6 Considerations for 55-Plus Home Design

One of our builders, Miller & Smith, had a blog that was recently features in Professional Builder Magazine.  Miller & Smith’s VP of Marketing, Kim Ambrose, details 6 considerations for 55+ home design and talks about what makes Birchwood at Brambleton an ideal location for 55+ Living in the mid-atlantic region. Take a look below at and see for yourself what Boomers are looking for in a home design.

6 Considerations for 55-Plus Home Design

By Kim Ambrose| Posted by Professional Builder Magazine | September 13, 2019
Birchwood_club_house_at_ Miller_7_Smith_Brambleton_community

Boomers are redefining aging by trading in early-bird specials for fine dining, cafeterias for locally sourced coffee shops, and “senior housing” for “active lifestyle.” So can redesigning the physical environment for seniors redefine aging itself? Here are six considerations for 55-plus home design:

1. Similarities with Other Life Stages

Boomers value much of the same amenities and features as Generation X, Generation Y, and Millennials, such as open concept floor plans with great rooms and large kitchens, light and natural luxury hardwood or vinyl plank flooring, quartz counters, and other luxury finishes. While first floor owner suites are in high demand for the Baby Boomer buyer, Millennials are also gravitating to ranch-style homes as well.

2. Beyond Four Walls

Although home style, design and layout are important, a life outside the house plays a bigger role in Baby Boomer’s new-home purchase decisions. In a recent survey, the AARP and the New York Times found that, when it comes to aging, respondents 55 and older looked most forward to having free time for family, friends and activities they enjoy. Their biggest fear was losing independence. All of which suggests a desire to stay connected to their current community. As a result, homebuilders and developers are paying equal attention to both physical amenities and the creation of social amenities.

For example, Birchwood at Brambleton, a 55-plus community in Ashburn, Virginia, recently opened the clubhouse which includes both an indoor and outdoor pool, a demonstration and catering kitchen, indoor and outdoor bars, game rooms, a wellness center, several arts & crafts rooms and multiuse space for parties, entertaining and special events. Creating a space to foster social interaction is key as the Boomer buyer craves connection with soft programming essentials such as clubs and activities.

3. Unretirement

According to Pew Research, the majority of Baby Boomers are still in the labor force, and the oldest among them are staying in the labor force at the highest annual rate. However, they blur the lines between traditional work and official retirement. As Boomers think about what they want to do next, many are turning to entrepreneurship. In fact, 25% of all business are started by people 55 to 64 years old. The older entrepreneurs are turning their passion into a business out of their home or a shared workspace. As a result, 55-plus home designs now include thought nooks or craft spaces, built-in desks and office spaces, or access to a clubhouse with a designated multiuse space.

4. Words Matter

Boomers are not motivated by the fear of aging. Instead, they’re attracted to a lifestyle change focused on wellness, health and community. Developers and home builders are taking note and reimagining the aging process by turning away from stigmatic and stereotypical branding, features and home trends. Gone are the days when marketers branded community with terms such as “senior housing” or “retirement living.” Even the term “active adult” is on its way out and considered a bit taboo. We’re now seeing the rise of “resort-style living” and “active lifestyle homes” used across age-restricted communities.

5. Special Degree of Staging

What is the biggest challenge for designing a 55-plus home? 
Coupling the latest design trends with subtle aging-in-place features and marrying modern touches with tried-and-true traditional elements for the nuanced Boomer consumer. While single-level living is popular for 55-plus, builders are taking it a step further by adding elevators to multi-level homes. The aging-in-place feature allows homebuyers to stay put longer when mobility challenges set in. Additional features for 55-plus homes also include: deep toe kicks under cabinets to reduce bending, raised ovens, dishwashers, vanities and toilets, lever handles for faucets and doors vs. traditional knobs, and zero step living for home entrances, showers and garages.

In terms of aesthetic, cool-toned grays and silver accents are on their way out as homebuyers gravitate to warmer neutrals and metallic finishes. Overall, we’re seeing a Boomer preference for modern traditional home design rather than the contemporary style. For example, while the minimalist white and gray palette is still popular among younger demographics, the older generation is shifting preferences to greige and brushed bronze.

6. Sub-Neighborhoods over Snowbirds

In the mid-Atlantic markets, we’re seeing 55-plus homeowners stay local rather than migrating to the major retirement hubs in Florida or Arizona. In the case of Birchwood, which is a sub-neighborhood of the master-planned Brambleton community, many of the homebuyers had family near the Ashburn area or even within the market rate neighborhoods of Brambleton. Providing a strong amenity package, a walkable community with access to nature, shopping, and soft social programming was key for these Boomer buyers.

Birchwood at Brambleton Pickleball players


Birchwood at Brambleton Recognized Nationally

Birchwood at Brambleton 55+ community in ashburn, virginia
In its first year of opening, Birchwood at Brambleton has been recognized nationally as one of  “The 10 Best New Communities of 2019” by 55places.com, and the only active adult community in Virginia to make their list!  Take a look at what 55 Places had to say about Birchwood, listed as the number 8 top 55+ community in the nation:

#8: Heading back to the Mid-Atlantic, Birchwood at Brambleton is located in the popular Washington D.C. area in Virginia. Built by multiple builders, Birchwood at Brambleton will have over 1,500 age-restricted condos and attached homes upon completion. 

 The community has a long list of amenities, some already built and some currently under construction. They include a 20,000-square-foot clubhouse with a health and wellness center, hobby rooms, a golf simulator, an outdoor pool, and an outdoor kitchen. There are also courts for pickleball and bocce, a community garden, and a fishing pier for catch-and-release fishing.”

