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Universal Design

Turn the lights on with a wide rocker…!

April 5, 2017

They were all the rage in the 1970’s and have proved to be spot on after your 70’s. I’m talking wide rockers, wide light switch rockers.

I installed MK Logic Plus wide rocker switches in my mum’s house and they have proved to be a delight for her to use. Easy on her arthritis…and as they are MK they have an light, smooth but positive switch action. Last year they went in at number 7  in  my Top 10 items in a forever home.

BUT I just didn’t realise how much of crush I had developed on my mum’s light switches over the last year…

…until my son moved into a 1970’s built flat.

I went all swoonie over his light switches. Super wide rockers, the type that you can switch on with the palm of your hand, almost as big as a polaroid picture. Needless to say I went home and by midnight had located them on Ebay.

 

Tenby Clipper switches as found on Ebay

Tenby Clipper wide rockers as seen on Ebay

They’re big, bright and easy to use and the rocker has a nice tactile texture on the surface….great when you’re trying to find the light switch in the dark.

Then the text arrived that changed all of that.

Sleek and Chic JUNG Switch Classic LS 990

jung, buildmumahouse, light switches

C) Jung Maanufaktur

My son did a bit of a dig around and found these: Jung wider rocker switches, sleek, tactile and in a massive range of colours.

Jung wide rocker

He’s using primary colours in his new flat and has chosen these Le Corbusier colour palette JUNG – totally unique.

The light switch is called the JUNG Switch Classic LS 990 and it comes in the 63 original Les Couleurs® Le Corbusier. I’m going to have to do a separate post on Corbusier colours so watch this space, but in the meantime what is so special about his colour system is that each of the 63 colours that JUNG Classic LS 990 switches come in can be combined with any other in Corbusier’s colour system.

JUNG Switch Classic LS 990 Corbusier Colours

This is so fantastic for anyone at any age – it opens up so many design possibilities and a lot of fun as Corbusier JUNG light switches also match the KEIM colour palette. KEIM paints are totally natural, water-borne, liquid silicate paints with an extremely durable, colourfast, sustainable protective finish environmentally friendly and formulated to ensure a longlife, colourfast, protective finish with low maintenance.

Keim colour palettes, colour, buildmumahouse, paint, corbusier

Keim colour palettes

Lightness coefficients: When colour provides safe navigation.

When it comes to accessibility, the colour concept should also take into account that some people may have restricted vision and perception of colour. By using high-contrast colours of different saturation and lightness levels may help to improve navigation and perception of space.

According to the DIN 32975 Standard for “designing of visual information in the public area for accessible use”, particular contrast values have to be taken into account. To calculate them and to select the desired colour combination, the lightness coefficients of the respective shades are required.

This means that you can pick a light switch colour that will give you a visual contrast between switch and background making navigation within the room easier: perfect for making your home ageproof or providing accessibility but fitting in with your personal style.

But what I love about these switches is that they feel like a quality product when you use them, the screws are obscured and you have a  functional object that looks sleek and chic. The finish is a matt because these switches have been handpainted using a special process. No need to compromise on your style just so that you can build your age proof home.

JUNG Switch Classic LS 990 in Orange Clair 32081, buildmumahouse, build mum a house, corbusier, light switch, big rocker

Find more Corbusier colours and JUNG switches on Buildmumahouse Pinterest. Installation of Jung switches is a bit baffling as there are visible no screws, visit my YouTube channel for instructions  https://youtu.be/QTf2ePYa4X0.

How we transformed our 1930’s fireplace in 2 days

March 31, 2017
buildmumahouse, build mum a house, jolapiesakowska, jola piesakowska stove, blog

It’s been an exciting week. It’s only taken two years of decision making… but we’ve done it. On Friday we had a modern multifuel stove installed into our original fireplace. It’s transformed our living room and looks fantastic.

Our fireplace still has the original 1930’s ceramic tiled surround and lovely Art Deco details, like the wavy lines decorating the mantle. We love the look and have even picked up a mantle clock with the same details. Since we have lived here we’ve have been using the ‘original’ ugly gas guzzling fire on high days and holidays or just for drying off the dogs after a walk in the rain We thought that a real fire would turn the fireplace into a cozy focal point for our living room.

