Bar renovations
Architects at Austin-based studioSIX5 are redesigning bar areas to be more inviting for baby boomer children to share in an after-work drink with their parents.

Dean Maddalena is familiar with the sterile, nursing home-like attitude that is associated with senior communities. He’s determined to change that.

Maddalena, and his team at studioSIX5, are designing upgrades for more than just immediate residents. They’re hoping renovations being done will impress the baby boomers helping their parents make living decisions today.

 “It needs to be cool enough for them so they’ll recommend for their parent,” Maddalena, president, says.

The company, based in Austin, works solely on senior housing design.

When it comes to renovating senior communities, the upgrades have to be alluring enough to have a lasting impression that will encourage baby boomers to eventually make the move into some of these communities themselves.

“The marketing person is always marketing toward the first born, 57-year-old daughter,” he says. “They’re going to be very influential in that decision. You want them when they walk in to say ‘damn I want to live here’.”

Common Area Focus

In addition to updating the units with modern finishes, common areas are a large focus to renovating the communities.

Gone are the days of having a formal dining area with designated times and menus. Today, architects are including restaurant-like options and managers are encouraged to host open-ended dining hours.

“One night they may want a really nice meal, and one night they might want something more casual,” he says. “It gives the residents, and their families, different options without leaving the community.”

Including well-designed, interactive spaces for family members to enjoy during visits is the ultimate goal. Salon and spa areas are a new focus in the upgrade effort. Creating places in which both boomer children and their parents can share experiences is important when trying to creating a homey atmosphere.

“They’ll visit every week or so and when we renovate, we’re putting in bars or café areas,” Maddalena says. “Sometimes the baby boomers will come and have a drink after work with their parent.”

Designers have also started to consider creating interactive and fresh spaces with Wi-Fi and cool hangout areas for grandchildren to enjoy.

“We want to get away from the idea of visiting the parent [or grandparent] at the ‘home’, but instead make it a really cool place where you want to visit and be there,” he says.