For more than 25 years, Colin Healy, owner of Next Step Home Design in Stratford, has been helping families tailor their homes for the changing phases in their lives. Here, an unused space has been transformed into a cozy loft bedroom.—Colin Healy photos

“I don’t know how much longer my knees will allow me to carry the laundry up and down the stairs,” a Fairfield County resident says. “I’d love to have the laundry moved closer to our bedroom.” While this idea may appeal to some homeowners, others might dream of a man cave with a large flat-screen TV, a wine cellar and tasting room, a fitness room with modular padded floor and storage for weights, or a personal spot for a home yoga practice.

Colin created a combined laundry and sewing room for this client. The space provides ample storage, room to work, and lots of natural light.

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, Colin Healy, owner of Stratford-based Next Step Home Design, may be the answer. Colin, who describes his work as “transforming homes for transforming lives,” provides guidance from conceptual design through construction while adhering to the client’s budget, and will suggest green energy solutions that may help homeowners take advantage of available incentives.

Colin, a graduate of the City College of New York’s Spitzer School of Architecture, is a certified aging-in-place specialist from the National Association of Home Builders. For more than 25 years, he’s been helping families tailor their homes for the changing phases in their lives — from a growing young family needing child-friendly space to comfortable and safe environments for seniors living an active lifestyle.

“I particularly love tackling the problems of baby boomers,” he explains, citing the example of a renovation he provided for a family whose grown daughter with two children came home to live. For this project, Colin converted an attic space into a sleeping loft for the daughter to overlook her bedroom, which became a painting studio and writing area, as well as a separate home office for her father.

A strategically placed window adds north light for painting and a view from the loft.

For another client, Colin transformed an underused space into a first-floor laundry that featured a long work table for fabric craft projects, space for display, and lots of storage. A large picture window was added for natural light.

Colin also turned a small bedroom into a bathroom to create an up-to-date master suite, and designed the conversion of a two-car garage into living quarters for a family’s aging parents.

“It’s hard to predict the future,” Colin says, “so anytime you remodel it’s best to implement universal design ideas for accessibility for people of all ages. At least do the parts, such as pre-wiring for a future stair lift or adding blocking for grab bars in the bathroom, that are easy and affordable. Then, if the need arises, there will be minimal disruption and expense.”

He adds that renovations for accessible living will add to the resale value of your home. “Creative planning might even allow home sharing or room rental possibilities,” concludes Colin, who is currently booking a speaking series entitled “Home Design Challenges for the Sandwich Generation.” For more information, call 203-722-8973 or visit stratfordhomedesigners.com.