The phrase “Universal Design” refers to a wide range of architectural and construction ideas and products aimed at producing residential homes that are optimally accessible to both the able-bodied and the physically disabled.
Universal design elements include such things as:
• No-step entry doorways
• Homes without stairs
• Wide doorways (32"-36") and hallways (36"-42")
• Pull handles instead of knobs on cabinetry
• Under-cabinet lighting
• Closets with adjustable rods and pullout shelving
• Lever door handles instead of knobs
• Walk-in showers and bath tubs
The “universal design” concept evolved from earlier “barrier-free” concepts, the broader accessibility movement, and adaptive and assistive technology. Universal design seeks to blend aesthetics as well as functionality into products.
As life expectancy increases and modern medicine increases the survival rate of persons with significant injuries and illnesses, there is a growing interest in universal design by many forward-thinking architects, home builders and remodelers.
More homes are now being built with “universal design” features that will help baby-boomers stay in their homes as they age. Perhaps the most interesting facet of the “universal design” concept is how quickly younger families are beginning to ask for such “ease-of-use” features in the homes they are considering building or buying.
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