At some point your home may not be as welcoming. Here, Jayne MacAulay makes plans to turn her home into a one-level, easy-to-live-in-forever home.

As shingles, studs and boards migrated from our sagging garage to the dumpster in our driveway a couple of years ago, my husband, Ted, began to wear a slightly triumphant expression. It was his first salvo in a campaign to persuade me to commit to a plan to turn our house into a one-level, easy-to-live-in-forever home.

He’s been remarkably patient, I mused then.

We bought the small one-and-a-half storey house in Uxbridge, Ont., 24 years ago. “The house is too small for your family, but the seller is an artist and it’s full of light and her paintings. You have to see it,” my real estate agent had insisted.

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It was love at first sight. The sellers had extended the original in-town cottage into the nearly half-acre lot and trimmed it with high pine baseboards and built-in hall cupboards. My two young girls readily agreed to share the master bedroom with its compact half bathroom. Ted and I took the smaller one. Ceilings sloped; a shelf and a steel pipe created open closets for both rooms. Ted moved his books and desk into a small bedroom on the main floor. The place wasn’t perfect, but it felt like home.

And yes, clutter has been an ongoing problem. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have storage space?” we’d ask each other periodically. After the girls moved on to university, marriage, careers and babies, we began to talk about tailoring the house to be a comfortable, safe and welcoming “what if?” home. (For example, what if one of us can’t do stairs?)

“I want my office, a master bedroom and laundry on the main floor,” Ted said. “That way, we should never have to move.”

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