remodeled kitchen

Universal Design

Accessible housing doesn't simply mean a house with a ramp or lift. In fact, the concept of universal design extends to all—old, young, tall, short, blind, deaf, physically disabled, and non-disabled. Even features for persons with mental disabilities can keep people safe and comfortable at home. We have always had the technology to accommodate, but attitudes have shifted. People expect to be able to tailor their properties and just about anything else. We're not stuck with standard heights and widths any more, so terms such as barrier-free and ergonomic are common to the average vocabulary. We can choose to have 80-inch doorways for a nice flow of space. We can install easy grasping door levers, instead of door knobs. If we choose a 60-inch front, back, and bathroom doors, our homes are visitable by most. If we choose to have a ramp or lift, as well as stairs, we have universal design. To learn more about Universal Design, see this publication, Aging in Place and Universal Design: Making Your Home Accessible, No Matter Your Age or Ability.

The features of accessible design are permanently fixed and visually apparent.  Requirements vary according to state and local building codes and are regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development programs and Fair Housing Amendments Act.

Accessible features are either omitted or concealed until needed. They can be easily added and are often preferred to the appearance of accessible design features.