April 19, 2024


Functional and beautiful mobility products for aging in place

Vancouver-based Capella Design creates stylish mobility products for at home

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Turning reflections into actions

In March 2022, amid the global slowdown, Kaly Ryan launched Vancouver-based Capella Design. Ryan is an industrial designer and previously co-founded design company, Willow & Stump.

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Capella is the result of Ryan taking the time to reflect on what she really wanted to do with her design and fabrication talents, and her thoughts travelled back to the effort her parents went to — in the 80s and 90s — to modify her grandfather’s house so he could stay there as long as possible. He stayed in his own home until he was 95 years old.

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It was difficult then, and it’s difficult now to find functional products that assist people with mobility needs at home that also look good, modern and aesthetically pleasing.

A lot of mobility products, though functional, are downright depressing to look at, and people don’t really want them in their homes, says Ryan.

Founder of Capella Design Kaly Ryan.
Founder of Capella Design Kaly Ryan. Photo by Capella Design

Ryan also thought about her mother, who is now in her 70s and wants to stay in her own home as long as possible.

Ryan’s mum is part of a small group of people (around 10 per cent, if you go by a recent Forbes article — referencing the United States population) preparing to age in their homes. What’s interesting, says Ryan, is a recent survey by the Canadian Medical Association and National Institute on Ageing found that “96 per cent of Canadians want to age at home and live independently for as long as possible.”

“So there’s this huge gap between people who want it and are ready,” she says.

Before launching Capella Design, Ryan had some experience designing a health-related product. At Willow & Stump, she helped design its Perk Lamp, which was created to help people with seasonal affective disorder.

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Shower seat, not bench

It took Ryan two years to create Capella’s Lotic Shower Seat. She researched shower chairs and shower benches and was driven by a desire to redesign this often unattractive product.

“Realistically, you and I might need a shower stool tomorrow if we tripped and hurt ourselves. It doesn’t hurt to have these kinds of mobility products at home, but people don’t want to put them in their homes because they’re really ugly. They don’t always make you feel good about yourself,” she says.

Capella’s shower seat is made from a “solid surface” called Himacs, a stone-like material that looks and feels like stone but is non-porous.

Lotic shower seat by Capella Design can be used in and out of the shower.
Lotic shower seat by Capella Design can be used in and out of the shower. Photo by Capella Design

The stool’s slats are made from a composite decking material that is made from recycled plastic, produced by a “great Canadian company called NewTechWood,” says Ryan. “Essentially, you’re sitting on pop bottles that look and feel like wood.”

With mobility design, there is a big difference between following code and considering how a person is actually going to use a space — like a washroom, Ryan explains. Some hotel rooms have showers with bench seats that meet code, but you can’t actually reach the shower controls while sitting on the bench.

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“This is one of the reasons we created a stool instead of a bench.”

Lotic shower seat by Capella Design.
Lotic shower seat by Capella Design. Photo by Capella Design

Design is moving in a mobility-friendly direction

Walk-in showers, with no lip, are Ryan’s favourite trend because they’re easier for people to access, she says.

Contrasting colours is something people don’t often consider, but if you have an entirely white or grey bathroom, it can be challenging for people with vision issues to differentiate the floor from the wall.

“Even for me, if I take off my glasses, I can’t see anything in the shower.”

Capella has prototyped a good-looking side table with an adjustable tray, called Corbel. This design has been selected as a WL (Western Living) Design 25 finalist.

“It’s an adjustable side table that sits beside your bed or couch and adjusts up and down and swings in — like a TV tray but modernized,” says Ryan. You can use it to rest your plate, a cup of coffee, or an iPad if you’re FaceTiming someone or your book. “Winning a design-related award for accessible furniture is significant because it solidifies that these products can be seen as beautiful, functional furniture instead of things that are stuck in the mobility store that no one wants to visit.”

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Capella is also prototyping a grab-bar picture frame and a more “stable mug option” for people with hand mobility issues.

This mug has a larger handle, more stable base and is made from a light material, so it’s easy to hold,” says Ryan. For a mug, the design is quite elevated, she adds. Which, in design speak, means it looks good. She had ceramicist Grace Lee of Eikcam Ceramics prototype it for her.

“I’m really excited to get it into the hands of people who would use it to get it tested,” says Ryan.

Nothing about us without us

Nailing good design for people with mobility restrictions requires you to put the people you’re designing these products for at the centre of what you’re doing, says Ryan.

She says she isn’t an expert in mobility design; she’s an expert in listening to people and being able to respond.

“It’s all about making sure people who experience disability are central in creating solutions.”

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Between us, we have covered every space indoors and out... and we will keep adding more home decor inspiration so that you can continue to perfect your interior design skills.

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Frontgate and House Beautiful Create Co-Designed Outdoor Furniture Collection

The Eberly Collection offers readers and customers timeless outdoor style

WEST CHESTER, Ohio, March 30, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, leading home furnishing and lifestyle brand Frontgate and luxury home design magazine House Beautiful are launching their first ever co-designed outdoor furniture collection, The Eberly Collection.

Frontgate LogoFrontgate Logo

Frontgate Logo

The Eberly Collection is a thoughtful design collaboration informed by how today's consumers want to entertain and spend time outdoors. The new collection features generous deep seating furniture sets, teak chevron coffee and side tables, a versatile bench, ottoman and a showstopping new bar cart - ready to enhance any occasion. As both Frontgate and House Beautiful audiences love to host, the assortment includes a full dining set featuring an oversized table and beautifully crafted side chairs for additional seating.

