Zoomerhouse is Underway!

by David Barrett

Boomers with a Zest for Living | A Place for Improvisation | The Zoomerhouse

David Barrett and his wife, Betzi Barrett of Four Star Realty, are designing and developing a prototype for-sale “aging gracefully” home in Boulder, Colorado. This is the first in a series of posts documenting the principles, ideas, and practicalities of this exciting endeavor!

More and more I think of design, and life itself, as a series of ongoing improvisations. As the anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson describes, “swimming in the vulnerability of the moment” kept her thinking alive, kept her awake. Our options seem to be denial or spending too much time prepping to ease the stress of an unknown future. So what does this have to do with the design of a “Zoomerhouse?”

Well, what if we have a tool for aging that makes change more comfortable? What if accessibility is seen not through institutional eyes, but as a way of freeing us up by empowering us to access life’s necessities, minimizing restrictions and barriers? What if home is akin to a Swiss Army knife, serving as a tool, rather than an obstruction? The Zoomerhouse is intended to support creative aging by allowing us to improvise as we confront the inevitable changes that come with age. By celebrating a generosity of flow, we can move comfortably through spaces,  reconfiguring to better meet our changing needs.

If we see life, and ourselves, as more verbs than nouns, active life might be seen as an ongoing series of performances. So as a demographic that questioned authority, why not throw away those tarnished scripts of our parents and take on aging from a creative place of improv?

Zoomerhouse has recently come out of the ground, and stands as an open empty frame. We will continue to construct this flexible home with the intent to provide a beautiful space in which one can age gracefully. We’ll keep you up to date on the progress as we seek out fresh approaches to our living architecture improvisations.



4 replies
  1. David Barrett, FAIA
    David Barrett, FAIA says:

    Thanks, Ron! The Zoomerhouse is definitely intended to be sustainable, with a HERS rating of 56 – meaning that it performs 44% better than a typical current home. Energy conserving measures include R56 ceiling insulation, R33 wall insulation, high performance windows, passive solar design, and quality daylighting. All appliances are Energy Star, plumbing fixtures are low-flow, and lighting is 80% high efficacy fixtures. The south facing sloped roof has been engineered for solar photovoltaics. Another sustainable feature is the location – Zoomerhouse is located within walking to grocery, cafes, restaurants, and transit stops.

    Keep an eye out for more updates coming soon – the drywall goes in this weekend!

    Best, David Barrett, FAIA

  2. Charlie
    Charlie says:

    BSa team, the Zoomerhouse is brilliant. Comfortable, chic and adaptable. Once again you are demonstrating that small is beautiful. I look forward to seeing it!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Last Spring I told you about Zoomerhouse, the “aging gracefully” home prototype in Boulder, Colorado that my wife Betzi and I were building. We are so proud to say our baby has been born. She’s a beauty. […]

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