Senior living apartments are going to be “the next big thing,” as the baby boomer generation ages and continues to move into urban markets. Multi-unit interior and exterior design firm Straight Designs is creating a new model for senior living properties. The luxury communities are fully amenitized with clubhouses and swimming pools, along with bespoke touches like custom furnishings and a focus on design.
“Everyone in the multi-unit industry knows that senior living apartments are the next big thing, especially in an effort to accommodate for all of the baby boomers that are entering this specific market,” Andrew Baek, the creative director at Straight Designs, tells GlobeSt.com. “The big difference now is that we are moving away from your typical “grandma’s home” aesthetic and now turning this around to create an amazing space that anyone in any age group would love to live in. We are trying to change the mold of the vision of senior living by completely erasing the lines between age groups when you enter any of our renovations. We aim to always make sure that our designs scream resort-style living regardless of location or “set” markets.”
Design has never been a central focus of senior living, but the increasing demand for quality spaces proved that it needed a new, updated approach. “There is a clear visual when you think of senior living design. That thought alone is why the entire market needs a new approach,” Solomon Mansoor, principal designer at Straight Designs, tells GlobeSt.com. “The senior living market is currently full of neutral tones that all just mesh together to create an unimpactful space. There is rarely any excitement or colors at all in these types of properties and it needs to be approached in a new and rejuvenating direction that is both breathtaking and timeless.”
Senior living has often been absent of innovation focus because it is for seniors, but Straight Designs says that is the wrong approach. The firm views senior living much like it would a standard multifamily project, and provides a similar amenities package along with the services that seniors need. “Why take away innovation just because the apartment is catered to senior living? It makes no sense to conform to that way of thinking through design when there are so many other possibilities for fresh and unique ideas that can make a space just as special for senior residents, as they can for younger residents,” adds Mansoor.
The firm’s progressive senior living design perspective have been surprising to some developers in the asset class. “It is very crucial to stay progressive throughout these times and projects,” says Baek. “Of course, there is some pushback as we offer specifications and designs that are unusual to this type of market, but we stick to our guns when it comes to design that we know is the right call, especially when it comes to pushing the industry and market forward—a much-needed push, indeed. It’s also very important and helpful if developers and all parties involved understand that our intent is to cater to an incoming demographic that will surely succeed and replace the last of the “yester-year wool-knit” senior living generation.”
Straight Designs is pioneering in this area, but the firm says that this is where the industry is headed. In the future, we can expect to see more quality, well-designed and amenitized senior living projects. “Senior living consists now of a massive and exploding baby boomer market, as mentioned previously,” says Mansoor. “This market is as or more sophisticated and nuanced than even the current generation is, as their exposure during their teen years and beyond was directed to far more explosive, if not radical, influences during the 60′s, 70′s and 80′s. Whereas everything today is a hybrid mixture of commerce or hipsterism and ‘bling’—influences back then were equally creative, eclectic and innovative. This market needs to be catered to and celebrated, instead of being neglected.”
By: Kelsi Maree Borland (GlobeSt)
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