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Remodeling and Home Design

Universal Design: It’s Standard Practice for BRHI

September 10, 2013 / News

Hear the words universal design, and your eyes might glaze over. Either you don’t know what it is, or you don’t think you need it. But the truth is, if you want your home to be a place that is comfortable, functional and safe, it needs to be a part of your remodel.

What Makes a Home Universal?

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It’s simple. Everyone can live there and enjoy it! It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, short or tall, healthy or ill. You might have a disability. Or you may be a top athlete. Because of universal design, people who are very different can all enjoy the same home.

Let’s say you have a teenage son who is a six-foot tall high school basketball player and a 78-year-old mother-in-law who stays with you during the summer each year. Your hall bathroom has a standard bathtub/shower unit. But your son is too tall to fit comfortably under the shower head, and your mother-in-law has trouble safely stepping over the edge of the tub. If you redesign the bathroom with a walk-in tile shower and adjustable hand held sprayer, both your son and mother-in-law can safely and comfortably use the space.

A remodel with universal design will allow the home to grow with the family, as everyone’s needs and abilities change. It makes it easier for residents to live in, and for guests to visit now and in the future.

Universal Design = Good Design

When you get right down to it, universal design is really just good design. Which is why it’s standard practice for BRHI.

Good design lasts a long time. For example, a mid-range major kitchen remodel costs around $50,000 according to the 2012 Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling Magazine. You want your investment to last, so you don’t have a major remodel ten or twenty years later when you have trouble moving around your home.

Good design is also functional and accessible. This means for everyone, not just the disabled or aging. For example, doorways and halls should be at least 36 inches wide for a standard wheelchair to pass. But there are advantages for everyone with wide doorways and halls. Moving furniture, wheeling luggage, and carrying laundry are all tasks made much easier with universal design.

So when you think about it, a professional remodeler that incorporates universal design principles is a sign you will receive peace of mind no matter what your future holds.

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A few resources to help you incorporate universal design in your  next project:

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