STOVE SNOOZE BLOG SMALL

We started researching by talking to friends and family, digging around Pinterest and found that most people go for ripping out the old fire surround to make a large modern space for an amazing freestanding stove.

Continue Reading…

The Walk In Shower Solution That Helps You Keep your Independence in Style.

March 26, 2017
walk in shower, buildmumahouse, jola piesakowska, bathroom aging in placeaging in place,

Where can you find a non- slip, walk in shower that can be fitted quickly, in awkward spaces, without major disruption and LOOKS FANTASTIC? Have a look at the Fiora Elax shower trays that will surprise you as they aren’t actually a tray as we know it!

I recently discovered this Spanish shower room manufacturer – Fiora. I love their modern classic styling and high quality production and their company goal that sums up everything I look for in a bathroom product

“all our work must not lose sight of its main goal, which is that its use must improve the everyday life of people”

and I think that they follow through their belief that their range of bathroom products are designed to offer

“…multiple and diverse solutions.”

That’s exactly what I’m looking for in a walk in shower, good design, style, high quality and a product that is age proof and can be suitable for anyone with reduced mobility.

The Fiora Elax range looks fantastic, the styling is high end and very urban. It’s a shame that the catalogues emphasis glass walls and are focused only on the able bodied, there’s no reference to the installation of a shower seat or that they actually do cater for the needs of aging or arthritic joints.

It’s Not a Walk In Shower Tray – it’s a Mat!

I think that the Fiora Elax walk-in shower system is a solution worth considering for anyone looking for a shower tray that is non-slip, has a ‘give’ underfoot, warm to touch, and soft to stand on.

 

Bathroom, walk in shower, jola piesakowska, jolapiesakowska, walkin shower, walk in shower, bathroom trends, age in place, adapting a bathroom

copyright Fiora Elax

 

The shower tray is made of a flexible material that has a “give” making standing less tiring and it is warm to the touch – ideal for arthritic feet

 

 

 

 

bathroom makeover, walk in shower, aging in place, shower, adapting bathroom

Copyright Fiora Elax

 

 

The surface is rated at group 2 non-slip which means that it is a surface that is non-profiled (sleek) and has an even surface with a gritty texture.

 

Copyright Fiora Elax

 

 

 

and all of this is made possible because this tray arrives as a rolled up mat!

 

 

The shower tray mat comes in a range of tasteful colours which can be selected to contrast or blend in with the bathroom floor. Because this tray can be fitted level with the floor, which helps mobility issues, you can combine texture, warmth and a contrasting colour to help users with impaired vision.

 

The Perfect Solution for an En Suite Walk In Shower.

One of the problems about installing a walk in shower as an en suite without tearing the whole house apart, is that the shower needs to fit in with what space already exists. This is often a very big issue when you are installing a shower for someone who doesn’t want their home disrupted, and who isn’t feeling up to be part of a major building project.

This shower tray can fit practically anywhere. The material can be easily cut to size and shape using a knife. If you are planning to fit a shower seat you still need to look for a suitable wall to attach it to… but Fiora Elax shower tray mat can be cut and trimmed to size and shape that’s how it can fit most places.

bathroom renovation, age in place ensuite shower solution, jola Piesakowska, jolapiesakowska, buildmumahouse, build mum a house, Fiora Elax

Copyright Fiora Elax

Easy Access Shower Replacing a Bath?

It’s worth mentioning at this point that Fiora also make a range of matching and complimentary wall panels that take out some of the headache of ripping out the bath and installing a walk in shower.

Remove the old bath. Position the panels horizontally to cover the area where the untiled walls from behind the bath are exposed. Fit the shower drainage system and and lay the Fiora Elax mat to cover the footprint of the old bath.

Horizontal PANELS replacing a bath with an easy access shower

The Fiora Elax shower tray mat works like any other walk in shower tray, there are a range of stainless steel drainage grates and there are a lot of installation guides on their website. For more looks from Fiora have a look at my Instagram page buildmumahouse.

I would love to hear your comments, tips or your experiences of installing walk in showers, its such a popular thing to do these days and there are loads of people looking to share their experiences, do post them here on the Buildmumahouse blog.

