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Envisioning Home: choosing options

Fred and Carol WeberMeet the Webers and join them on their journey to Fairway Knoll 2nd in a Perspectives blog series

Envisioning Home: choosing options

While some of us couldn’t imagine agreeing to move to a place we can’t yet touch or see, Carol and Fred Weber have done just that. This gives them a distinct advantage as one of the future residents of Fairway Knoll, the new PHS senior living community under construction in Germantown, Wisconsin. 

We introduced the Webers last fall and invited you to come alongside them to learn about their experiences, choices, and decisions as they prepare to move to Fairway Knoll when construction is complete in summer 2018. Carol and Fred have reserved The Pinehurst, a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom senior living apartment. They have the printed floor plan that shows the layout of their apartment, but what will it really look like walking across the threshold? Will it feel like home? 

Meet the Webers: First post in this series 

The next leg of their journey has helped answer these questions and bring the vision of their future life into clearer focus. Because they reserved at such an early date, Carol and Fred had the benefit of selecting the interior finishes of their new apartment in ways that will make it their home before they even move in. 

At Fairway Knoll, as at most new PHS communities, three standard and three premium interior scheme packages were offered to future residents who reserved an apartment early enough in the construction process. The packages ranged in styles, including traditional, contemporary and transitional designs, combining complementary selections of countertops, flooring and paint colors. Premium scheme packages offered such features as quartz counter tops, additional paint colors and upgraded flooring, stainless steel appliances and additional grab bars, all for a cost to the resident. 

To get started, the Webers joined other future residents at a “Showcase” gathering where the 6 scheme packages were introduced and displayed. Members of the project development team from Senior Housing Partners were on hand to meet the new residents, describe the options, explain the selection process and answer questions. Carol and Fred looked at the choices and made an appointment to meet with Dannene Hirsch, Housing Advisor for Fairway Knoll, to discuss and finalize their selections. 

But first, Fred and Carol knew they had another key advantage—their son, Michael, who is a professional interior designer. Wisely, they asked him to join them in this process. “Michael was so helpful, he’s a professional and he handles things so well,” said Carol. Before the appointment, Michael walked with his parents through their current home as they identified the furnishings they planned to move into the new apartment. “There were tears,” said Carol as the inventory exercise stirred the emotions she had about leaving her current home. 

Michael also posed an important life-examining question; “If something happens to one of you, will you stay in this new apartment or will you want to move?” he asked. 

“I’m pleased that he was thinking about our well being and what the future might bring,” said Carol. They answered that yes, even if one outlived the other they expect to stay in this independent living apartment, knowing that Fairview Knoll will also offer living options and services if their health changes. Michael’s question helped them think beyond today into future possibilities as they considered how much they wanted to invest in this particular new apartment.

With Michael along, they met with Dannene to finalize their options. Admittedly, the conversation began with a few wrinkles as the Webers’ expectations didn’t fully align with the options before them. “I clarified that, while they had several options within a range of packages, it was not the a-la-carte of customizable choices they may have expected,” said Dannene. “These pre-selected options offer colors and styles grouped in compatible decorating elements to maintain each design theme that we know will work well in their apartment,” she explained. Together they talked through laminate or quartz, carpet or linoleum, stainless or porcelain and more. 

“Dannene was very nice to work with. She was patient and listened well to all of my parents’ questions,” said Michael. “As a professional designer, I think any of the schemes would confidently give a new resident a sense of assurance that their new place will look like home,” he said.

“When Michael spoke with us alone, he reminded us that we are renting not owning,” said Fred. He and Carol admit that this is one of the biggest adaptations they are facing in this transition. “There are continual adjustments we have to make,” he said with a sigh.   

Carol weighed in saying, “I foresee that the positive things will outweigh the adjustments. Hardly a day goes by when something occurs in our current home that we fail to say out loud, ‘We won’t have to deal with that anymore, we’ll be in a maintenance-free apartment!’” 

As their conversation continued with Dannene, the Webers recognized that color was high on their criteria, preferring a neutral and light palette. Carol first gravitated to the lightest color countertop materials that looked much like her current kitchen. “I wanted to keep it as light and airy as possible,” she said. Michael asked, “It’s your new place, why not do something different?” They nodded and opted for a premium scheme in a traditional style with a light but tawny quartz kitchen counter, neutral carpeting and vinyl flooring with a pattern that replicates small ceramic tile. 

When the meeting was over, Carol, Fred and Michael sat down in a local ice cream parlor. Michael mapped out their chosen furniture and finish options on the floor plan. “It looked perfect,” said Fred.

“We couldn’t have been happier. It makes me so excited and eager that I wish we could move sooner!” Carol said. “We’re fortunate as the first residents to have these options,” she acknowledged. 

Now, the Pinehurst floor plan is spread on their table as they continue their journey and envision living in their new home. “We look at it every day, so we’re dreaming about it every day,” said Carol. 

“And we’re watching the progress at Fairway Knoll,” said Fred. 

Coming up in this series...
•    “Are you nuts?” vs. “It’s the right time!” Friends and family weigh in on the Weber’s decision 
•    “What comes and what goes?” The art of selling and downsizing
•    Meeting new friends and neighbors

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