Specialist Design

How we choose and design our homes:

Location, location, location! A popular TV property show but also our key driver in selecting locations for Apple House care homes.

Being part of a thriving community and being able to take advantage of its facilities is a fundamental and necessary part of our daily lives. Fortunately, Apple House care homes are located in a wonderful part of our great country. Betwixt sea and forest, served by major and minor towns and villages, we really are not being smug when we say we have the very best of all worlds in Dorset and Hampshire.

Here is an insight into how we designed each of our homes.

When considering opening a new service the first consideration we give is its location. We have a tough and uncompromising list of requirements that would make any estate agent roll their eyes. For starters we insist upon the following as a minimum:

  • Distance on foot to basic amenities: No further than a ten minute walk to bus stops, a convenience store and if there’s a pub or restaurant all the better!
  • Distance by car to doctor, dentist, shopping, essential services. These should be within a ten minute car journey.
  • Distance on foot or by car to a wide variety of activities: As a minimum there must be facilities such as swimming, gym, cinema, outdoor recreation opportunities. These should be within a thirty minute car journey.
  • Privacy: The property must not be overlooked, wedged between or close to neighbouring properties or have shared facilities such as driveways or gardens.
  • Outdoor leisure space: The garden must be of a reasonable size, offer lawn as well as beds for planting of flowers and/or vegetables. There must be space to incorporate sensory areas, different places to sit alone or with others. Space for fun is a must too! We like to add a log cabin so there also has to be extra room for this without taking garden space.
  • Quality of build and neighbourhood: We will only consider properties of solid and traditional construction which are in well-presented and safe communities.
  • Flexibility of internal space: The floorplan is key. To meet our high standards, every bedroom must have a private bathroom and, as these are not commonplace in most residential houses, there has to be sufficient space and flexibility to install these without impacting on overall usable living space. The lounge and hallways must be a good size. People we support do not appreciate narrow, dark corridors and do appreciate a sense of openness and light. This is why we have removed entire walls to open up hallways and used clever technology such as ceiling lights that look like sky to throw light downwards and a fascinating point of interest in an otherwise unavoidable darker space. Every detail is thought about from the first time we consider a property to join our group.

Once the above checklist has been ticked the fun begins! We work with a reputable and creative architect and a consistent team of local builders and craftsmen to see our vision through to completion. Our standards are high and uncompromising. We source the best products and materials, ever mindful of the people who will be creating their home from the building we provide. Before we offer a home for registration by CQC and then to individuals to live there, we:

  • Hold a pre-engagement telephone call with our regulator, CQC, to discuss the proposed service and ensure we are on the right pathway to achieving registration and meeting guidelines within legislation such as Building The Right Support.
  • Identify individuals who may wish to live at the service.
  • Invite the person and their family to be fully involved in designing their bedroom and living space. This includes all aspects from colours, furnishings, floorings, layout of bathrooms, to fitments and technology. This is their home not ours. Their choice matters.
  • Consider safety: Personal door fobs, keypad entry, access and exit points are key considerations. Fire protection is second to none with a full L1 zoned fire detection system. Swing-free fire door closures avoid the heavy hazard of a traditionally shutting fire door and are now fitted as standard to all new bedrooms.
  • Give ownership of personal space by adding ‘front door’ decals to bedroom doors and personal fob locks.
  • Where appropriate we will delineate living spaces by using colour to identify the different functions of each room, for example where a lounge ends and dining room begins.
  • Liaison with multi-disciplinary teams such as occupational health, intensive support nurse teams and psychology, where indicated, to tailor the home to very specific needs.
  • Meeting the neighbours! As we will be at the heart of the community it’s essential we build positive relationships with our neighbours, particularly as they may be inconvenienced during building work. Anxieties surrounding change can be allayed by good communication from the outset. Our managing director always personally visits immediate neighbours before work starts, to introduce the company and provide a link, a point of contact for any concerns or ideas. Our homes try to be neighbourly with staff and residents often providing hand-made gifts, cards and baked goodies to their neighbours as well as fresh eggs from our homes’ chickens. Our neighbours let us know when things go wrong and trust us to put it right in a timely way.

At the heart of each home is a mindfulness that it must offer comfort, inspiration, safety and a warm welcome.

Here is a copy of our Building Design Report for Corner Cottage: