Aspen Ridge Residences is opening its doors in Lehi to provide an option for those who need new living arrangements.

With family and friends, I have noticed that they get by just fine living independently until some illness, event, or occurrence results in them seeking an alternative. I recently photographed a new assisted living center in a transitioning residential and commercial neighborhood in Utah County, Aspen Ridge Residences at Lehi by Larry H. Miller Senior Health, just two days before the first residents moved in.  It expands the discussion about the choices available when it becomes time to make a change. 

The building had served a similar function and closed, and the new owners enlisted the team of Metropolitan Studio (Connie Wittich) and Green Ridge Builders to update and transform the space into a cheerful, welcoming living environment. Connie Wittich has a knack for bringing the look and feel of hospitality properties to these projects, as you can see in the photo of the front lobby. Touches to better serve the clientele of assisted living include spaces wide enough for wheelchairs and walkers and arms on the chairs to assist with getting up and down. 

The fireplace anchors the corner of the lobby. The mantle is set at the height of the top of the white, painted wood wainscoting to create a strong horizontal line to lower the scale and make the space feel more intimate. The sparkling geometry of the bronze chandelier similarly lowers the scale while also adding visual interest to the floor above that looks out into the space. 

The base of the stairs is a natural spot for friends to meet up and then proceed to the dining room together. A fish tank provides color, movement, and a connection to the natural world. 

Staff offices take less prominent places in the design except for this glass-walled office for meeting with potential residents and their families and support people. The décor bridges residential and office with coffered ceiling, painted wainscoting, upholstered furniture and pale blue and apricot in the color palette. Again, passages allow for wheelchairs or walkers and all chairs have sturdy arms.

The sense of a design for hospitality extends to the dining room with its ceiling detailing, wainscoting, patio with an entrance at the back, and the colorful carpet. Wittich works with the carpet vendor on the colors and design to achieve a sense of movement and vitality. 

Upstairs is the soon-to-be-busy realm of the activity director. Tables are in place for projects and puzzles, and comfortable chairs are interspersed for individual interests like knitting, handwork, or word and number puzzles. The black-and-white photos on the far wall feature images of Lehi dating from the late 1940s and early 1950s, and they consistently catch the interest of anyone coming into the room.

The oversized posters of artwork by Norman Rockwell for Saturday Evening Post are themed toward barbers and salons. 

There is no reason to give up a life of fitness or even start one at Aspen Ridge, as there is a center with the most up-to-date machines and equipment. 

Along the corridor connecting the apartments are other spaces for socializing and watching television with others. This one is furnished with recliners, a perpetual favorite for relaxing. 

Finally, the apartments. This studio model features a convenience kitchen, lounge space, an accessible bathroom, large walk-in closet, and bedroom area. Another model has one bedroom.

As I mentioned, I photographed just before the first residents moved in. The space has a lot of life even when empty, but it should become a very vibrant place as it fills up.

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