 

 

 

Mobility issues and LIDL- #LIDLSURPRISES

September 19, 2016
wheelchair-checkout-and-trolley-lidl-suprises-buildmumahouse jola piesakowska

Is Lidl the only UK supermarket that has useful stuff for the elderly, disabled and anyone with reduced mobility? Are they tackling mobility issues head on?

Today, Sunday 18th September 2016, I would definitely say YES!

lidl-suprises-wheelchair-and-trolley-at-checkout-buildmumahouse

We’re all queuing up at Lidl checkout, today.

Doing my Sunday shop today, I came across a whole range of mobility aids that are really well priced and really useful. It is fantastic to find these products on the High Street and also to find a supermarket that addresses the needs of its customers. From items that help to open a jam jar, to low mobility exercise kit, these are basic items that are hard to track down and being sold at very pocket friendly price.

 

lidl-buildmumahouse-shower-stool

lidl-shower-stool-buildmumahouse

Right in the middle of the shop – no hiding of ‘disabled items’ in a corner, Lidl’s shower stool is proudly displayed.

This Shower Stool is not great for my mum’s needs – she really does need arm rests and back support, but for a basic Shower Stool, this is definitely Lidl addressing mobility issues – yes its true, #lidlsurprises. The shower seat height is adjustable, it has non-slip feet and would allow anyone who needs a bit of support the chance to enjoy their shower, and even give their feet a good scrub without fear of falling or slipping. When I was recovering from a broken leg, this stool would have been ideal.

Arm and Leg Trainer

The next item that caught my eye was the Lidl Arm and Leg trainer. This is such a good exercise item. From a seated position you can exercise your legs or arms and help yourself keep moving.

  • 2-in-1 effective training device for targeted strengthening of arm and leg muscles
  • Can be used whilst seated
  • Built-in computer with 7 functions and large,
  • easy-to-read LCD display – shows workout duration, speed, distance and calories burnt
  • Adjustable resistance for a range of strength levels
  • Size approx. (cm): W42 x H31 x D38
  • Max. 100kg

arm-and-leg-trainer-lidl-buildmumahouse

Kitchen Aids

My favourite items are the kitchen aids. A bargain at £2.49 and so useful.

lidl-surprise-pricing

#lidlsurprises: My Top Three Lidl Kitchen Aids

Grip Impaired Power Bottle Opener

lidl-bottle-opener-buildmumahouse-lidlsurprise

Didn’t know such a thing existed but this exactly what I need to open screw top bottles of fizzy water. The Power Bottle Opener is ideal if you have a  weakened grip, the extra turning power you get from this gadget makes a huge difference. Also a must for carers.

Grip Impaired Lid Opener

lidl-lid-opener-buildmumahouse lidlsurprises

Did you know a tool like this opens vacuum-sealed jars? For years I have followed the advice of a friend’s granny and I bash the edge of the jam jar lid on my worktop marble slab until I dent it so much the vacuum seal is broken. Well, no more! I now have the Lidl Lid Opener: #lidsurprises again!

The Nail Saver: Ring-Pull Can Opener

ring-can-opener-lidl-buildmumahouse-lidlssurprises

What can I say other than no more broken nails and no more bent tea spoon handles. Yes, I bought the Lidl Ring-Pull Can Opener. I also bought one for my mum so that she doesn’t do a Yuri Geller and bend all of her spoons either.

I Didn’t Buy These but I’m Sure Someone Will:

Lidl Key Turning Aid

key-turning-aid-lidl-buildmumahouse-lidlsurprises

I bought my mum one of these from an online supplier a couple of years ago. They are great for anyone with arthritis but my mum found them too cumbersome and refused to carry it in her handbag… so when I built her house, I bought a front door lock that has proved to be easy to unlock. But I’m sure someone will find that key turning aids are perfect for their needs.

jam-jar-opener-lidsurprises-buildmumahouse

If you are a regular Lidl shopper you will recognise what’s gone on here – the item has been taken out of the box and I couldn’t find any others still boxed up.

This is a jam jar opener, its a cumbersome, ugly thing but apparently it works.

#LidlSuprises?

I love the packaging design, well thought out, clear and also witty (see how 2 boxes next to each other can make up the image). Pricing is fantastic. Usefulness spot on. It’s great to see such a wide range of simple and effective mobility aids in a local supermarket and not just in a online disabled catalogue.

