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The Homes Of The Now And The Future; The Universal Home

Universal Homes

The Universal Homes Of The Future

I am hearing more and more about Universal homes these days and it is beginning to appear in home health related news. “Universal design, also called barrier-free design, focuses on making the house safe and accessible for everyone, regardless of age, physical ability, or stature. True aging in place!

When thinking of home design for disabilities, most of us think immediately of ramps and grab bars when we think of accessible housing, but universal design goes far beyond that while remaining largely invisible to the casual observer. In fact, applying universal design concepts such as wider doors and hallways makes a house feel more spacious.”

As Fred Astaire said, “Old age is like everything else,”. “To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young.” These same principles apply to home design: Plan for all stages of life when remodeling or building, even if you are in perfect health now. You never know what life may throw your way, be it be a minor mishap (breaking your leg) or something more serious (being confined to a wheelchair)”

The most important aspect of Universal Design is flexibility. Remember that technologies are always evolving and your lifestyle is similarly inclined to change at a moment’s notice. Universal Design allows your home to transition with you as life happens rather than forcing you to work around frustrating barriers.

So, what will the home of the future look like?  The following is just a beginning of what I am seeing architects begin to incorporate into home designs:

  • There will be limited use of stairs,
  • lighting systems will be automatic, coming on when someone enters a space and turn off when they leave [motion sensors]
  • large windows, French doors, placed throughout the house to maximize natural lighting. Additionally, the use of skylights and solar tubes to bring in natural light
  • Curbless showers, grab bars designed to look like part of the feature not like an addition, towel and robe hooks next to the shower, recessed storage in the shower for soap, shampoo and conditioner
  • Faucets throughout the house that works with touch or movement
  • Levered handles on doors
  • Soft slide cabinet and drawers that require little effort to open and close
  • Slip resistant floors
  • Cabinets that sit on the counter space for easy access
  • Increased space between areas especially in the kitchen that accommodate a wheelchair or a walker

These are a few of the elements that we will be seeing in all home designs and remodels.  Next week we will cover the expanded use of apps that are being incorporated into the universal home.

Category: Blog

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