Best Layout Plans
Before heading outside, let’s review the general universal lay-out. (Review previous posts for per room specifics.)
First, if you can only afford to remodel a few areas, concentrate on the entrance, master bathroom and kitchen but also plan a “sleeping space” in a room (e.g. den, living/play room, office) that can be re-purposed if you don’t already have a first floor bedroom. At a minimum, you must be able to enter the home and care for yourself.
Do as much proactive planning while you’re “behind the walls” (e.g. add blocking for future safety bars). The cost to remodel will depend on load bearing walls and what you’re attempting to achieve. Building new universally adds very little cost and may actually be less expensive if, for example, you’re NOT building something like steps.
Ideally, you want a one level, open floor plan without sharp boundaries and narrow hallways between rooms. If building new or remodeling a multi-story home, try stacking two closets between floors to enable installation of a future elevator or lift. Also design to rest the weight of the house on external walls to avoid load bearing, inside walls for flexibility later changing the layout.
Plan for your home:
- at least one main level entrance with zero steps and a flush threshold (could be through front, side, rear or garage entry)
- landing area at entry 5′ x 5′ with sheltered overhead and bench or shelf
- all interior and exterior doors ideally 36-inches (3′- 0″ door) to provide 34-inch clearance but absolutely no less than 32-inches
- wide, spacious hallways, no less than 36 inches but 42 inches to 44 inches recommended and 48 inches best
- lever door handles
- pocket/sliding doors where practical
- no sunken floors or split-levels, especially between rooms
- non-slip flooring, particularly in bathroom, kitchen and laundry, and no loose rugs or carpeting
- If carpeting, sturdy, low-pile, tightly woven (such as Berber style) and continuously glued to the door (ideally with no padding)
- energy efficient windows, with windowsills between 24 inches to 30 inches above the floor
- tilt-in windows (and easily removed screens toward inside) to enable easy cleaning of both sides
- IF stairs, treads deep enough for entire foot, at least 8 inches but 11 inches preferred.
- no open risers or “nosing” (tread overhang) and sturdy handrails on both sides
- well lit stairs or stairwell including anti-slip strips in color contrast material at edge of each step.
- rocker style light switches placed between 36 inches and 40 inches above floor
- electrical outlets and phone/cable jacks between 18 inches and 24 inches above floor
- zoned heating and air
- safety trips/senors and shut-off valves for electric and water fixtures
- consider automation, motion detecting, remote control and intercom throughout home for easiest use, safety, monitoring and alert
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