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Bathroom, Bedroom, Caring for the Carer, DIY, Kitchen, Lifestyle, Living Room, Mobility Aids, Outdoor Shower, Uncategorized, Universal Design

How to love your forever home in 10 steps – the Buildmumahouse easy guide.

August 16, 2019

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:

…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!!!

Lifestyle, Living Room, Universal Design

How we transformed our 1930’s fireplace in 2 days

March 31, 2019
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.


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…

Bathroom, Bedroom, DIY, Kitchen, Mobility Aids, Universal Design

Buildmumahouse Top 5 best buys of 2015 at the Winter Sales: Cheaper!

December 27, 2015

I’ve been on a mission this year to find kit out the house that I built for my mum. From showers to loo roll holders, from kitchen taps to soap dispensers and everything in between.

I have been looking for great design, well-built products that are also very practical – these are things that support independence and addresses reduced mobility needs.

So, if you have or if you know someone with reduced mobility, if you are a carer for an elderly friend or a relative, take a look at  my top 5 Winter Sale best buys – I’ve bought them, they work… And now they are CHEAPER!!

All prices as spotted by me on the company websites 10pm 27th December 2015 click through via the links for the latest deals…

1. Arc Bathroom Taps Range from CP HART

This is what I chose for my mum’s house and I was happy to pay FULL price. I love the design of these, almost an art deco modern look that compliments most bathroom styles from Victorian to a sleek modern natural stone tiled bathroom.

sale blog arc tap levers

I love that there are so many options in this bathroom range from sink taps that are separate or mixer, to the shower controls. The dual control temperature and flow give you flexibility to adjust heat or flow or there is a separate or a built in diverter that switches from an over head to a hand held shower. This shower range is ideal for either a family with the needs of different ages or for someone who needs the extra flexibility of a hand shower option to shower when you are sitting. The lever controls are ideal for anyone with poor grip and the smooth edges are ideal for arthritic (or soapy) hands, the mixer options prevent scalding. To top it all, the Arc range is exclusive to CPHart, you can be sure that are getting high end quality at an ‘Own Brand’ price.

Sounds complicated? Just tell the CP Hart sales advisor what your needs are and they will specify everything you need – that’s what I did and it all worked out really well.

The deal that I have found includes:

Arc Mono Basin Mixer:  £245.70 INC VAT    LIST PRICE: £378.00

2. BRITA Torlan 3-Way Dispenser Tap with Cartridge + FREE Installation

Don’t you just hate humping all that mineral water into your trolley at the shops? Now double that when you buy it for someone else and your arms will soon resemble Stretch Armstrong’s. Bring on the BRITA filtered water tap at Robert Dyas

Ok, I also bought this on offer but I didn’t need the free installation… I bought it before we even started building the house.

brita tap sale blog small


The lines of this tap look good, it feels well made, the levers are easy to understand and they work smoothy – great for anyone elderly or with arthritic hands and unlike the BRITA water jug there no heavy water jugs to lift. I love this model because the separate lever for the filtered water makes it economical to use. Take advantage of this price, but also of the free installation, after all it’s easy to change the filter (carers this may fall to you) but installing a tap is certainly not my cup of tea.



Winter Sale price: £164.99 Was:£275.00

3. The Memory Jogger: Lakeland Kitchen Memo Blackboard 

Screen Shot 2015-12-27 at 19.13.14


It’s cheap, it’s simple, it’s pretty, it’s handy, it’s invaluable …and now it’s really cheap. Use this chalkboard to leave a simple message: Supper is in the fridge! or a gentle reminder to Put out the Bins! or note a number to call. Simples. Love Lakeland.


Winter Sale price: £4.45 Was: £8.89 



4. Joseph Joseph C-Pump Soap Dispenser, Red / Grey at John Lewis

Anything from the Joseph Joseph range is going to be fun, clever, well thought out details, universal design and made from good quality plastic. This liquid soap dispenser works by inserting your hand palm up into the ‘c’ and pushing down with the back of your hand – no uncomfortable small, narrow nozzles to push down, and as it’s usually the palm of your hand that’s dirty – this is more hygienic. Good for my mum, good for me, great for the grandchildren.

Screen Shot 2015-12-27 at 19.30.04




Ours are green but at this price, grab one in red.




Reduced to Clear Now: £14.00 Was: £19.00


5. John Lewis Amaury Striped Glass Touch Control Table Lamp

I wish we had found this style when we were buying a touch lamp, this is the one that got away. John Lewis own brand it has an elegant striped glass shade and chrome effect finish- the shape would work well on a bedside table.

Touch lamps are great when you wake at night or when you are dozing off at night; gently touching the lamp switches it on at a low light level, then again to make it brighter then again to turn it off. You don’t have to fiddle with a switch in the night. The touch lamp is an elegant solution and this is an elegant lamp.

My number 5 top buy and the best discount of all, at 50% 


Screen Shot 2015-12-27 at 19.46.29

Its Reduced to Clear Now £30.00 Was: £60


If you spot any sale items that look good, are well designed, suitable for reduced mobility or anyone at any age go to the contact page and sign up to leave a comment…. or drop me an email at and I’ll spread the word. Happy hunting!