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Retirement Redefined
Both of these custom homes were designed for retirement, but their owners
are at very different stages. Here’s how they were planned for aging in place.
he word “retirement” has come to mean something
other than a cessation of work. Americans are retiring
early, late, or not at all. Many leave one job only to
pursue a new career.
Therefore, new homes for retirees have to accommodate a variety
of life stages and lifestyles, and that’s where custom builders shine.
One of the projects featured here fits the more traditional definition
of retirement, while the other takes into account the owners’ cur-
rent situation as well as their long-term plans.
Old-school elegance
A retired couple in their 60s who were moving to Tucson, Ariz.,
from California approached architect Ron Robinette with a set of
requirements that included an observatory, two kitchens, and a
shared home office.
“The husband grew up here and had family here, and that influ-
enced the design of the house,” says Robinette. “It had to be au-
thentic, 1940s-era Tucson Hacienda style, not Pueblo or Santa Fe.”
Robinette drew up the plans for a one-story, 4,933-square-foot
home (pictured above and opposite) that takes its design cues from
Spanish Colonial architecture, specifically the Arizona Inn, a local
resort dating back to the 1940s. “We worked hard to make sure that
everything was symmetrical,” he says. “The doors, windows, and
openings in the hallways are centered, the fireplace is centered on
the wall, and there are view corridors throughout the house.”
A variety of ceiling heights and treatments adds visual interest.
“The ceilings are scaled to the size and function of the rooms,”
Robinette says. “The big wood ceiling beams are in the main
public areas where the clients entertain, while the library has a
coffered ceiling with stamped-tin panels.” The hallways have coves
or crown moldings.
The foyer is more formal than most of Robinette’s designs. “You
come in the front door and look through the house at the view.
The clients wanted guests to come in and enjoy the foyer and the
artwork and the furnishings before seeing the rest of the house.”
An alcove in the powder room — also reminiscent of older homes —
gives it more privacy.
Community guidelines dictated that a certain
amount of stone had to be used on the exterior
of thisTucson,Ariz., home. This pattern has an
old-fashioned look in keeping with 1940s-era
Tucson Hacienda architecture.
Susan Bady, Contributing Editor