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Getting into a Universal Design home: Entrances, Walkways, and Lighting

Posted by Stanton Homes Design on Wed, Feb 02, 2011 @ 06:02 AM

Universal Design Home Builders | Accessible Home Design

Entrance, Walkways, and Lighting for Universal Design Homes

Getting in and out of your Universal Design home begins with its entrance, walkways and lighting. Here’s what you need to know – with tips on questions to ask an accessible home builder:

Universal Design Home Builders | Accessible Home Design


  • At least one entrance that doesn’t require steps
    • Porch floor, stoop, or landing should be at the same level as the floor inside the home (see the photo above for an example of no-step entry homes)
  • Exterior door at least 35 inches wide
    • Eye-level peephole for adults, children, and wheelchair access
    • Lever or D-shaped door handle
    • Easy-to-reach, lighted doorbell or intercom
  • Flat threshold
  • No slip flooring
  • Large, simple typeface house numbers 60 inches off the floor
  • Overhead covering (roof extension, overhang or awning)
  • Chair, small table, bench or shelf by the door

Universal Design Home Builders | Accessible Home Design


  • Textured
  • Nonslip
  • Level or gradually sloping
  • 36 inches to 66 inches wide
  • Concrete or other solid surface material
  • Ramps (see an example of a new home wheelchair ramp, below)
    • No more than one inch rise for each 12 inches in length
    • Five foot landing at top and wherever ramp changes direction
    • Handrails on both sides that can be gripped while sitting and standing

Universal Design Home Builders | Accessible Home Design


  • Small, low-voltage lights that illuminate walkways, with extra lights as elevation changes
  • Covered light fixtures above eye level at entrance to minimize glare
  • Illuminate door handle, lockset and house numbers 

Ask your accessible home builder about these additional considerations:

  • Placement of the home that does not require ramps
  • Several fixtures such as scones or hanging lanterns
  • Recess lights in the underside of eaves or roof overhang
  • Perimeter area spotlights directed at walls, dark corners and garages
  • Motion or light sensor that switches on and off automatically
  • Door locks that are easy to operate, such as keyless locks with remote control, push-button or keypad
  • Intercom system—connected to phone or stand-alone
  • Passive or active solar heating (e.g., south facing windows)

Universal Design (UD) (encompassing “aging in place,” “accessible living,” and “barrier-free living”) is an approach to building that makes everyday actions easier.

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.  

Get help finding an accessible home floor plan in North Carolina, here.

Universal Design Home Builders | Accessible Home Design

(See photos of NC accessible homes - like this version of the Scottsdale, with wider hallways, doorways, and entrances.)

Tags: universal design homes, Universal Design Home Builders, accessible homes, nc custom home builder, accessible home design, New Accessible Homes, Wheelchair Accessible Home Builders