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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