Massive thumbs up to Lidl, but I do wish these kitchen aids weren’t in blue and white.

Think outside the box! You’ve go the products right. Now give us some COLOUR, Lidl, we want our kitchens and homes to look lovely and personal.

5 Easy Steps to Make Your Garden Accessible and Enjoyable

September 18, 2016
Sunny garden living #london #tooting #balham #palm #interior #inspirationoftheday #Blissful #exterior #exteriordesign #textile #pattern #foliage #leag #green buildmumahouse Jola Piesakowska garden design

“I love my garden but I don’t have time for it.” “I miss my garden but I’m too old and too ill to go out there and do any gardening.”  At Buildmumahouse I’ve found that there are 5 easy steps that you can take to make your garden, patio or balcony more accessible.

It’s really important for anyone old, weakened by illness, depressed or less able …and their carers alike… to take a break, open up their horizons and enjoy all of the benefits of focusing on the wonder of nature. Doing a bit of gardening, helping plants thrive and picking the fruits of one’s patch is so good for all of us.

Plant bulbs in Autumn to cheer you up in Spring bulbs-buildmumahouse-jola-piesakowska

Plant bulbs in Autumn to cheer you up in Spring

These are 5 simple steps to make you garden more accessible and enjoyable…

Continue Reading…

The Buildmumahouse 10 step guide to your forever home.

August 16, 2016

I’ve found my forever home and I don’t intend to move. I love my home and I want to start making it the perfect nest for me. I don’t know what lies ahead for me health wise but I do want to grow old here. How can I make my home as ageproof and as beautiful as possible?

I’ve put together a top 10 step guide and suggestions based on my experiences as a carer and Buildmumahouse blogger – steps that anyone can make in order to future proof your forever home.

Step 1 – LED light bulbs

It’s an investment, they are expensive, but this takes minutes to implement and they have an immediate impact.

Over time you will find that as LED bulbs last a long time, 25,000 t0 50,000 hours, they will reduce the number of times in a year that you have to reach up, step on a ladder or chair and change the ceiling lights.

LEDs will reduce your lighting electricity bills, it’s estimated that this can be as much as a 90% saving.

Light up your life and make it easier to see. Support your eyesight by installing effective lighting and create the mood areas in your home that are favourite with interior designers. Install daylight / cool temperature lights in any food prep or craft areas and warm lights in cosy, relaxing areas. Light temperature can lift our mood – there are claims that daylight bulbs can be used to reduce the depressive symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). The right LED can change your life

jola piesakowska buildmumahouse lighting led lights open plan living ageproof mood lighting

The living area lights are warmer and the kitchen lights are spots that are usually used in retail lighting- they are direction spotlights and the bulbs have a very wide but bright even light.

…And finally make sure areas such as steps and the stairs are well lit, read my blog post with more details here.

Step 2 – Install lever taps

Easy to use lever taps don’t have to make bathrooms and kitchens look like pre – op scrub room. There are so many fantastic, well designed lever taps on the market but do invest in taps with smooth, positive mechanisms.

When looking at lever taps for a sink or shower ask yourself: Do they look nice? Do they fit in with my styling? Can I can turn the water on using only the palm of a very soapy hand and with my eyes closed ? Will I have full control of the water flow and perhaps more importantly, temperature.

Jola Piesakowska bathroom taps lever CP Hart Arc taps

Classic styling lever taps, basin and matching shower controls

In the kitchen consider lever taps with a built in water filter, I did and now I don’t have to buy unwieldy bottles of filtered water in the supermarket every week.

Jola Piesakowska Buildmumahouse Brita water tap

Kitchen lever tap with built in lever taps for filtered water

Step 3 – Bathroom Wetroom

This is a biggie and it can have maximum impact on your life and maximum disruption when you are doing the building work.

Think shower, think sitting while showering, think grab rails, think wetroom. This is such a huge subject and a few blog posts in itself but here are the main points to ageproof a bathroom:

  • Get rid of any steps in the room, avoid trips.
  • Seriously consider installing a wet room, this will give you a bathroom with a level floor. For a really cool, modern take on it, think laterally about the shower design – read my review of Jee-O
  • Use non- slip flooring, have a look at the Forbo range, or seamed vinyl Altro safety flooring.