"Customers are shopping differently and learning to design their homes in more dynamic ways for enjoyment and entertaining during the pandemic," says Carisha Swanson, director of editorial special projects for House Beautiful. "The market is rich for brand collaborations that speak to the lifestyle of today's fashionable homeowner or stylish condo dweller. We're matching the best outdoor furniture in the world with the sensibilities and a powerful lifestyle message of the comfort of home and safety of the outdoors which have become central to the ways in which we socialize – with our own backyard becoming the destination of choice for gathering."

House Beautiful editors and the Frontgate merchandising team considered seasonal and consumer trends to help craft an exclusive collection that celebrates both style and quality, while being flexible for a variety of entertaining purposes. The collaboration showcases both brands' elevated design aesthetic and each piece includes Frontgate's 10-year warranty. The collaboration features only Sunbrella fabrics with three designs that are exclusive to the Eberly Collection.

"We're delighted to see this stunning collection come to life through our longstanding partners at Frontgate and friends at House Beautiful," says Sarah Dooley, director of upholstery at Sunbrella. "We support their design vision and are proud to have Sunbrella fabrics exclusively woven throughout these beautiful pieces. Like all our fabrics, these designs provide the lasting beauty and worry-free performance consumers can trust to create dynamic and timeless spaces that are unique to them and their lifestyle."

As the national leader in outdoor furniture and decor, Frontgate prides itself on not only exceptional product quality, but also exclusive designs that boast both functionality and style.

"This collection is the culmination of a great partnership with brands who share our vision for helping customers create dynamic spaces that are not only stylish, but functional," says Tom Bazzone, president of Frontgate. "The collaboration pairs classic style with exclusive design, providing our customers an opportunity to create a unique outdoor destination for seasons to come."

The Eberly Collection will be found in the pages of ELLE Decor, House Beautiful and VERANDA magazines and shoppable in the Frontgate Catalog and at Frontgate.com/housebeautiful.

About the Cornerstone brands
The Cornerstone brands deliver inspirations that help customers enjoy, enhance and celebrate life. Cornerstone comprises four interactive, aspirational home and apparel lifestyle brands: Ballard Designs®, Frontgate®, Grandin Road® and Garnet Hill®. Cornerstone operates a separate ecommerce site for each brand, distributes 166 million catalogs annually, and has 21 retail and outlet stores.

Qurate Retail, Inc. (NASDAQ: QRTEA, QRTEB, QRTEP) includes QVC®, HSN®, Zulily® and the Cornerstone brands (collectively, "Qurate Retail GroupSM"), as well as other minority interests and green energy investments. Qurate Retail Group is dedicated to providing a more human way to shop. Qurate Retail Group is the largest player in video commerce ("vCommerce"), which includes video-driven shopping across linear TV, ecommerce sites, digital streaming and social platforms. For more information, visit www.qurateretailgroup.com, or follow @QurateRetailGrp on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, or follow Qurate Retail Group on YouTube or LinkedIn.

About Frontgate®
Since 1991, omni-channel retailer Frontgate has inspired its customers to enhance everyday living throughout the entire home with an assortment of stylish, high-quality and purposeful outdoor, interior, entertaining, and seasonal and holiday decor items. Frontgate is part of Qurate Retail GroupSM, a select group of leading retail brands that also includes QVC®, HSN®, Zulily®, Ballard Designs®, Garnet Hill® and Grandin Road®.

About House Beautiful
House Beautiful (www.housebeautiful.com) is the trusted authority on homed design, with an audience of more than 8 million (MPA June 2017). Since 1896, House Beautiful has inspired readers to believe that a beautiful life begins at home. With alluring photography, candid conversations with top designers and original decorating ideas, House Beautiful invites readers to dream and do. House Beautiful is published by Hearst Magazines, a unit of Hearst, a leading global, diversified media, information and services company. Hearst Magazines' portfolio of more than 25 powerful brands in the U.S. inspires and entertains audiences across all media platforms. Hearst Magazines' print and digital assets reach nearly 157.4 million readers and site visitors each month — 60% of all millennials and 52% of all Gen Z over the age of 18 (Source: 2021 comScore Multi-Platform © MRI-Simmons (11-21/F21). The company publishes nearly 260 magazine editions and 200 websites around the world. Follow @housebeautiful on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

About Sunbrella
Sunbrella has revolutionized the way the world thinks about how fabrics look, feel and perform. Luxuriously soft and exceptionally beautiful, Sunbrella fabrics integrate style with legendary performance qualities: proven durability, fade resistance, easy care and bleach-cleanability. Led by a global design team, premium Sunbrella fabric gives consumers, designers and architects the materials they need to create the extraordinary in marine, shade, indoor upholstery, outdoor upholstery, commercial and contract applications.

Introduced in 1961, Sunbrella fabrics are manufactured and marketed by Glen Raven, Inc., a 142-year-old family-owned company based in North Carolina with operations worldwide. For more information about Sunbrella, including inspiration, fabric collections and where to buy, visit sunbrella.com and follow Sunbrella on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter at @Sunbrella.

Contact Info:
Taylor Aronowitz
[email protected]

Eberly Deep Seating SetEberly Deep Seating Set

Eberly Deep Seating Set

Eberly Dining SetEberly Dining Set

Eberly Dining Set

Sunbrella Fabric PillowsSunbrella Fabric Pillows

Sunbrella Fabric Pillows



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SOURCE Frontgate