Built to last: Home renovations geared toward longevity | TheUnion.com
Mellisa Hannum
Special to The Union

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Built to last: Home renovations geared toward longevity

With a third of the residents of Nevada County aged 65 or older, Andy Wright of WrightBuilt Home Remodel and Design thought it would be good business to remodel for longevity.

“The truth is most people just remodel their master bath or kitchen once,” he said.

Why not make a remodel really last? It’s a great opportunity to make a home usable, no matter the needs, for a long time to come, Wright explained.

Three years ago, he joined the Fall Prevention Coalition and is a speaker at their annual event in September.

Wright is also a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS), a credentialed program that focuses on creating adaptable environments, places that will still be functional for its aging owners 20 years from now.

Wright spoke about some of the important improvements to include in a remodel, such as seats in showers or tubs, grab bars, comfort height toilets – which are taller than older models – bathroom vanities at the same height as kitchen countertops, better lighting, wider doorways, and handles on doors and cabinets that are easier to use.

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While the list may seem utilitarian, Wright says that options not only provide a safer design, they can be attractive as well.

One of the new tubs he’s installing, in partnership with Ferguson Plumbing, has a door. It will be one of the features shown at the Home and Garden Show on April 28 and 29.

He spoke of a couple, well into their 80s, who had a tub in their master bedroom that was very difficult to use. Every day, they would go down a straight staircase to use a shower on the first floor, running the risk for a fall.

After remodeling their master bath, the couple no longer has to use the risky staircase.

Wright hopes his forward-thinking remodeling will aid his clients, making the home work now and in the future.

“We’re the oldest county in California,” said Wright. “So it makes sense that we make homes that are adaptable.”

Beverly Tamo and her husband Roy recently had an addition built by Wright’s business.

“I can’t say enough good things about Andy and the men he had working for him,” she said.

Based on suggestions from Wright, she and her husband made changes that made sense for the aging couple.

“We got more than what we even wanted,” she said. “The bathroom is perfect – the shower, the way everything is set out, the space.”

The Tamos went from an 800 square feet cabin to a home twice that size, but it looks like it’s always been that way.

“We felt comfortable with Andy right from the beginning,” she said. “We were very fortunate that we chose the right person.”

Wright moved to Nevada County in 1986 and has been serving the community for 25 years.

A member of the Rotary Club for 15 years, he is involved in activities like the Rotarians At Work Day, this year getting up at 6 a.m. to help build a new roof at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

Mellisa Hannum is a freelance writer and blogger in Nevada City. She can be reached at pixyofwhimsy@comcast.net.