Selecting High-End Interior Finishes to Elevate the Environment
Through careful selection of materials, furnishings, and decor reflective of the region and residential living, LifeCare Properties strives to elevate utilitarian spaces into exceptional communities that nurture both the body and the spirit. Our goal is for residents and families to feel enveloped in an upscale environment from the moment they walk through the front entrance.
LifeCare has partnered with award-winning Banko Design for our Texas communities. We asked Melissa Banko, principal and founder of Banko Design, to share her team’s philosophies and intentions when designing upscale environments for seniors.
“Senior living, although it provides care, should never look institutional so the finishes and furniture must be residential in look but commercial in construction. Banko has coined the phrase “resi-mmercial” design. That’s the blend of both,” Banko explains.
“Commercial spaces can be tricky to dress as they present much more volume than a single-family residential dwelling. For a space to be inviting, cozy, and scaled appropriately it must be designed with measure in mind – right down to the size of each tile, the scale of wallcovering prints, and the size of ceiling moldings. Finishes and furniture should support and highlight the scale and geometry of the space.”
“Finishes, lighting, and furniture are all elements that residents, and their guests, engage and interact with. So, to provide a comfortable space and an environment where users can thrive – those design elements must be thoughtful, intentional, usable, and appropriate,” she continues. “Banko and LifeCare believe that each building should have its own personality, narrative, and sense of atmosphere. This can be done while maintaining a brand quality and portfolio identity. Finishes and specification of FFE, right down to the accessories and art, must support the story of the design, the area, and the resident.”
She adds, “Walls need to be designed with a mix of millwork, texture, acoustics, key design moments, and ART! These design elements drastically change the style and mood of a space. They also help drive the light level. Too much of a good thing can be bad – so walls should have a variety of looks and personality infused into them. Ceilings and walls should be “broken down” with variations in depth as well as a rhythmic undulation.”
“Ceilings should be addressed and staged, with just as much thought as any other surface (if not more in our opinion),” Banko contends. “As we age, we naturally look down to “watch our step” and guide our bodies better. Why not give our residents and guests something to look up to? Ceilings also provide a HUGE opportunity to solve acoustical issues in large spaces. As we age our hearing decreases, so our job is to provide spaces our seniors want to hang out in but are also CONFIDENT to engage with. Lighting is the jewelry to the outfit and it can make or break the look. Light levels must be appropriate and RIGHT for use and demographic, too.”
In 2022, Banko Design was awarded the Bronze Award in the Multifamily Senior Living category by the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) for The Blake at Waco.
“The Blake at Waco was idealized for seniors seeking a 24/7 unmatched care experience with resort-style comfort and service,” said Brooks Holstein, founder and managing partner of LifeCare Properties. “The team at Banko Design far exceeded this mission. From their thorough planning to intricate detailing, they have created an unrivaled atmosphere that feels like home to residents.”
Banko says, “Luxury senior living should mirror a resort, with finishes and FFE that have a common thread, a thematic nature but each room rendering its own program and purpose. Finishes and FFE in a space, if done well, will provide rhythm, scale, texture, allure, function, and comfort – a space that residents and guests can’t wait to get back to. Create a physical space that successfully provides these key design ideals and watch and see what it does to one’s mental clarity, general mood, mindset, personality, and happiness!”
The designer concludes, “As we age our eyes change in the way we process color, we see the world in a warmer and more yellow state. That’s why it’s called “the golden years”. In a LifeCare building – we have this in mind when we design. We want EVERYONE TO FEEL GOOD IN these spaces. Color tones, palettes, fabric patterns, layouts, and specifications of all interior finish materials are thoughtfully chosen with our guests in mind.”
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