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

Top 10 Accessible Home Design Tips for the Front Entry

Posted by Penny Hull on Wed, Dec 08, 2010 @ 11:12 AM

Accessible Home Design | NC Custom Home Builders Tips

Open the door to accessibility:  Front entrance features

An accessible or universal design home is more welcoming and practical when its advantages start at the front door.

Accessible Home Design: Front Entrance

Accessible Home Design | NC Custom Home BuildersOpening your home to accessibility begins with the ability to get inside, whether the entire home will be built to an accessible home design, or you just need to plan your entry so that others with special needs are able to visit.

Here are the top ten touches NC custom home builders can install without a lot of cost.

1.  Visible House Numbers

Accessible Home Design Tip #1 - Make the address easy to find

Use large numbers, and place them where they are clearly visible from the street. Make sure they’re in a place where landscaping won’t overgrow them.

Check with your NC custom home builder about placement of home numbers. If all the houses have numbers in the same location, you’ll want to follow that rule. Emergency personnel may find your home more easily if they know exactly where to look for the number.

2.  Illuminated House Numbers

Accessible Home Design Tip #2 – Light up your life

If your street has poor lighting, consider luminous numbers or a decorative spotlight for nighttime clarity. 

If there are no homeowner association restrictions regarding location, consider placing numbers next to a carriage light or other fixture. 

3.  Shelf or Niche for Packages

Accessible Home Design Tip #3 - A Place for Everything

Your NC custom home builders can add a handy place to put things, such as a recessed niche or wall-mounted shelf next to the front entry.  This can be a great help when trying to find keys to unlock the front door.  Consider adding one just INSIDE the door too!

4.  Benchwork

Accessible Home Design Tip #4 – Add a place to rest

A built-in bench is a nice touch that allows a place to sit. Every accessible home design is even more delightful if it allows for outdoor enjoyment. And a bench on the front porch can also double as a spot to set things.

5.  Extra Wide Entry Door

Accessible Home Design | NC Custom Home BuildersAccessible Home Design Tip #5 - Making an Easy Entrance

Accessible entry doors installed by NC custom home builders should be at least 36 inches wide. For further accessibility, doors should be expanded to 42 or 48 inches for mobility devices.

Alternatively, you can consider 5 or 6 foot wide double-entry doors.  An extra wide entry door isn’t just handy for wheelchairs and caregivers – it also allows easier access for furniture moving.

6.  Clear Space

Accessible Home Design Tip #6 - Room to maneuver

NC custom home builders will make sure that entries have at least 18" of clear space on the pull side of the door.  In the Raleigh area, most entry doors swing inside the home, so a well designed accessible home design will usually allow for landing space on both the inside and the outside of the front door.

7.  Flat, Level Entry

Accessible Home Design | NC Custom Home BuildersAccessible Home Design Tip #7 – Leveling the field

Accessible home designs do not include steps at the front entry. NC custom home builders recommend a poured foundation rather than a crawl space.

A crawl space foundation home can have a level entry, but there may be additional costs for site work such as grading, adding/removing soil, or retaining walls.  A ramp entry is a popular option.

8.  Minimum Landing Space

Accessible Home Design Tip #8 - Room to Turn Around

NC custom home builders will make sure that a front entry has a minimum 5x5 footprint.  This allows enough room for a mobility device to maneuver in and out.  Most accessible home design options include a larger porch. 

9.  Doorbell

Accessible Home Builders Tip #9 - Easy to use doorbell

An illuminated doorbell is ideal for an accessible home design. NC custom home builders will also install it at a lower level where it can be easily reached from a wheelchair or mobility device.

10.  Landscape Lighting

Accessible Home Builders Tip #10 - Light up the Night

Exterior lights are common in all homes. But in an accessible home design you will often find multiple sources. Overhead lights, carriage lights, wall scones and fixtures that have more than one bulb are all possibilities.

Recessed lighting is another great option for a front porch. It’s a clean look that will also add curb appeal.  

Front Entry Tips from Accessible Home Builders

Talk to your NC custom home builder about specific needs, and learn how an accessible design home can make things easier for everyone, without a lot of changes to your lifestyle.

Learn More about Accessible Homes and Universal Design Homes:

Click here for more requested answers about accessible homes and universal design homes from your NC custom home builders.

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Tags: nc custom home builders, universal design homes, accessible homes, accessible home design, front entry

Universal Design: Accessible Homes that Don't Compromise Great Looks

Posted by Penn Hull on Mon, Nov 01, 2010 @ 06:11 AM

What is Universal Design?

Universal design is all about making it easier to function in a specific area for people who are older or disabled – without foregoing normalcy, in ways that everyone can find appealing.

It’s about use of space, easy-to-operate appliances, and a look and feel that makes people comfortable. Accessibility, as well as attractiveness.

Here’s how top custom homebuilders make universal design work for you:

1.    Incorporating universal design elements into a floor plan so that the overall effect is seamless. A bedroom suite on the main floor, wider doorways and other structural allowances can be designed to add value to the home, giving it an open-space feeling that is appealing to everyone.

Universal Design Homes | Aging in Place Homes

(Downstairs guest bathroom with lots of natural light, a universal design feature.)


2.    Bathrooms and kitchens are designed to accommodate everyone, with ergonomic designs that are intended to reduce stress, emphasize safety and help people overcome limitations. This can include adjustments to appliances such as moving handles and knobs to the forefront where they can be used more easily, and use cupboard latches that are easily triggered.

Universal Design Homes | Aging in Place Homes

(Microwave located in the lower cabinets, with front controls for easy-use.)

3.  Glare-free lighting can be installed throughout the home, in ceiling fixtures as well as work areas that require additional illumination to ensure everyone can see clearly. Areas with controls or instructions are often fitted with extra lights, as well, so that operations are clearly visible.

Universal Design Homes | Aging in Place Homes

(Under cabinet lighting helps illuminate work areas in this wheelchair accessible kitchen.)

4.  Appliances can be fitted with conversion systems that provide additional automatic functions.  Convection ovens, front-load washers and dryers, and other every-day household equipment is structured so that settings can be predetermined, and the systems can be operated with a single touch.

5.  Homes are designed for aging-in-place, with features that prepare for eventual restructuring, such as floor layouts that have closets stacked over each other, which can later be taken out and replaced with an elevator.

Universal Design Homes | Aging in Place Homes

(Universal Design home with an elevator leading to the second story)

Today’s universal design is seen more as a way to retain value in a home throughout a lifetime. It’s functional, practical, and artistic – and it’s one of the most popular approaches for new homes where buyers intend to live long-term.


Experienced Accessible Home Builders –

Stanton Homes is an industry leading accessible, universal, certified Aging in Place and VA-approved Specially Adapted Housing custom home builder.

Whether you start with a plan that is designed for accessibility, ask us to modify or create a new plan, we can build in wider hallways and doorways, entry ways, turning radius, non-slip flooring, ramps and walkways, special lighting, roll out or pull out shelving, easy grope door, faucet and drawers, accessible switches, no step entries, roll-in showers, ADA roll-under countertops and work spaces, and whatever else you need.  


Tags: nc custom home builders, universal design, universal design homes, accessible homes, aging in place, Homes Designed for Aging in Place, Accessible Home Builders