Birchwood at Brambleton Community in Virginia

Life Refreshed

Building upon the success of Brambleton – the #1 master planned community in Virginia – the same development team branched out to create Birchwood at Brambleton with a fresh yet similar and thoughtful approach: a lushly landscaped, walkable community with open spaces and trails that lead to top-notch amenities and modern, low-maintenance home designs. The close proximity to the well-established Brambleton community with a vibrant Town Center featuring a public library, movie theater, fitness center, grocery store, multiple restaurants, retail and medical offices, gives residents added peace of mind.

 

A Homestyle for Everyone

55+ kitchen in Birchwood by Van metre

Find your perfect fit in Birchwood among three different award-winning builders – Miller & Smith, Van Metre Homes and Winchester Homes. Low-maintenance home styles range from single-families, attached courtyards, bungalows, carriages and villas to condominiums with 1,000 to over 3,000 square feet, and are priced from the $300s to $700s.  Many floorplans offer the convenience of main-level living and additional features such as elevators, garages, lofts, basements and outdoor spaces.

outdoor living spaces at Birchwood at Brambleton

Resort-Style Clubhouse

Birchwood 55+ Luxury ClubhouseThe newly opened Clubhouse in Birchwood at Brambleton has exceeded buyers’ expectations and quickly become a neighborhood favorite.  The 20,000 square foot building with dramatic lake views, sunlit atrium, and comfortable seating spaces welcomes residents to gather for game nights, movies, socializing and so much more. Endless activities abound in this space equipped with indoor/outdoor pools and bars, a health & wellness room, art studio, demonstration kitchen, cyber café, golf simulator, and even designated conference areas. Outside, residents enjoy the multiple wrap-around decks with conversational seating, firepit, pickleball and bocce ball courts.

Birchwood at Brambleton Pickleball players

Resident Testimonials

Don’t just take our word for it, Birchwood residents are eager to share what they love about the community:

  • “We have a wonderful neighborhood. Not only is it beautiful, but the people are even more lovely. So glad we have our new friends here in Birchwood – it has really added so much joy to our lives.” – Iris S.
  • “I wanted an active-adult community, especially a new one that wasn’t already established, for the social life. I love having an elevator, even though I mostly just put my groceries in it and meet it on my kitchen level.” Janet L.
  • “Great place to retire.” Krishna K.
  • “I love how everyone has connected so well in the community and they just love living here, it was worth the wait.” Tom TBirchwood at Brambleton Residents

First Art Class at New Clubhouse Art Studio a Success!

Birchwood at Brambleton Art Studio

Birchwood at Brambleton resident and local artist, Tom Taylor, led the new facility’s first art class this past week with great success. Birchwood residents had a blast painting with acrylics and breaking in the new studio space.

With such a beautiful, light-filled space to call their own, no wonder we’ve received rave reviews about the new clubhouse and art studio space such as this:  “I love how everyone has connected so well in the community and they just love living here, it was worth the wait.”

Take a look below at some of the amazing paintings Birchwood’s residents made during this inaugural class.

class at Birchwood at brambleton clubhouse studio

class for residents birchwood clubhouse

 

 

 


Birchwood at Brambleton Attends The Ideal Living Resort & Retirement Show

We had a wonderful time at the  Ideal Living Resort & Retirement DC Show this past weekend at the The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner!

Take a look at our display below. Did you attend? We loved meeting potential new homebuyers at the show and explaining everything that Birchwood has to offer! One of our home builders, Van Metre homes, was also in attendance and we had a great time hanging out with the Birchwood team.

Birchwood at Brambleton 55+ Living Community in Ashburn, VA

Many of the attendees were our neighbors from nearby counties such as Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax and they were pleasantly surprised to learn that Birchwood at Brambleton was just down the road.  Future residents were glad to learn about our 55+ community that was close to “home” which allows for the ability still live near their adult children and grandchildren. Did you know that Virginia also has some of the lowest tax rates on the East Coast? One of the best parts of choosing to retire in Virginia is that you definitely don’t have to worry about any alligators in your backyard either! #VirginiaIsForLovers

People were impressed with the images on display of our 20,000 sq ft clubhouse (under construction now) and excited to learn that it is projected to open later this Summer. Birchwood’s clubhouse will offer amenities such as an indoor and outdoor pool, game room, indoor golf simulator, meeting area, demonstration kitchen, arts & crafts room, yoga and fitness area and overlooks a lake with a fishing pier and is connected to a large network of walking trails to additional amenities such as Pickle Ball and Bocce courts.

Are YOU old enough? We have Condos, Townhomes and Single Family Detached product available. If you’d like to learn more about your options at Birchwood, please call our information center (open daily 11am – 5pm) at 703-722-2427.


The new clubhouse will be the heart of the Birchwood at Brambleton community

A Picture's Worth 1,000 words at Birchwood

Beautiful stone exteriors and modern interior features and finishes don’t begin to describe the beauty and function of our new 20,000 sq.ft. clubhouse under construction at Birchwood at Brambleton.

Brimming with amenities and awe-inspiring views over the lake, the new clubhouse will feature indoor and outdoor pools, game rooms, a wellness/fitness area, yoga studio, a demonstration/catering kitchen, arts and crafts room, indoor and outdoor bars and social spaces. The new clubhouse will be the heart of the community. Completion is anticipated for late summer of this year.