Lead designer for Twin Creeks, Tom Collins’ personality and designs are like a breath of fresh air. Tom has had a broad involvement in home furnishings design. From the creation of patterns and color palates for fabric producers to designing, producing and marketing the Dexter Furniture line of custom upholstered furniture, he and his design team have been involved in countless residential and commercial projects with emphasis in the field of retirement communities. Through their involvement with fabric suppliers and with their North Carolina manufacturing facilities, they are able to bring quality seating, fashion furnishings and fresh design perspective to their projects.
Retirement Living Associates got the chance to pick Tom’s brain on the fantastic work he has done for our communities, Springmoor and Twin Creeks. Tom’s passion is apparent in his work and his words as he discusses inspiration, creativity, and what makes Florida a truly special place for seniors to choose as home.
Retirement Living Associates: When you first learned about Twin Creeks, what were some of your initial inspirations?
Tom Collins: The Twin Creeks conservatory is an extraordinary design feature which gives a lift to the normal retirement living residence by providing open air space with lots of natural lighting, thus enabling residents to enjoy the outdoors from the comfort of an easy chair. We have continued a natural color palate throughout the community to bring the beauty of the surrounding landscape into the common areas and residences.
RLA: What is your favorite thing about designing Florida retirement communities?
TC: We have found that the seniors enjoying retirement living in Florida appreciate environments that emphasize the color and light of the climate and flora. It is a joy to honor the Florida essence while providing traditional and transitional elements of design in the furnishings.
RLA: When you are considering a common area space for seniors, what are some key features you look for?
TC: Common space design involves creating a comfortable, open and inviting area where seniors can either engage with other residents, family, and friends or provide a personal space to relax and enjoy a change of scenery from their private residence. I like to choose colors and patterns that are active yet soothing. In general, the common areas we design are open and well lighted, using as much natural light as possible. We like to utilize lighter color palates with bright accents to create uplifting visuals. We are extremely conscious of function as it relates to seating. Seat depths are generally limited, seat heights are made slightly higher and arm heights which are helpful in sitting and standing are utilized. The cushioning is generally medium to firm for the same reason. We always take wheelchair and walker accessibility into account when spacing the furnishings.
RLA: What sets apart your design from others?
TC: We have always been conscious of the mission to make Springmoor and Twin Creeks home to its residents. Dexter Furniture’s background in residential design has been critical to the development of common areas with seating that features traditional styling while incorporating design features to maximize comfort and accessibility for the residents. The emphasis your communities have placed on enhancing life with every thoughtful detail make this a unique project.
If you would like to see Tom’s inspired designs, call 813-336-2128 to schedule a tour.