In the 1967 thriller Wait Until Dark, Audrey Hepburn plays a blind woman unwittingly caught up in an international drug smuggling plot and forced to fight off Alan Arkin, who plays a deadly intruder in her apartment. In a situation that may seem hopeless, Hepburn’s character levels the playing field by breaking (almost) every light bulb in the flat, plunging Arkin’s character into the same darkness she lives with every day.
So maybe it’s just a scary movie, but for some reason I often think about it when reflecting upon accessible housing. Maybe it’s because today we can all be glad that people don’t have to go to such lengths to create spaces that can be used with equal ease, regardless of ability. In fact, an accessible home can mean a better life for all occupants.
One of the best new guides I have run across to achieve this goal is The Accessible Home: Designing for All Ages & Abilities, by Deborah Pierce. The structure of this handbook is smart. Pierce leads off with the necessary definitions and then introduces readers to the accessible home from one activity to the next (living and dining, dressing and sleeping, etc.). She then leads readers on tours of 25 real accessible homes, dealing firsthand with the practical solutions needed by very different individuals and families.
To some real estate professionals, accessible housing remains a niche. But for the forward-thinking pros in the know, this is the future of housing. As Pierce notes, healthy active adults have a one-in-four chance of becoming disabled for at least three months at some point in their lives. And while aging in place is becoming a priority for older home buyers, younger home owners still want to accommodate family and friends visiting their homes, regardless of mobility issues. Continue reading »
Our ever-inspiring editor in chief at REALTOR® Magazine, Stacey Moncrieff, brought an interesting experiment to my attention earlier this month, and I’d love to get your thoughts on it. I admit, I’m a little conflicted on it myself.
Chris Brogan, bestselling author and CEO/president of Human Business Works, has a proposition: Read three books—and only three—over one year. The point of the exercise is to move from quantity to quality, spending more time absorbing and implementing the lessons books have to teach us and less time collecting books in our “read” pile.
Here are his rules and suggestions:
- Choose 3 books to read from November 1, 2012 until November 1, 2013.
- They can be new to you or old favorites. Any genre. Any kind.
- Read these books for an entire year. Over and over. At least twice.
- Implement what you can.
- Pick books that represent different facets of your life (Brogan is choosing one for each of these three categories: body, spirit, and business).
- You have until November 1 to choose, but after you start, you have only one week to change your mind on only one title, so after that, you’re locked in.
- Students have permission to read outside of the 3 books, but only for school.
You have to admit, it’s an intriguing dare. But I don’t know if I could commit. Continue reading »
Saint Augustine of Hippo is quoted as saying that “the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” I’ve often felt travel and reading go hand in hand, and have found that reading about far-off places can seem like a whirlwind tour without the jetlag.
This sentiment was underscored for me this week when I was lucky enough to sit in on a Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) course. I didn’t even have to leave my home city of Chicago to get a taste of the exotic side of real estate. Continue reading »