August 2011

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 21 of 83

live at home A New Nest with Resource Robin Tag along on a journey to build a smarter home, locally By Robin Pharo Month 5: Designing for All It's a Pleasant Life A new home boutique blends big city style and Midwest comfort Walk through the doors of Pleasant Living, the newly-opened home boutique on Madison's east side, and the peaceful exte- rior gives way to a bustle of activity inside, where the renowned interior design duo of Rick Shaver and Lee Melahn are busy at work. Recent transplants from New York, known for designing high-end spaces, crafting quality furniture and using fun accents—their work has been featured in publications such as O at Home and Coun- try Living, among others. Now the pair is bringing their signature "clean and se- rene" style to local interiors, offering both design services and stylish home goods. Get a feel (literally) for their custom furniture line inside the store where floor models of chic tables, couches and chairs make you want to put up your feet and stay awhile (don't worry, they won't mind!). Whether you're looking for that one focal item to anchor a room, or more ex- tensive design services, under the roof of their new boutique you can do it all. 20 BRAVA Magazine August 2011 Why you'll love it: From the largest piece of art to the smallest candle, the "comfort- able elegance" of their décor is sure to feel at home in yours. Where to go: 1227 E. Wilson St., Madison; (608) 251-0995 or In short: From pillows to candles, furni- ture to artwork, chic décor options make the boutique great for gifts to give or stylish updates to take home. Shaver and Melahn's favorite items: Laf- co candles, Susan Johann photography and porcelain ceramics by Dan Levy. Universal design is a concept being incorporated into many new and remodeled spaces—and for good reason. This isn't about making your home handicap accessible per se, it's about anticipating the needs of you and your guests now and in the future. For us, it's a key component in the House of the Future. To design a house that will be sustainable, it needs to sustain us as we age. For instance, my grandmother was in a wheelchair later in her life. We had a real problem bringing her home for holi- days because the entertaining rooms of our house was simply not functional for her (or us, for that matter). As we planned each space in the House of the Future, there are little things we did at the front end of the process to address potential situations relating to aging, accidents or other accessibility needs. We began by add- ing width to our hallways to allow for wheelchairs. We designed the master bath so that a tub can be added later while putting a bench in the shower to use as we age or if we're injured. As we choose products, we're on the lookout for items that function in more ways than one. For instance, we found a toilet paper holder that's also a grab bar we can use through the years (trust us, they can also be stylish!) while higher toilet bowls, called comfort-height toi- lets, make it easier for adults to stand and sit in any phase of life. Another easy point to consider is levered door handles. As your grip weakens (or for arthritis sufferers) they are easier to use. The downside? It's easier for our dog to let herself out too! In reality, universal design is about considering the details to future-proof your home for all generations. And design decisions that aid one age group often make the space more functional and fun for all. Robin Pharo is a green building consultant and president of Healthy Homes, Treysta Group and Resource Robin. Follow the House of the Future at

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Brava - August 2011