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  • Writer's pictureCrystal Remodeling

Universal Home Design Renovation

Dealing with disability in your home is important, delicate, and ongoing work. Thoughtfulness and how it impacts your family's future are top of mind. Any remodel that focuses on accessibility and removing barriers should be approached the same.

Universal Home Design (also known as inclusive architecture, barrier-free design, and accessible design) is a set of design principles that make your home safer and more beautiful at the same time. A universal home design renovation should be undertaken by a knowledgeable and experienced home remodeler you would trust with your family's future.

Accessibility in the bathroom: Going beyond grab bars

Up to 80% of falls in the home happen in the bathroom, and for seniors or people with limited mobility, these falls can lead to hospitalization or even death. In a typical bathroom, people are dealing with wet or steamy floors and walls while navigating multiple surface heights, tight spaces, and already slippery surfaces such as linoleum, tile, and enamel.

To make things safer while adding value to any bathroom remodel, try these design elements:

  • Install a door frame that is at least 32 inches wide to accommodate a wheelchair or a personal attendant.

  • Consider counters of varying heights with open space underneath so taller people don't need to crouch and people in wheelchairs can pull in.

  • Hang a wall-mounted sink, which is more accessible and considered an elegant touch.

  • Add eye level or lower shelves for toiletries to limit reaching.

  • Replace regular shower and tub features with adjustable shower heads, anti-scald valves, and off-set controls, easily reachable from the room.

  • Scrap the tub altogether, create a shower with a zero-threshold entrance, and include a permanent shower seat or bench. Walk-in/sit-down showers are the ultimate retreat for people of all abilities.

  • And, of course, install or create space for grab bars next to the toilet and inside the tub or shower.

Keep up in the kitchen

Many of the same principles apply in the kitchen as in the bathroom. Sinks to slide under, counters of varying heights and wide doorways (preferably free of doors!) can all be featured in an upscale kitchen. Try these ideas for an even posher push:

  • Use a side-by-side refrigerator for equal access to the fridge and freezer at any height.

  • Create floor clearance for wheelchairs and walkers in smaller by removing islands and dining nooks.

  • Utilize deep drawers and lazy-susan cupboards to keep a stash of plates, cups, pots, pans, and pantry items below counter height.

  • When choosing hardware, at a minimum, install cupboard and drawer handles instead of knobs. For a step up, push-release doors and glide-out shelves create an elegant, clean design.

Throughout the home and yard, think big

Spaciousness never goes out of style. A home with an open floor plan is friendly to visitors and inhabitants alike. But room to move freely is precious to someone with limited mobility. Make way for wheels, walkers, and more with these thoughtful renovations:

  • Create wider hallways or remove walls to make clearance for wheelchairs, walkers, and attendants.

  • Add beautiful wood rails for support in hallways, living rooms, and bedrooms. From simple to ornate, wood rails add opulence.

  • Remove extra steps. Forget sunken living rooms and front stoops. Make transitions as clean and easy as possible.

  • Make wide paths and raised beds in the garden for freedom of movement. Absolutely everyone should be able to stop and smell the roses.

An accessible home is a home for everyone. Work with a reputable home remodeler (like us!) to meet ADA standards and apply universal design principles that will support your family for years to come.

With Crystal Remodeling, the distinction is clear. Our skilled professionals take the stress out of making your house a home. Call 503-631-7662 or click today to get started.


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