Category: Universal Design
Just posted our first Lifetime Home Survey revision for 2013.
Among the changes since Ocorber’s last quarterly update, we discovered carpet tiles by FLOR, which can be used on the floor, walls or ceiling (e.g. soundproofing). FLOR is neat for a few reasons aside from its array of colors and being made from recycled content. The flexible carpet squares adhere to one another instead of the surface so you can easily replace just one if necessary. The product is also universally designed for multiple applications, tightly woven to promote stability by the very young or anyone with balance or mobility challenges. FLOR is an adaptable alternative for those who don’t want hardwood, ceramic or vinyl flooring.
See this innovative product among many other universally designed applications and features at LifetimeHomeSurvey.com, and please share with those you care about. Lifetime homes serve you, not the other way around.
I learn best by breaking down the complex into smaller parts so I decided to teach Universal Design on our Twitter page by posting daily UD tips (i.e. limited to 144 characters for those who don’t tweet). Follow us by clicking here or the graphic to the right>>>>>>
I don’t want you to miss if you aren’t on Twitter so I’m pasting below the tips I’ve tweeted so far and will try to remember to provide here every so often.
- Every owner and renter should learn about Universal Design because UD makes home life easier and more flexible.
- Universally designed homes are naturally multigenerational/flexible (e.g. people of any age or ability can use a zero step entrance).
- Every home should have at least one zero step, flush threshold entry with 36″ door.
- In a Lifetime Home, no outlets should be lower than 18″ to prevent stooping. You should easily reach both standing or seated.
- Universal Design and “aging-in-place” (a phrase I hate) are also known as Better Living Design.
- There’s no real point in having a curbed shower, and shower drains do not have to go in the middle of the floor.
- Lever door handles are more efficient and flexible to use than traditional doorknobs. Plus kids cannot destroy as easily.
- Universal Design is inherently multigenerational. UD is easiest and convenient for people of all ages and abilities, therefore multi-gen.
- UD is kid-friendly, not only for “aging-in-place”. In Brazil, Universal Design is preferred by their younger population.
- Among solutions for creating zero step entry: via garage, gently sloped earthen ramp or inset rim atop basement wall.
- Real estate investors should adopt UD to make their props convenient, efficient and more marketable to a larger pool of buyers or tenants.
- Socially sustainable housing starts with you sustaining yourself by being able to stay in your home no matter what.
If you’d rather learn everything in one place and/or assess your property inside and out, don’t forget to visit the Lifetime Home Survey, which we update quarterly.
Here’s a link to our most recent Lifetime Home Survey (LHTS) , which we update quarterly.
Many of the changes relate to indoor air quality. Now that houses are becoming properly buttoned up for improved energy efficiency, you must be aware of the air you breathe, making sure you mechanically bring in fresh air from outside, and not from a basement, crawl space or attic!
Download for free either the mini-version (2 pages) and/or full 34 page assessment at LifetimeHomeSurvey.com .
One note for those with ratcheted up virus protection, the PDFs include many embedded hyperlinks to examples, resources and supporting information so your virus software may either give you a warning or inhibit the download.
Email me if you’re having problems and I’ll reply with the LTHS as attachments. Comments and questions also welcome.
This project portfolio on Houzz represents a fine example of a few points I make regularly about Universal Design (UD). Now that more people are becoming aware of UD, the traditional misconceptions that it’s “ADA” or “will make my house look like a hospital” crop up. UD is for anyone, it’s kid-friendly and, despite an obvious solution, not only for “aging-in-place”.
Review these pictures, do you notice the UD features? No, not unless someone points out, just as you wouldn’t notice a wider doorway (until you’re moving a couch). UD done well blends in and is preferred for maximum convenience, efficiency and control.
UD also isn’t a “style” of house, any residence regardless of size, can be universally designed. Relate to UD applications as merely smart and proactive for any person of any ability.
So you might wonder, why isn’t every home universally designed and built? That’s what we think too, which is why we’ve adopted our mission of building Lifetime Homes.
(For first-timers, the “LTHS mini-” is a 2-page general overview while the full version covers in grand detail every area of a property, even the yard.)
The full version remains 33 pages and covers every area inside and outside your home. Any text you see in a different color is a hyperlink either to additional information or an example of what we use on our projects. Mouse over and click the text and you’ll be taken to that website.
(Because the PDF is loaded with links, you may get a virus warning depending on your security settings or vendor. Email me if this worries you and I’ll directly email you the PDF.)
Most of the changes in this revision deal with indoor air quality, home automation, use of natural light and treatments for yard/garden. Weekly I learn something new keeping up with building science and UD, which together are gaining increasing consumer awareness, acceptance and demand.
Please share with others, especially anyone building or remodeling their “last” or “dream” home.
From the Suggestion Box, here are direct links to the PDFs. Click respectively to view and download:
Seen this house? Like me, you might’ve grown up in one, or come home to it daily. Did you know that more than half of our nations houses were built more than three decades ago? Review the data and graphs within The Current, and learn about our concept of building new within old walls.
Cable shows have romanticized fixing up old houses; but, assuming structural integrity, you’re pitching money if you don’t completely retrofit, modernize the systems and tighten the building envelop (i.e. proper air sealing and insulating).
There’s nothing wrong with renovating to a traditional STYLE of house, the problem, many owners focus only on fixtures and finishes and lose sight of the house as an integrated system. Brushed nickel looks spiffy but $400 electric bills aren’t warm and fuzzy. They’re pouring money into putting lipstick on a functionally and operationally, obsolete pig and will continue bleeding money monthly heating and cooling outdoors.
A new building code is now taking effect and best practices the last five years in green building science and universal design correct many design and construction mistakes of the past, so those inclined to renovate an older home can achieve a traditional look along with energy and social sustainability. Just remember when looking at these properties, we no longer build that way for a reason, not all oldies are goodies.
- new products we’ve discovered and/or are now using
- replacing any mention of fluorescent with LED lighting
- multiple embedded hyperlinks to source material, additional information or manufacturers/vendors
There are numerous active links (anything underlined blue, all dot-coms as well as the green title of the document) to make the surveys convenient and save you time Googling. Click the underlined text and you’ll be taken to that web site. If you rest your mouse pointer over blue underlined words, you should see the web address to which you’ll be re-directed when you click those words. Email me and I’ll forward as raw PDF attachments if it’s not working.
Remember, because I’ve added and deleted since the original, the line items have changed. Please reference the version date at the top and specific line item if you have a question so we’re on the same page.
What a missed opportunity. Do you see it? Notice what might’ve been?
Instead there will be exterior steps to every entrance when, with only a dash of forethought and proactive design, there could’ve been zero steps and a flush threshold entrance at each entry point on the main level. Instead of step-free ease, residents and visitors will climb to a doorway on an essentially flat lot in a new neighborhood of mostly level parcels.
This is how inaccessibility becomes baked in from groundbreaking, due only to lazy design and construction. This sows the seeds of future ramps, which are the worst “cure” for correcting an at best inconvenient and at worst prohibitive entry into any home (i.e. imagine using a walker or wheelchair, and in bad weather).
Alternately, there could’ve been no steps and a wide, roll-in entrance for maximum convenience, safety and ease for anyone of any age or ability, carrying stuff, pushing a baby stroller, pulling luggage or lugging groceries. What would the movers prefer?