BOON TIONG APARTMENT

Size:      100 sqm
Status:  In progress

How can we design an apartment to be elder-friendly, safe, and yet warm and homely? This design is for a couple, advanced in age and whereby mobility is a future concern. Their original apartment lacks enough storage and has books, memorabilia, snacks, clothes, containers, soft toys all over the house. The children are fully grown adults but the parents still keep their soft toys and other childhood items. This results in immense clutter, unusable spaces, unsafe passageways, and general lack of space, so much so even the grandchildren are prevented from going to the apartment due to the clutter. Furthermore, one of them suffer from a condition where they can spontaneously faint, meaning that serious injury could be just one accident away.

Our design intends to “revive” the apartment: give the elderly parents a safe place to live-in, allowing for children and grandchildren to come, and yet have the necessary storage spaces for all their items. Bright spaces, good illumination and clearly articulated doors/handles/furniture for easy visibility. Large open spaces for easy movement and provision of grab-bars to assist mobility. Open connected spaces for visual and aural connection between occupants (in case of emergencies). Vast cabinetry storage spaces are designed to contain all their clutter (without forcing them to dispose, which is heartbreaking). Lower cabinets come with drawers for easy access. Even a cabinet space to keep a mattress is designed close to the bedroom, in case a helper is required for care-taking in future.

One special innovation is the integration of typical grab-bars that assist mobility into the home cabinetry designs. Whether it be full height cabinets or low cabinets, a specially designed timber handrail is integrated into the design, and with a LED strip light behind which provides clarity and illumination to the spaces.Looking less like a handrail than those in cold hospital spaces, these handrail function also as protective edging for the cabinets, for cushioning potential fall impacts. All other corners in this apartment are curved for this purpose, from the wall corners to kitchen / bathroom countertops.

The doors are designed as large sliding doors which can be parked in open position in normal times, since privacy is less a concern. This means they do not have to keep opening and closing doors, which can become troublesome. Large openings and replacing all kerbs with gentle slopes allow easy entry/exit.

The generous use of white and light woods help make the spaces feel bright, warm, cosy and homely. Vinyl wood-look flooring provides a “soft” floor which can cushion falls, while providing something easy to maintain and the necessary anti-slip properties.

 

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