Evidence from scientific studies on biophilia from around the globe support findings that using wood in interior finishes reduces stress and anxiety and improves emotional states. So, it is wood that sets the tone for the newly renovated common area of the Hitchcock wing of the Jefferson House.

Jefferson House was the first Nursing Home Built in Connecticut and is part of the Hartford Healthcare system that provides long-term care and rehabilitation services for Hartford, CT, area seniors. The design not only soothes, but leads residents through the new space to a lovely outdoor patio overlooking a wooded landscape.
Formerly, the open area of the wing was dark and closed in. To create something more homelike and bright, designers began by removing walls to capture space and light and improve circulation. The shower space was re-envisioned as a larger space with two zones and a spa-like ambiance, including a rainhead shower replacing an old tub. Ceramic tile that looks like wood contrasts with a more neutral color to define the different areas. A dining area and adjacent kitchen engage residents in shared activities like cookie baking. A sitting area features a cozy electric fireplace. The ends of all the corridors have windows to the outside wooded lot.
A warm wood ceiling wraps from one end of the space to the other, directing residents to a well-shaded wood gazebo that replaced an overgrown indoor greenhouse. The ceiling, with its felt backing and tiny perforations, boasts a high sound absorption value. A custom wood wall feature represents the native inkberry plant, a relative of the holly tree.

Overall, finishes provide good contrast, improved lighting, and a simple, easy-to-understand layout. A centrally located, two-tiered nurse’s station makes it easier for residents to interact with staff. The changes, part of Amenta Emma’s commitment to inclusive design, make the space more appropriate for residents with a variety of physical or cognitive impairments.
“The residents love it! The hallways are bright and warm. The dining room and living room space are used for activities and help us feel more like we did pre-pandemic. The kitchenette is ready for us to get hands-on with some projects, and the new shower core resembles a spa, rather than a nursing home shower area,” said Susan Vinal, Jefferson House executive director.
Jeff Palmer, Director of Connecticut Operations for general contractor C.E. Floyd Company said, “We always look forward to working with Amenta Emma. They create thoughtful, purpose-driven spaces where residents will thrive, while bringing the client’s vision to life. They are a true partner throughout the construction process. All of these traits are critical elements for a successful project.”

Jefferson House is located in Newington, CT. The renovation of the Hitchcock wing did not include changes to the 30 resident rooms in the “household,” but plans are underway for common space improvements on other floors of the facility.

The architect Frank Lloyd Wright once said that wood, because of its association to nature and outdoors, “is universally beautiful to man. It is the most humanly intimate of all materials.” Now we know why.
Awards & Recognitions
Alexis Hoff, AIA, NOMA was honored with a 2022 PWC CT Rising Star Award at the Issues & Impacts event held on April 5. The Professional Women in Construction (PWC) Rising Star award honors exceptional women in the A/E/C industry who are recognized by their colleagues, mentors and peers as future leaders in the industry. This award is given annually to a candidate who has less than 7 years’ experience in the industry, and demonstrates — through her dedication, her work and her attitude — the capacity to attain the highest levels in her field.
Debra Seay, AIA, WELL AP has been selected as one of this year’s Hartford Business Journal Top 25 Women in Business honorees. Nominated by readers and chosen by a panel of independent judges, 25 women are honored each year. These women have common threads woven throughout their stories of career perseverance, dedication, leadership and resourcefulness. Honorees were celebrated on May 5 at Farmington Gardens and are recognized in a special issue of the Hartford Business Journal.
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News & Updates

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