Nearly a quarter of all spending on home improvement in the first quarter of this year was done by “zoomers” and “single empty nesters,” according to NPD, the market research group, referring to couples and single parents 50 to 64 who have no children younger than 18 at home.


As Doug Walter, a Denver architect, put it: After years of putting their children’s needs first, many empty nesters “set out to satisfy their own desires.” He is finishing up a remodeling project for one couple whose three grown children left behind a bedroom that will soon be walk-in his-and-hers closets.



John Malick, an architect (and empty nester) in Piedmont, said many parents leave children’s rooms intact as “shrines” for a year or two or even longer after their children move out.



“People wonder, will my kids miss their rooms?” he said. But after a grace period, he continued, “the dam breaks loose and the fun begins.”



Some children may balk about the changes, but Erica Wylie, for one, was pleased by the results.



“That’s cool,” she said of the ceiling fixture in her mother’s new office, “though I might like a colored bulb in it.”



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