The biggest challenge was limited internal space and so DESIGNATE’s design incorporated clever space saving solutions both in equipment and furnishings. The render visualisation below shows the lounge area of the open plan room featuring Eclisse (Pocket) doors, sofas for easy independent transfers with space beneath to allow future use of a portable hoist if necessary. Further future-proofing is illustrated by inclusion of an E-Move chair –a powered wheelchair that is compact and highly manoeuvrable within confined spaces.
Our home should be a sanctuary, a comfortable place to live in and be proud of, enjoyed, and where friends and family can be entertained.
Unfortunately, nothing in life is certain. No one can foresee the future and all too often homes are designed to meet only current and not future needs, sadly becoming not friends but foes to the occupants. Options are therefore limited – either to remain and cope at the expense of dignity, or, reluctantly to move.
At DESIGNATE we firmly believe that ‘a home should be for life’ ready and able to accommodate life events from the cradle to the grave, including temporary or permanent physical impairments.
So, whether the project is a simple home-makeover, property extension, refurbishment, or a New Build we create future-proofed environments that are beautiful safe functional, enabling, and enhance property value. We use an interactive 2D and 3D Interior Design programme that produces full-coloured room renders that give realistic pictures of the developing and finished project.
We strongly believe in client engagement, and so client and designer work together in creating interiors that not only feature the client’s choice of colours and furnishings but also incorporate the necessary space requirements to meet their current and future needs.
The service covers all types of housing: Privately owned, Tenants and Landlords Social Housing Charities and Supported Living.
This is becoming an increasingly popular style of living in the UK.
In the 21st Century Multi-generational Living is no longer considered only as an option for the caring of aging relatives, but as a means of accommodating and supporting the wider family. For example, adult children that may be unable to afford independent accommodation or have left home only to return as the result of losing a job, home, or a marriage / partnership breakdown. They may also bring with them their own young children.
Multi-generational Living a great idea in principle but is not for everyone.
It is a decision not to be taken lightly. Rarely can it be achieved without either adding a major extension to the existing family home or moving to a larger property - and the process can take 1 – 2 years to complete. Adjusting to a new living situation will be physically psychologically emotionally and socially stressful to everyone involved. Each individual will have their own expectations regarding roles, contributions, and personal space but these are seldom voiced, and assumptions are made often with disastrous results.
At DESIGNATE we are experts in successfully achieving harmonious Multi-generational Living and have developed a 7 stages process. By combining our occupational therapy, communication, and interior design skills we are able to guide our clients through each stage from initial discussions to family residency.
Stage 1 A facilitated conversation: Each family member can safely voice their personal views and expectations. If conflicts can be resolved by negotiation, and overall harmony and agreement achieved we then guide our clients through the subsequent stages. If not, then we are able to suggest and explore alternative options to Multi-generational Living.
Stage 2 Agreement: Mutual agreement that Multi-general Living will work.
Stage 3 Budget: Establishing an overall (realistic) budget and apportioning it appropriately
Stage 4 Property Search: Assisting the search /accompanying clients to view properties
Stage 5 Shortlisting / 2nd viewing /Purchase: Ensuring property is suitable for adaptation
Stage 6 Adapting / modifying Property : Interior Design / assessment/ equipment provision
Stage 7 Move – In Project completion and celebrations!
It is really important to plan ahead for retirement living but many people are reluctant to do so, being resigned to the unwelcome but inevitable prospect of having to spend their later years in a Residential Care /Nursing Home. Many are unaware of the alternatives currently available that enable people to choose a lifestyle that suits the personality of an individual.
The most common options are:
Downsizing –from a house into a flat
Retirement flats -for totally independent Living
Extra Care Housing -Independent Flats but with care services on-site
Supported Living – Co-living semi-independently with a manager on-site
Multi-generational Living – Moving in with family
Staying at Home – Independent living with day care input from care services
- Maximising Independence with Live-in Care – daytime or 24 hours
Residential / Nursing Care Homes
Whatever the choice, early planning for change in circumstances is essential not only financially but also practically and emotionally.
Whatever option is chosen will involve major upheaval.
DESIGNATE helps clients through all stages of the adjustment process. Using our Occupational Therapy skills, we support clients physically psychologically and emotionally in preparing for, and coping with, the changes and adapting to their new lifestyle so that, ultimately, they will have the confidence and enthusiasm to be able to thrive in their new or reconfigured environments.
Our Interior Design skills in space- planning and décor enable clients to create, personalise and make safe their new home. They are also invaluable in the case of Live-In care where space may require major reconfiguration to accommodate the requirements of Care Companies for their carers and possibly introduction of major items of equipment required to care for their clients.
DESIGNATE is committed to dignified living and equality. We consider that in the 21st century it is unacceptable that equipment for people with disabilities is still, in general, only available through specialist shops or outlets that only sell ‘disability – specific equipment. This is undoubtedly due to the current clinical appearance of equipment solutions. There is little choice in regard to colour. Beige continues to predominate, occasionally interspersed with red, blue, or grey.
We are determined to change the status quo and so are interested in working with
forward – thinking manufacturers to develop enabling products and equipment that is aesthetic, functional, acceptable to clients and their families, and attractive to major stores such as M & S and John Lewis for display and purchase.
As Inclusive Interior Designers we were delighted to be invited by Impey Showers to help them in developing their Slimfold Shower Bench and Slimfold Shower Seat. These have used these in several of our Interior Design projects as they meet all safety functional and aesthetic requirements and are available in a range of colours, enabling them to blend seamlessly into the overall room design.