A Family Heritage: Remodeling a Whole House for a Family Coping With Dementia

by | Apr 22, 2016 | Aging in Place (Thriving in Place)


Clients Jim and Grace helped to remodel their daughter’s home and recently moved in.  Downsizing, relocating and sharing space with others would be a significant challenge for anyone.  However, their situation was made more complex by the fact that Grace has been living with dementia for a number of years.  When we sat with the families, they shared their concern about minimizing the impact of this transition on Grace, as one with dementia can have a difficult time adjusting to change.  Not just in their environment, but also in their routines.

According to the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Commission in Virginia, approximately one in eight older adults is affected with Alzheimer’s disease – a number that is expected to triple by 2050.

The Plan

Our concerns immediately aligned with that of the family members, and we all shared the goal of giving Grace a transition of ease.

The living room and the “Heritage” room, named for the nostalgic items within the space, were the two most familiar rooms in Grace’s previous home.  These spaces were measured and mapped out to nearly replicate those rooms on the main floor of their daughter’s home.  This was what truly made the design special.

The entrance to Jim and Grace’s master suite is just off of the communal space, easily allowing for both family interaction or privacy.  Their Heritage Room includes familiar pieces, such as precious family photos, antique furniture handed down from generation to generation, and other life-long possessions.  It is truly a piece of their original residence within their new home.  It is a space where Grace can be familiar with her surroundings and be comfortable spending time with her family, children, and grandchildren; or where she can relax in peace and quiet alone.

Without disruption to the kitchen space, the bathroom layout also was designed with a familiar feel. Enhancements were made to make the shower accessible for future caregivers should it become a necessity in Grace’s new home. Added details such as grab bars and a bench were incorporated.

Being on the first floor of the home, Jim and Grace have easy access to the communal kitchen space, safe entry in and out of the house, and ease of interaction with family and friends.

What Are the Possibilities in Your Home?

With aging in place becoming a common part of today’s lifestyle, certified aging in place specialists, such as Craig Durosko, are learning how to make small comforts in the home a life-changing experience.

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We were thrilled with the work performed by Sun Design. We had used a different contractor to build a porch and it was an awful experience with long delays, so we were cautious. The Sun Design team listened to all our needs, presented multiple options to meet those needs at different price points, and delivered on time and on budget for our first floor renovation. They are exceptional at communicating with their clients on what to expect during each stage of the journey and carry our strongest recommendation.

Brendan Mahon



10/10 would highly recommend Sun Design. We found our kitchen layout was too small and wasn't working for us. We told Sun Design what our issues were and what was important to us, and their amazing design team created the kitchen of our dreams. It turned into a whole first floor transformation, moving kitchen, dining room, and living room around to a configuration that worked best for us.

Ashley Norman



I am a HUGE fan of Sun Design! The first time that we worked with them was over 15 years ago. We were ready to have a deck built, but not just any deck, and of course, Jeremy was the designer at that time and I remember how he went about designing it so that it looked like "part of the house" - It is beautiful. We recently refurbished it, and it looks absolutely beautiful!

Josie Zamolyi Caldwell



Sun Design transformed our "cookie cutter" house into a spectacular, unique home. Working with Ericka was a delight - her confidence and fun personality made the process enjoyable. Ours was a complete remodel - kitchen, family room, powder room, upstairs bathrooms, and some primary bedroom work. We loved working with Sun Design so much that we will be working with them again in the future when we are ready for an addition that will add a garage and in-law suite. Highly recommend!

Patti Ahlstrom



SunDesign came up with a creative design for our screened-in porch that beautifully fits into our existing landscape. Project was executed on budget and their craftsmanship is superb. Their responsiveness to a warranty issue we had with the door was immediately addressed. We highly recommend SunDesign — their teams are awesome to work with.

Gisela Ulmschneider



We had a fairly big project to build out part of our house. Sun Design has done a phenomenal job so far. We are getting close to complete. The design process was very collaborative and the execution of the build has gone well so far. Every part of the experience has been top quality and the team we are working with is amazing. The team is expensive but they are able to walk you through where every cent goes and why and they will look at different options to try to help reduce cost. They are well worth every penny. I would want to use Sun Design for any future projects and I highly recommend them.

Jen Navarro



Maryam and Jeff from Sun Design home care department are great to work with. Maryam is very responsive and attentive to all my inquiries. Jeff is my to go guy whenever I need work or maintenance in my property, very professional and thorough with his work. I have been a satisfied customer for 2 years now.

Brigitte Siegall



Sun Design handled the renovation of our large basement several years ago. We finished our laundry room and added two walls of built in cabinets, reconfigured a storage room and run-down kitchen into a guest room and sitting area, and finished a large rec room. Everything was redone - the floors, walls, ceilings, electrical work, etc. Sun Design did a terrific job - the rooms look wonderful. Our house was built in 1962 and we had a number of glitches along the way. But Sun Design made sure that, at the end, everything looked and worked properly. I highly recommend them.

Susan Louis



I have been working with Sun Design for over 15 years. They are a great company to work with, very friendly and professional staff. They are very clean, responsive, respectful of your property and I have nothing but the great things to say about Sun Design.

Goran Zukic



This review is to introduce you to Sun Design services and to recommend them for your next project. We used Sun Design for a deck – sunroom redesign, and the end result exceeded our expectations. Sun Design is easy to work with, thinks creatively, and effectively communicates ideas to enhance projects, and thus Sun Design has my highest endorsement. The staff is knowledgeable, courteous, and friendly. They truly care about every aspect of the projects they do. They arrive on time and leave the place spotless when the work has been completed.

H. Milton Richardson

Our experience with Sun Design has been nothing short of wonderful. From our initial meeting with Craig to working closely with Morgan & Emily, every stage of the design process has been refreshingly easy despite the fact that our kitchen restructure was complex. With thoughtful consideration to our 124-year-old home, Sun Design presented plans that maintained the character of our farmhouse & resolved issues with functionality & form— all while respecting our desired budget & overall objective.

Sarah & Erkan Orman

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