New Home Tips, Trends, and Ideas - Raleigh Custom Home Builders

What's in a Universal Design Home? Kitchen and Bath Features

Posted by Penny Hull on Mon, Mar 26, 2012 @ 11:03 AM

Universal Design Home Features

What's in a Universal Design Home?

A Universal Design home is focused on ease of use and flexibility - for homeowners of any age, status, and ability - for safety and comfort in a home that does not sacrifice visual appeal.

Universal Design features can be described in the two most used rooms of the home: the kitchen and bathroom.

Universal Design KitchensWhat's in a Universal Design Home | Kitchen Univeral Design Features

Universal Design kitchens can include features like:

 - Induction cooktops - there are no open flames, and the cooktop temperature generally remains neutral.

The custom home pictured here - the Linda - features an induction cooktop.


What's in a Universal Design Home | Kitchen Universal Design Features


 - Empty space under countertops, sink, or cooking areas - allows for seated (or wheelchair) access.

 - Lower countertops and sinks - allows for seated (or wheelchair) access.

 - Adjustable-height countertops - allows more flexibility for various kitchen users.

What's in a Universal Design Home? Kitchen Universal Design Features


 - Roll-out shelves or drawers - allows visibility and easy reach.

 - Pull-out counter underneath a built-in wall oven - allows easier transfer of hot items from the oven. 

 - "Hands-free" or touch faucets - allows for easier use of faucet.



Universal Design Bathrooms

Universal Design bathrooms can include features like:

What's in a Universal Design Home | Easy Access Tub


 - Tub ledge or seating area - easier movement into and out of the tub.

Pictured here is a custom home - the Dugan - with universal design bathroom features such as a wide tub seating area and separate roll in shower.


 - Textured flooring - preventing against slips on slick, wet surfaces. The Dugan includes textured tile flooring.

 - Night lighting - to help safely navigate a dark room.




What's a Universal Design Home?

 - Grab bars - manufacturers now offer coordinating grab bars, faucets and shower fixtures. 

Pictured here is a custom home - the Terrell - with universal design bathroom features.

This bathroom contains matching towel rack and grab bar. While these bars are a simple brushed nickel design, manufacturers offer many "loud" choices as well.


What's in a Universal Design Home? Shower Benches


 - "Zero-threshold" shower bases - the shower entrance is flush with the bathroom floor, allowing for wheelchairs and generally easier access.

 - Removable bench - can be used in the tub or shower.

 - Contrasting color design - to help distinguish where surfaces change.



What's in a Universal Design Home? | Universal Design Bathrooms


 - Hand-held/maneuverable faucets - to make bathing, or helping someone else bathe, easier.

The Terrell master bathroom - pictured to the right - features secondary shower and tub hand-held faucets, in addition to the static faucets.


What's the Difference Between Universal Design Homes and Accessible Homes? 

Universal Design homes are intended for easier living, no matter what physical condition, age, or ability. Accessible homes must meet higher, more specific standards (especially when government funding is utilized to build the home).

For example, for a home to be accessible, not just universal, the turning radius in the bathroom must be 5 feet in diameter.

Universal Design meets your needs now and later

Each universal design home is different.   Not every feature is included in every home - you'll choose what's most important to you and your lifestyle.

The best time to add universal design to your home is in the planning stage, before the building process begins. Ask us how!

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Tags: universal design, universal design homes, universal design ideas, 50+ Floor Plans

50+ Homebuyer Tips: Top 6 Things to Keep in Mind

Posted by Penny Hull on Fri, Sep 16, 2011 @ 16:09 PM

50+ Homebuyer Tips: Top 6 Things to Keep in Mind

Raleigh Custom Home Features for 50+ Homebuyers


Bonus room

1. Personal "Get Away" Space

Office? Hobby room? Entertainment or bonus room? Workshop corner?

No matter what your needs or lifestyle, a defined "get away" area is something you might want to consider in adding to your new home.



 Front Porch

2. Outdoor Living

How much time will you want to spend outdoors?

Well-designed homes include the right amount of space to entertain and relax outdoors, as well as indoors.

Some outdoor living options can include covered porches, screen porches, patios, courtyards, and even outdoor kitchens. 



3. Entertaining OptionsOpen concept floor plan

Consider the flexibility of you floor plan, and make sure to understant all your entertainment options.

Entertainment options are increased with an open concept floor plan, which can make smaller homes seem much more spacious and inviting.

Kitchens open to the great room, keeping room, or living room are becoming more popular, because they allow more opportunities for interaction.


 Covered Front Entrace

4. Easy Living

Most, if not all, living space should be on the first floor. There should also be ample room for manuvering (consider extra-wide hallways and doors).

A great plan should also include a well-designed covered entrance, such as a front porch or portico. Try to minimize the number of stair steps required for entrace.  


5. Plenty of StorageStorage Built ins

Plenty of easily-accessible storage can be essential.

Consider turning attic space into storage, even in one story designs.

Downstairs, look for generous closet space and plenty of cupboards. Built ins are always useful.


Natural Light 

6. Natural Light

Nothing brightens a home better than natural light.

Look for two, three, or four windows per room.

Groupings of windows facing outdoor living space adds even more visual appeal.


Click here to download a free Top 5 50+ Floorplans guide.

Read about Universal Design Homes and Accessible Homes:

Universal Design Laundry Rooms for 50+ Homes

Specially Adapted Housing for Veterans and Servicemembers - How to Get Started

ADA and Wheelchair Accessible Homes

One Story Floor Plans

Tags: 50+ Homebuyers, New Homes for 50 Plus Homebuyers, Retirement homes Raleigh, Raleigh Custom Home Builders, 50+ Floor Plans, aging in place