While universal design may not be front and center for everyone, it is for some families. Building with this design in mind is a great option for those that may need a home modified for a handicapped family member, or even for future generations not being physically able to safely enter a bathtub or walk up a few porch steps. With Universal Design, however, that thought process is taken care of for you - with additional items you may not have even considered.
So, what is Universal Design? And who does it benefit?
Universal Design is a way of strategizing a plan, or modifying a home, to maximize accessibility for any person that may have physical restrictions in the future. This means elderly individuals, as well as someone who may be short-term, physically injured.
Bathrooms are specifically targeted, as they are the primary source of injuries in the home for any age, with over an astonishing 80% of injuries. Listed below are some alterations to make during the design phase that could ensure your home could really be suitable for a lifetime.
- Walk-in bathtub options
- Sloped and recessed (no ledge or step) oversized showers
- Additional hardware "grab bars" in showers and commode rooms
- Additional lighting, especially in transitions between rooms and differing floor heights
- Sloped or ramped porch entry in lieu of steps
- Non-slick flooring on interior as well as sidewalks and patios
CONVENIENCE & COMFORT FEATURESBATHROOMS:
- Handheld shower head & built-in shower seat
- Comfort height commodes
- Open concept living
- 3'0 wide or larger doors, entries, and exterior walkways
- Lowered countertops, outlets, and switches
- Zoned HVAC, multiple thermostats
- Lever hardware instead of round knobs
Chris McGinley, Kurk Homes President, was the chair of the 50+ housing council for Greater Houston Builders Association, focusing on universal design and "aging in place." He is also pictured above, with our grandparents and the co-founder of Kurk Homes, Mr. Chester Kurk, honored in our July post.