Altro flooring

  • Don’t need grab rails or a shower seat? Prepare the wall structures for that possibility by installing a 2x 2 wood frame in the appropriate areas of any stud walls.
  • If you don’t want to get rid of your bath right now but have the budget to remodel your bathroom, consider this trade tip: create a wetroom, get all the plumbing ready for a shower but install a bath in its place. It’s a ‘temporary’ arrangement and when you need to ditch the bath, the conversion will take days not weeks.

Step 4 – Bathroom Basin

Basin, lever taps and consider installing a basin with space to sit when you use it.

Jola Piesakowska Buildmumahouse bathroom sink ageproof bathroom

Spa style ageproof spa basin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take a look at the practical HEWI range, but also think pampering and perhaps even spa – either way do make sure the basin is well secured to the wall, in case you need to steady yourself.

HEWI basin with integrated grab rails and lots of surface area surrounding it

HEWI high end design design and disability focused.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5 – Loo Pan

Look out for a toilet pan that is taller than average, to make lowering yourself easier. You don’t need to buy a ‘disabled’ loo pan just check the height of the ones that fit in with your design style.

If you have the space, select one that projects out from the wall as far as possible, this will make it easier to use with grab rails or transferring from a wheelchair.

Arthritic hands make it harder to use button flushes so do consider a cistern with a handle flush.

Step 6 – Door handles and locks

Review your door handles and door locks: a chunky door handle, well sprung, smooth in the hand and with good tonal variation from the door surface  is what you are looking for. This will help weakened or arthritic hands, and weakened eyesight.

Jola Piesakowska buildmumahouse door handle

Step 7 – Staircases

Improve the lighting on your stairs, think about low level lights that illuminate the steps or ceiling lights that illuminate the whole area.

Review the electrics – make sure that the lights can be switched on and off upstairs and downstairs and if you would like to make it mobility proof, consider adding a socket at the foot of the stairs.  So handy for the vacuum cleaning, but also makes the area ready to power a stairlift in the future. This is your forever home.

Buildmumahouse stairlist stannah stairlift jola piesakowska

Step 8 – Kitchen Cupboards

  • High visibility, easy to reach and it looks good that’s the mantra for kitchens – a base unit with deep drawers rather than a cupboard with doors improves acccess to cupboards. Look at how this can be applied to your choice of dishwashers and freezers.
  • Door handles – as with all doors, go for an easy to use, high contrast / visibility handle.
  • Waist height, side opening oven allows you to reach into the oven more easily and even better if there is a slide out shelf beneath it so you can pause and rest the hot and heavy casserole on it.
  • A high contrast worktop for good visibility, white is the best. I installed white sparkly in my mum’s house, looks great and does the job!
  • Lots of cold/white light shining down on the worktop, including under cupboard lights, everything illuminated.
jola piesakowska kitchen design

You can sit with your feet under the hob and you can option to make the height of this adjustable.

I reviewed Howden’s inclusive kitchens read through this… some of their ideas and features could work for you.

Step 9 – Electrics

Sourcing replacement light switches with wide rockers certainly is a budget installation and one that makes a difference for arthritic hands.

In this image you can see how I have clustered the wide rocker bedroom light switch with a central heating thermostat and the video door phone.

Control Centre!

Control Centre!

Step 10 – Easy Clean, Low Allergenic Flooring

Consider parquet, cork flooring, linoleum:

http://buildmumahouse.co.uk/2016/02/5-floorings-to-consider-for-people-living-with-allergies-or-asthma/

…with underfloor heating or rugs that have an anti- slip backing.

 

Wicanders cork flooring

c. Wicanders cork flooring

 

Step 10 a – Carers

Make a contingent for someone staying over, a spare bedroom or upgrade to a sofa bed.

Step 10 b – Let the Natural Light In

Read my blog post how double glass doors, use of mirrors, over sized windows and garden doors can lighten and brighten your home and increase its style.

 

All of these steps are covered individually in other posts on Buildmumahouse, have a look round for more detail. If you have any tips or hints on how you have adapted your home to make it ageproof and stylish WE ALL WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU!!!

So please, share your comments below…