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DeAnna Radaj

DeAnna Radaj can enter a space and help tweak it to better suit its function AND the lifestyle of the occupants of the space. Using ILD, life quality can be increased AND be supportive to any lifestyle changes or health challenges. She is a nationally recognized speaker on healthy home design, color therapy/theory and the psychology of clutter.

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Aging in Place for Homeowners

I've worked on many projects for those w/mental & physical disabilities, as well as helping clients incorporate aging-in-place principles into their remodeling plans if they plan on staying in that home. Lighting, changing out cabinet/drawer hardware (to levers for those w/arthritis and/or other hand issues) as well as faucets & shower/tub fixturing are at the forefront. In answer to your questions: What changes should be made first? Lighting...as you age, the lens of your eye yellows & you "see" differently. Brighter, natural spectrum lighting is key. Also, adding accent lighting to help "guide" those who are sight-impaired will also help them with life quality & independence. Changing out the hardware & bath/faucet fixtues is next. Then look at the flooring (low pile carpet if you must have carpet, or changing out to hard flooring so a walker, cane or wheelchair can be more easily managed throughout the space). Next would be painting, as with lighting, to help highlight areas of the home (sinks, tub, hallways...) for those w/sight issues. Adding grab rails (which have become quite fashion forward as of late as seen at KBIS) in the bathroom & making sure their are handrails in the hallways & at all stairs (interior & exterior) to help move about the home. If a full bath remodel is called for, incorporating seats in the shower & showers w/no curb/transition showers. What problems might homeowners forget to consider? Lighting to take into account how your sight changes as you age, flooring transitions & changing out any/all handles to open/close or turn on/off. Most people know about increasing door width if small door thresholds or narrow hallways, as well as installing ramps to get in/out of the home but not taking into account the seemingly "little" activities that we do numerous times a day that require dexterity. How can people building homes from scratch plan for the possibility of adapting their home later? Hire a designer who is certified in Universal Design &/or Aging-In-Place so these design elements are incorporated from the start to save on remodeling costs at a future date. Are there any changes that aren’t worth the cost? No, as it depends on what the disability is. You can't put a price on your independence & increased life quality. If someone is still in good health & looking to the future, incorporating universal design principles will not only help you age in place, but it will also increase the value of your home as it increases the buyer pool for your home.
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Common Customer Calls

Hi All- The majority of my calls are for WHOLE HOUSE design (space planning, color, furniture/accessory purchase & blue print analysis) & remodel consultation, as well as project manager to oversee the job. While all of this is in my area of expertise, I don't focus/choose to be project manager &/or participate in the furniture/accessory purchasing aspect. I'd rather work w/a client's personal choice as I get inspiration from what they currently have. If replacement/additional pieces are required, I can help, but actually doing the ordering/purchasing is something I've stepped away from. The only calls I get that I'm not entirely comfortable taking & are out of my expertise are bathroom/kitchen remodeling as I'm not certified. While I can help w/color, furniture & accessory choice (as well as the organization & storage solutions), remodeling these rooms is out of my expertise & comfort level. I've decided to focus on designing/remodeling the rooms that I enjoy & are most passionate about, which is the bedroom & office. Afterall, we spend about 2/3 of our lives in these spaces...I feel they deserve a lot of our attention & seem to get pushed back to the end of the design process (unless it's a nursery!).
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The Keys to De-Cluttering

This is one of my company's most requested services-Clutter Counseling! My clutter philosophy is that clutter is "the physical manifestation of your emotional baggage"...Your stuff & where it accumulates can show where you're stuck in your life (relationships, finances, health...). Using the 3 Questions on each & every item you own (starting w/a drawer or cabinet) you can clear the mental, physical & emotional clutter that affects your health & well-being. The 3 Questions are: Do you LOVE it? (do you have a positive attachment to an item or does it bring about feelings of ill-will & negativity) Do you USE it? Do you NEED it? (you may need a pen but do you need 10 boxes of pens?). In answer to your questions: What tricks do you use to keep your tools straight? Slatwall & peg board in garages/sheds, along w/plastic bins & rolling carts are wonderful organization & storage options for tools & accessories. Have you seen any particularly clever storage solutions in your years of working with homeowners? I love to install 3-4" shelves at plate rail height to store collectibles, stuffed animals, trophies/awards & the like. This creates a decorative border, displays cherished items & keeps seldom used items out of the way. This is great in man caves for sports collectibles/trophies & children's rooms for stuffed animals, toys, collections & dolls. What are your personal favorite storage products? Along w/the above, I love using slatwall & peg board, as well as multi-use furniture (storage ottomans...).