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Life on the level

Kathy Werner
Posted 3/3/23

You know, there are still a lot of us Baby Boomers out here, and we are getting a little tired of all the stairs in our houses.

We are tired of walking upstairs to go to bed, and real tired of …

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Life on the level


You know, there are still a lot of us Baby Boomers out here, and we are getting a little tired of all the stairs in our houses.

We are tired of walking upstairs to go to bed, and real tired of walking down into the basement to do our laundry. And our houses, while we do love them, just feel like a lot sometimes.

So here’s a business bonanza just aching to be realized: some contractor out there has got to start building dream houses for all us seniors who aren’t going to move to Florida.

Since I have nominated myself to speak for this demographic, I will tell you what we want.

A neat ranch house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, a garage, a mud room/laundry, and a small lot that someone else mows for us. It should have a kitchen that opens into a dining area and a family room with space for a flat screen TV over the optional gas fireplace. A porch would be nice, too.

You know who had a similar layout? My mom. She once told me that she originally saw the house plan in a magazine and loved it.

Her father’s business, William Kohler and Sons, built our home and it had (and has) so many great features. Our house was built around 1953-54 and is a ranch with a large dormer in the back. It has hardwood floors all through the downstairs, in addition to cedar closets and a mahogany-paneled dining room with built-in cupboards with sliding glass doors on top.

You came in through the garage and entered the back room, with a coat rack, slate floor, a washer and dryer, and a sink near the back door. That door led to a small, gated porch suitable for parking a young child or dog and provided access to the long clothesline.

The back room could also be sealed off from the kitchen with a pocket door, which came in handy the day that a skunk somehow wandered into that space.

Turn right when you enter through the garage, and you were in the Mom’s big eat-in kitchen. The custom cabinets were built by her talented cousin Billy Kohler. She even had a lower cabinet with a counter that pulled out, up, and locked, and held her Kitchen Aid mixer. Pretty slick.

There were 3 doorways in the kitchen: one to the back room, one that went into the dining room, and one that went down the hallway. Off the hallway was a room that served as a bedroom when we were small, later as an office, and then again as a bedroom; a full bath with shower and tub; and the master bedroom. At the end of the hallway, a right turn brought you into the living room, which opened into the dining room. Upstairs in the dormer were two big bedrooms and another full bath, which is where we kids slept. Under the eaves was the attic. There was a door that sealed off the upstairs once we children departed. Brilliant.

All that I want is that downstairs of Mom’s ranch house, slightly modified. I like the mud/laundry room off the garage, love the pocket doors. Like the big, eat-in kitchen. Make the dining room open to the kitchen and call it a great room and add another bath and bedroom where the living room once was. I’ve got my three beds, two bath (walk-in shower, please), laundry on the same floor, and I’m a happy lady.

I know that there are some talented local contractors building homes in these hills.  I think if you built some of these handy ranch homes, you would discover that there’s a market for us folks who are ready to live life on one level. I’m happy to consult.


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