Forecasting the Future of 55+ Active Living Housing

This story was written by Doris A. Pearlman, founder of Possibilities for Design, Inc., a nationally recognized, award winning, interior design and merchandising firm based in Denver, Colorado. The firm specializes in market driven interior space merchandising and trend setting designs.

In the context of the future of 55+ housing for active adults, forecasting can be defined as knowing what the next best thing will be.

It starts with knowing the buyers. Active-adult home buyers want a redefined product for the new phase of their life, and are seeking a lifestyle, as well as the perfect home.

Shape-Shifting Design
This means not just smaller homes, but smarter and better homes, with spaces that serve multiple functions. More than ever, active-adult homeowners consider their home a personal expression of their age, interests, and values.

They are active, love life, and want to be in on the party. Highly social, they’ll need room and features for entertaining. With less need for a formal living and dining room, we’ll continue to see the popularity of the great informal room and indoor/outdoor entertaining.

A home office nook or command center continues to be important. Some homes offer a niche off the kitchen, where the homeowner can pay bills, search for recipes, and possibly work from home.

With life spans increasing and boomerang children returning, many active-adult home buyers are caring for both generations simultaneously. This calls for a casita (small guest house) or even two master bedrooms. And don’t forget the grandchildren.

According to a recent AARP survey, 75% of respondents over 45 hope to age in their homes. Universal Design will facilitate aging in place. This will call for rethinking the placement of appliances, sinks, and storage and it requires barrier-free showers. And it can all be done without sacrificing style.

It’s Personal
All active-adult home buyers are not the same, however. They have varied personal tastes. What part of the country they live in, whether they’re urban or suburban, working or retired, will all affect their design style and choices. Here are several of the most popular styles for today’s active adult:

  • City Living. The square footages of urban homes are often smaller, so the floorplans are efficient and merchandise big on quality. With limited space, the furniture tends to be sleeker with minimal accessories. Shaker-style cabinetry paired with contemporary hardware is a perfect example of what is trending in the urban environment.
  • Traditional Classics. These homes show a fresh look by presenting “classic with a twist.” They have updated floorplans, and reinvigorated spaces with new, exciting colors. All-white kitchens and baths featuring Carrara marble is a popular look right now.
  • Mediterranean. What has traditionally been referred to as “Tuscan” or “Mission” style is now part of this larger category. Warm and textural, this style is full of natural materials, wood beams, rich colors, and leather furniture. Top this space off with global accessories and photos of travel.
  • Cottage Casual. Remember shabby chic? Today it’s cottage casual. This look is relaxed and informal, characterized by wood floors, bead board, and applied trims on walls and ceilings. Cottage homes spell relaxation to the homeowner and their guests.
  • Unexpected Combinations. In what is perhaps the most exciting trend of all, a mix of these style choices juxtaposed in surprising ways. Imagine rustic beams on a ceiling with a formal, traditional chandelier, and styles inspired by mixing traditional furniture with industrial accents.

The future looks bright for 55+ home buyers. Builders are becoming more informed about what active adults are looking for, and we are using that information to build you your dream home.

To learn more about Toll Brothers Active Living, please visit our Active Living website.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Sharon

    You have spoiled us from looking at homes. A year ago we visited your 55+ community in Methuen, MA and fell in love with it. The only reason we didn’t buy was because my husband belongs to a golf club in the Boston area and Methuen was too long of a drive for him to make 5 times a week. When you finish this project will you be moving closer to the Boston (North Shore) area? If you are, we will be one of the first to buy into it.

    1. Toll Brothers

      Hello Sharon, thank you for your comment – we love our Toll Brothers fans! Unfortunately, there is nothing planned at this time for the North Shore area, but keep an eye on our website or visit our other local sales centers for updates. We do have another 55+ community planned for the east side of Methuen that will be very similar to Regency. Regency at Emerald Pines is targeted to open for sales within the next year. For more information, please visit our website –

  2. Cheryl

    I’m interested in more information about Emerald Pines. I am unable to find info. on the Toll Brothers website. Will the community be detached condos only? What will the price range be? When will a sales packet be available?

    1. Toll Brothers

      Hello Cheryl, thank you for your comment. Emerald Pines will be a resort style community for active adults 55 and over. The community will consist of 140 detached homes. Pricing will vary by home. We anticipate opening for sale in early 2015. Once a more definitive date is set, the community will be added to the Toll Brothers website – If you are interested, you can register as a VIP through our sales team at (978) 557-5511, or email

  3. Bob

    When will we start to see information on the Toll Brothers website regarding Emerald Pines? Even as simple as a coming soon link with the status of activity? I get planning is still in the works, but it’s near the final stages.

    1. Toll Brothers

      Hello Bob, thank you for your comment. Emerald Pines will be a resort style community for active adults 55 and over. The community will consist of 140 detached homes with a clubhouse, pool, tennis court, bocce courts, putting green, and garden center. There will be an association to manage the amenities and exterior services to the homes. We anticipate opening for sale in early 2015. Once a more definitive date is confirmed, the community will be added to the Toll Brothers website – Interested home buyers are encouraged to register with our sales team at (978) 557-5511, or email

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