Posts Tagged ‘universally designed bathroom’
Lifetime Home Survey UPDATED
- 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.
Why Steps to Most Doorways?
Certainly is NOT because steps are convenient! Who prefers carrying groceries, boxes or furniture up steps? Or pulling a baby stroller backwards or, back hunched, lowering one step at a time? Or lugging golf clubs and luggage up/down (especially after a family “vacation”)?
Steps are unavoidable only if there’s a steep grade that cannot be overcome, otherwise there are alternatives which require only proactive thought and standard construction skills but nothing fancy. Any architect or builder who insists otherwise is preach’in Bovine Scatology.
Subliminal Universal Design
I saw during an NFL game a few weeks ago this Delta faucet commercial. (Scroll to the bottom of that page to see two versions and consider who Delta is targeting with that ad placement during a pro football game.) Delta promotes their touch and motion activated faucets among their “Smart Solutions” kitchen and bath fixtures.
Given our specialty, I immediately recognized the product as universally designed, but not once in either commercial do they mention specifically the universal functionality nor benefits for “aging-in-place” or overcoming inability/disability (although there is a brief glimpse of a kid with a cast). They merely SHOW easy use for anyone of any age or condition (messy hands). I love it!
When you walk through the automatic doors of a retail store, ever once thought to yourself, “Wow, that’s great universal design”? No, you simply walk through without touching a door handle.
Proponents of UD for the home often become frustrated when consumers “don’t get it”, when they react ho-humly to “universally designed” features held dear because the benefits of no-step entries, wider doorways/hallways, curb-less showers are so evident to us.
But the important point isn’t what it’s called but bottom line how it performs. Who wouldn’t prefer something better if they can plainly see and experience the benefits without a technical explanation? Who cares as long as it works as promised?
Universally designed products, features and applications are indisputably easier (simple/faster), efficient (conserving personal effort as well as energy usage), convenient (point of use), safer, comfortable and proactive (planned/designed with forethought). Consumers will demand these smarter alternatives once they see/experience that UD performs (and is affordable), not because of a technical name nobody can remember. The Delta commercials demonstrate effectively the advantages of their innovative technology over a traditional faucet.
As the saying goes, there’s plenty more where that came from, residential housing design and construction is beginning a renaissance (ironic considering the dismal state of housing in general). Next year BuilderFish starts construction of a Lifetime Home that will incorporate many of these elements. The project will be one big Show-and-Tell and we, including the owners, look forward to sharing the journey.
Lifetime Home Survey
I was on a mission and took six months developing the Lifetime Home Survey (LTHS), which was born of a single negative comment following a post class, feedback form. Without ever knowing his name, I still picture the disgruntled attendee with arms crossed, an engineering type who frowned the entire presentation.
His comment? “Didn’t give specific measurements!” I purposely avoided getting technical to reduce the likelihood of audience slumber; but, after reading Mr. Unhappy Engineer’s feedback, I vowed, “Metrics you want, measurements thou shall get!”
Call me obsessive compulsive but, with Mr. Unhappy Engineer’s scowl burned into my mind, what began as a simple checklist grew (out of control?) into a whole house assessment. I referenced 17 documents and architect teammate Charles Hendricks proofread the final product, what we believe to be THE most comprehensive Universal Design home assessment resource currently available on the web.
Spray Any Way
Maintain control and boost safety in the shower area, by including, not only seating (preferably built-in), but also point-of-use and multi-functional fixtures and grab bars. Avoid reaching, stooping or any strained movement which could cause loss of balance.
The shower head deserves careful consideration despite seeming like a natural place to save money. Don’t go cheap on this, flawless top performance is worth the extra expense, so too is low hassle cleaning (by spraying down the shower area). Ideally, get a fixed shower head that includes on a vertical slider bar an easy grasp, detachable handheld with a 6-foot flexible hose. (Look for wands with an on/off switch.) The single lever, water control should be mounted near the shower entry and 40 to 45 inches from the finished floor (43 inches preferred).