By Ann Burnside Love
• Realistically, floor plans for retirement homes were designed when the building or cottage group was originally conceived. So, the dimensions determined by architects may vary slightly as the actual working drawings are produced. There’s a reason good carpenters “measure twice, cut once.” Things change: administrators may hear from the sales office that more future residents want a particular model apartment or villa and there’s less demand than anticipated for another model. So they alter the model mix accordingly, and, with that decision, room dimensions may shift. Be sure to measure!
• Larger pieces of your furniture may require a precise fit: Smaller will work but a few inches too big and now you can’t open the front door properly, get into the hall closet, reach over to that windowsill, or get both the dressers into the bedroom. Surely you don’t want to move that treasured sofa, hutch, desk or carpet without knowing for sure it will actually fit. In my own experience, my study was nine inches longer than on the floor plan. Great! Now I have a space on one end to store tray tables and on the opposite side tall things like my painting easel.
• What’s the take away here? All floor plans are estimates. Tape measure in your pocket by now? The day before I moved, my daughter and I measured and placed folded sheets, tablecloths and towels to mark the exact place on the carpet that each piece was to be placed by the movers.
• And while you’re measuring, consider the aesthetics. Walk around. Stand in the corners of each room. What direction does the light come from? What exposure — north, south, east, west — will you have? How about your view? Are there gardens, trees or landscaping features? Can you orient any furniture accordingly? May you plant your own flowers and bushes around your villa? Will your small apartment balcony, like mine, work for container gardening? My children refer to mine as “Mom’s Rainforest” — suggesting I use a machete to get to my chairs. Pluses like these can positively affect your mood and/or energy.
• Are there special features in your home that make a real difference to you? Mine are the deep windowsills. My 40-year-old dwarf orange tree is growing its annual crop on one. Cacti live on the one behind my computer, because they don’t need much water near my cluster of electrical gear. Then there’s the double windowsill in my bedroom, which belongs to Vanessa, the cat. She observes the weather, passing birds and dogs, and is clearly in charge of the modest traffic in the parking lot below.
Thus, it’s not all how your furniture fits, but also how your new home feels to you! Carry on!