Universal Design: Building the “Forever” Home
“We cannot predict the future, but through the incorporation of universal design, we make be able to invent the future of home building.”
-Manny Gonzalez, Professional Builder Magazine
A home that is universally designed, takes all ages and abilities into
account. It creates a home that is easy and convenient to live in. Universal design, when done correctly, fits seamlessly into the design esthetic and is only noticed when it's convenience is noted by the home owners.
Creating a zero threshold entrance from the garage to the house, not only helps the person with aging knees, but also the mother with her hands full of groceries, the toddler learning to walk, and the loaded-down teenagers with all of their “stuff” for school heading out. Anyone who has tripped on stairs can appreciate a step-less entry into the house.
Creating rooms with larger doorways, zero-threshold showers, should seem more spacious, and elegant. Ultimately they can accommodate a wheelchair, but they don’t need to resemble the sterile design of a hospital. Motion- and touch-activated faucets has not only made turning on the water easier for everyone involved…it has saved money with the conservation of water.
Universal design is undoubtedly more of a focus for the age qualified group because the needs are changing, from a home full of kids, to empty nesters, and so on. And a trend among mature couples and retirees is the desire to “age in place”; to stay in their current home.
This trend is something that we have been thinking about and designing around for many years; creating homes with the master bedroom on the main floor, allowing for single floor living. Making sure that hallways and doorways are wide enough for easy wheelchair access, pantries located close to the garage, leaving a short distance to carry groceries. Designing zero-threshold entries into the house, bathrooms and showers. All of these features only enhance the flow of design, the attention to detail and how easy it is to live in the home.
This attention to universal design and an eye on creating homes for ageless living, allows homeowners to build their “Forever” homes and actually comfortably live in them for as long as they desire.