Designing Houses to Last a Lifetime

New York, NY, March 16, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Boyce Thompson’s THE FOREVER HOME: Designing Houses to Last a Lifetime, released this week by Schiffer Publishing, offers a fascinating study of how American’s rediscovered their homes, to their delight and bewilderment, during a time when fear of disease kept them inside. Thompson, an award-winning expert on residential building and design, features more than three dozen revealing interviews with homeowners living in new or recently remodeled homes during the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 pandemic – and its associated lockdowns – produced an acute awareness of home limitations,” says Thompson. “Houses centered on large great rooms, with nowhere to escape the cacophony of twenty-four-hour television news, failed to deliver on their most basic promise—comfort. Many people used pandemic downtime to dig deeper into individual pursuits—making art, writing memoirs, or practicing musical instruments. Their homes did not always play along.”

The book arrives amid evidence that Americans are living much longer in their homes – 13 years or more. The book takes aim at production builders who market homes for buyers at critical life stages – when they first marry or earn enough to buy a luxury home – rather than design to accommodate a lifetime of evolving needs. Thompson lays out a plan for designing, building, and remodeling homes to last a lifetime. Certain elements – such as systems for energy conservation and clean indoor air – cannot be ignored in the beginning. But homeowners may be able to upgrade to more luxuriant features and fixtures – a design kitchen or a finished basement – later on. The savings could be used to pay for longer-lasting roofing, siding, and windows.

“I heard heart-rending stories from owners who never thought they would need the inclusive or universal-design aspects of their home,” said Thompson. “Then they wound up injured or critically ill and marveled at how improved access to bathrooms, bedrooms, and closets allowed them to use their home comfortably and with dignity. Floor plans need to be flexible enough to accommodate people of all physical abilities.” The book lays out a three-tiered plan for designing accessible homes, starting with designing an accessible home for visitors. Virtually all the homes profiled in the book have ample circulation space in kitchens and baths for people using walkers or wheelchairs or who just need more space for maneuverability.

With photographs and floor plans, The Forever Home offers case studies representing different perspectives, from young families to divorcees, single-parent households, and retirees. Tips at the end of each chapter address issues such as key lifestyle questions to ask before designing a forever house, where not to skimp, and how to plan spaces for double and triple duty.

“Designing an adaptable home has economic, environmental, and emotional rewards. With smart planning, it’s possible to build a house that can be passed on to the next generation,” says Thompson. “At the most basic level, our homes need to provide a spiritual refuge from the stress of work, safety from the threat of crime, and room to spend high-quality time with your family. And at the highest level, a forever home may produce memories that become part of your spiritual identity.”

ABOUT BOYCE THOMPSON:  Boyce Thompson is the author of four books on residential design and construction. His latest book, The Forever Home, outlines a method of designing and building homes to last a lifetime. His previous book, Designing for Disaster, published by Schiffer, identifies best practices for resilient home design. It received a gold prize from the Independent Book Publishers. Anatomy of a Great Home (Schiffer Publishing, 2018) demystifies the elements of award-winning residential architecture, presenting concepts that anyone can use. His first book, The New New Home (The Taunton Press 2014), identified innovative building techniques practiced during the recession. It was named book of the year by the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

For 17 years, Thompson served as the editorial director of Builder magazine, published by Hanley-Wood. Builder was named the best business publication in America in 2010 by the Association of Business Publication Editors. Thompson is the founding editor of six magazines, including Residential Architect, Big Builder, Digital Home, and ProSales. His work has appeared in publications as diverse as Fine HomebuildingThe Washington PostFarm JournalGoverningInc., and Practical Homeowner.  Thompson received the Crain Award from American Business Media for lifetime achievement in business media. Thompson holds a BA in English from Northwestern University and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri. He lives in Bethesda, Maryland. For more visit