Tips for Designing your Dream Retirement Home

Retirement can be a wonderful time in life. A time full of adventure! It is celebrating the fruits of your labor. Now that you have earned retirement, many people want to move to a desirable location and build a dream retirement home. I meet many people throughout the gorge who are building a home to spend retirement in. There are many items to consider when building a home in this new phase of life.

Design your home with an expert team to build:
You have worked so hard to get to where you are in life, so be sure to take the time to hire a team of professionals that will execute the dream home you imagine. An experienced builder knows the right questions to ask as you go through the process. Someone unexperienced may not know what to ask, when. Consider hiring an interior designer to help you through all the design decisions and create a space you will love. This team of people that will help you through the process can be priceless. I see too many homeowners try to take
all this on by themselves and later wish they would have invested in some design help along the way.

Consider lifestyle:
Before you commit to a certain home style or design, ask yourself these questions.

  • Do you like to entertain guests?
  • Do you have friends or family coming to stay with you frequently?
  • Is a garage needed?
  • Do you want to maintain a lawn?
  • If you plan to travel and be gone, often consider long term maintenance.
  • Do you have hobbies/ gear to store?

Maybe you want a second floor for guest bedrooms, or a small cottage with little upkeep while your off traveling. Making sure you have ample space for your bicycles or kiting gear. This is a common issue here in the gorge.

Build for your location:
Whether you are from the Pacific Northwest or not, build a home that fits with our gorge location. If you have views on both sides of your home, consider ample windows with maybe a wrap around porch. Select materials that hold up well in our weather along with easy
maintenance. If you happen to be from a sunny mild climate location know you are in a different climate zone and your home should reflect that.

Photo credit: Brian Chambers,

Build for the future:

  • If you plan to spend retirement in this home, consider future needs.
  • Here is a list of items to consider while aging in place.
  • First floor master bedroom/bathroom, guest beds on the second story
  • Single story design reduces stair climbing.
  • Open floor plan design. Navigating through tight pathways is asking for difficulties later.
  • Zero thresholds throughout your home. Floor transitions should be flush to minimize any tripping hazards.
  • Mechanisms that are easy to operate. Levers are easy to open than knobs. Smart features can also be something to consider.
  • Grab bars in the bathroom or showers.
  • Zero clearance showers. No threshold from floor into shower. It is so nice not to have something to step over.
  • Consider wider than normal doorways.

Photo Credit: Jen Jones photography

These tips are all here to help you navigate through the home building process. While building your
dream home should be fun, consider hiring some professionals to be on your “team” to help you
execute it and make the process more enjoyable.

Let me know if you would like assistance designing and planning your retirement home here in the

Ashley Neff-Hinkle is a local White Salmon resident servicing clients design needs in new construction
and remodeling. To learn more, visit

Receive Updates In Your Inbox