Multipurpose Space Appeals to Boomers

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From tech spaces to flex spaces, learn about increasing room versatility.

Today’s 50-plus clients are “sophisticated buyers,” explains Mary DeWalt of the Mary DeWalt Design Group in Austin, Texas. “They want what’s new and different,” and they want to customize their homes to fit their interests exactly. That’s where flex spaces and tech centers come in.

Flex spaces are rooms that are flexible or versatile either because they are multipurpose (a guest room/sewing room, for instance) or because they are undefined rooms ready to be tailored to the clients’ specific needs. A tech center, DeWalt says, is not just a showy office with bookshelves and fancy mahogany desk; it is “a working, active computer space.”

Tech spaces run the gamut, all the way from two-person “his and hers” offices, important for baby boomers who continue working past “retirement,” to small alcoves fitted out with computer hookups, tabletop and chair. “We’re seeing more of alcove or nook tech centers,” says architect Bill Devereaux of Devereaux & Associates in McLean, Va. “Many times a nook or cranny is fine,” explains Mary, especially for clients who are downsizing to a smaller house.
What’s the best place for a nook-style tech center? An arched opening in a widened hallway works well, Devereaux says. So does an alcove under the stairs. How about the utility or laundry room? Along with the washer and dryer, a little home office can fit nicely in a sunny, well-appointed utility room, DeWalt says.

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