Sunday, June 24th, 2018

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Design your home for future functionality



As we get older, we all want to remain in our own homes for as long as we can. Chris Spear of Cobblestone Construction LLC can help make that dream a reality.

Spear started his company in 2001 as a handyman company and it soon grew to a full-scale remodeling business. Cobblestone Construction specializes in designing and building custom kitchens, bathrooms, basements, media rooms, decks, patios and water features. His company also performs major household repairs, including repairing water and smoke damage.

A few years ago, Spear’s mother-in-law fell and broke her hip. As she recuperated, she required the use of a wheelchair and a walker. Spear volunteered to make some temporary changes to her condominium to help her get around with less difficulty. That is when the idea for a whole new segment of his construction business was born.

Today, Spear is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist with the letters “CAPS” after his business digital signature. That signifies that he has received specific training in the construction industry. There are now four segments to his business: designing and decorating; remodeling and additions; home maintenance and repair; and aging in place construction. Spear helps customers remodel their homes so that their residences can remain functional into the future.

“Our range of services is quite broad,” he explained. “We do everything from installing grab bars in the shower to remodeling the entire house. We widen doorways, build roll-under cabinetry and install roll-in showers. I’m steering the company in the direction of aging in place, and the need for these services is getting bigger and bigger.”

“People don’t want to be told that they are going to get older, but we are all going to get there someday,” he noted. “My aging in place clients are generally in three categories. The planners realize that they will get old one day and they begin to make changes to their homes. Others suffer from debilitative conditions like a disease that limits their ability to function normally, blindness, or their health is in general decline. The third category is clients who have had traumatic, sudden injuries.”

This industry is fascinating because it is huge, and yet almost no one has heard of it,” he said. Spear noted that, during his 14 years in the construction industry, he has worked with hundreds of homeowners as well as designers, architects and builders. He has extensive knowledge and experience in the areas of design and remodeling, and he uses that expertise to help his clients make adjustments to their homes so that they can live in them on their own for as long as possible.

Spear offered suggestions for changes you can make to your home to keep it functional into the future. If you are looking for things that you can do to change your home today, you can install grab bars in the shower to make entering and exiting safer and easier. Install lever handles on doors, because they are easier to use for people with arthritic hands. Make sure that light fixtures in halls and stairwells have more than one bulb, so that if one bulb burns out, the fixture is still operable. Install motion sensor night lights.

During remodeling projects, prepare for future needs by installing blocking behind bathroom walls for future grab bar installation. Add a barrier-free shower pan and height-adjustable hand spray. Widen doorways to 36 inches. Install a “comfort height” toilet, which makes sitting down and standing up much easier.

When buying a new home, look for on-grade entrances and single-floor living, as well as open floor plans and lots of natural light.

For more information about Certified Aging in Place construction, contact Chris Spear at Cobblestone Construction LLC, 36799 Dorchester Rd., Gates Mills, 216.407.7494, or visit

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