The Baby Boomer generation continues to grow. Today, 15% of Americans are empty nesters. The silver tsunami is real. Many of us riding the big wave have arrived at the down scale stage. We’re clearing out the clutter and realizing we don’t need 4-5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms any longer. We have found Nora Ephron’s words the empty nest is underrated to be true.
I am both a baby boomer and an empty nest dweller. I have firsthand experience on down scaling. My husband and I designed our empty nest, The Bennington Carriage House, 9 years ago. I discovered other empty nesters building new homes echoed my experience; our down scale designs had different requirements than our previous homes.
Empty nesters do not want to be roaming around a big house. Our emphasis has shifted. There is space for guests, but not for having all the children (and their families) come at once. Empty nest designs typically have at least one guest bedroom and an overflow space; i.e. a multi-purpose room or loft. Main living spaces are the top priority, with secondary spaces less so. YBH empty nest homes often use our partial or hybrid post and beam method. The timber is in top priority areas (determined by the client) while the secondary spaces are panelized.
One commonality amongst empty nest builds surprised me. The majority of us do not want single level homes. We have lived in two-story houses and discovered the stairs are an important aspect of staying active.
As we age, the prospect of dealing with sleep-related issues increases. Numerous studies have shown sufficient exposure to daylight can improve our sleep. Abundant natural light flowing throughout priority spaces are both aesthetically pleasing and necessary to our well-being. My husband and I designed large window walls on all four sides of our Bennington Carriage House. The natural light is spectacular in the summer and an excellent counter balance to our overcast New England winters.
Nora Ephron was right; the empty nest is not something to fear. It is a stage in our lives to embrace, a rebirth of sorts. What better way to celebrate than by riding the silver tsunami to its fullest in a home designed specifically for this purpose?
To see more on the four homes shown here: