When life happens, and your home becomes a burden rather than a blessing, it’s probably time to think smarter about your design choices. As homeowners retire and grow older, home design tends to take on a new form: downsizing in luxury. How can the retired CEO design a dream home they can also age in? With flexible room concepts and universal design features, of course.

Design your home so that it is equally appealing and accessible to all.

Universal design helps create a space that works for everyone equally, without denouncing a specific group. The concept exists to make living and work spaces comfortable, safe, and accessible to everyone, regardless of age or ability. While these ideas are necessary to make a home safer and more efficient for a retired homeowner, they’re also pretty ideal for residents of all ages. 

Why is this important?

As you age, certain home elements become burdens—like stairs or narrow walkways. Incorporating elements of universal design turn these burdens into blessings again. The changes can also be accommodating for adult children returning home, and even for young grandchildren visiting.


  • Having at least one sloped, no-step entry to allow for someone with a stroller, wheelchair, or walker to enter easily and efficiently.
  • No changes in floor levels on the main story of your home to increase safety and accessibility.
  • An open floor plan allows for more movable space for all.
  • Lever-handle doors as opposed to round door knobs can be relieving to those with weak hands, those carrying a baby, or those using a cane.
  • Elevators or ramps in multi-level homes can really increase quality of living.
  • Wide hallways and doorways to fit wheelchairs, walkers, strollers through.
  • Install low-placed, full-length, or tilting mirrors so they can be seen from sitting and standing positions.

Flexibility in home design allows for a variety of uses as times change.

A well-designed home for a retiree encompasses flexibility in each room. As homeowners downsize, it becomes more necessary to embrace multi-functioning rooms that can adapt and be altered as time passes.

Why is this important?

Chances are you won’t have the same interests, hobbies, or needs in twenty years as you do today. People tend to transform, grow, and accept new things as they age, and your home should reflect that concept. With flexibility in home design, your home can age with you in the most practical and productive way.


  • The ideal floorplan should include at least one bedroom and full bathroom on the main floor—away from main living areas. Early on, it can serve as a study or a craft room, and later on, it can serve as a bedroom for those who struggle with stairs.
  • There should also be a main floor laundry room for easy access.
  • A rolling cart for the kitchen can be used as a workspace wherever you want it. It can be a kitchen island or a movable home office.
  • Pocket doors are a great addition, as they add privacy when needed, or open space as needed. They can close off a space or super-size a space. The flexibility gives options galore.
  • Insert pull-out work boards throughout the kitchen at different heights so that no matter who is cooking—whether they are sitting or standing, tall or short—they can access the prep stations.

Downsizing in luxury means designing a dream home you can live in for life.

As a retired CEO, CFO, or whatever title you may hold, you’ve probably put in plenty of work for one lifetime. By downsizing and making the most of a smaller space, it eliminates the need to put constant work into an oversized home.

Think about it: You probably don’t need those three extra bedrooms in your home anymore, especially the ones you have to walk multiple flights of stairs to get to. For retirees, creating a flexible, universally designed home is much more ideal.

Call Sandy Spring Builders to discuss downsizing in luxury and build your dream home for your new lifestyle.