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Universal Design

Options for comfort and safety in your home.

Pictures used with permission from "Universal Design for the Home" by Wendy Jordan

Tom is a Certified Aging-in-Place Remodeling Specialist. Based on "Universal Design Criteria" it is possible to provide the most possible comfortable years of living in ones own home.

The day of hospital-style accessibility products and features has gone. There is an endless variety of beautiful "high-end" options that can satisfy the taste of the most discriminating clients. A splendid book showing many of the ideas and options is "Universal Design for the Home" by Wendy A. Jordan. She shows beautiful pictures of practical and detailed solutions to allow for "aging in place" in your own home.

When one is thinking of remodeling with "Universal Design" as a guiding principle, there are simple features which can be integrated with minimal additional cost. These include:

  • Make all interior doors at least 2'8" wide (2'10" even better), especially for bathrooms.
  • Add blocking behind sheet rock and full plywood behind shower stalls so that grab bars and handrails can later be added if needed.
  • Design kitchens with peninsulas instead of islands
  • Kitchen, pantry, laundry and vanity cabinets should have as many slide-outs as possible.
  • Some counters should be lower than standard height.
  • Build shower units with minimal (or no) curbs.
  • Provide bed and bath options on the first floor level.
  • Use zero clearance or maximum " thresholds for doors and flooring transitions.