Top 17 Universal Design Features

  AK's Ed Cholfin has been a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist for over five years, and as a team AK is always interested in learning the latest and greatest accessible design products and design ideas! Remodeling magazine posted a list of some of the best and the basic recommendations that AK applies to all of our universal design renovations; looks like we're not the only ones who find these tips interesting!

Dan Bawden, owner of Legal Eagle Contractors, in Houston, and one of the earliest CAPS-certified remodelers, lists his favorite universal design features.

1. Lever handles for plumbing fixtures and door hardware.

2. Light switches and thermostats lowered to 48 inches off the finish floor; outlets raised to 18 inches off the finished floor.
3. Switches with push-button timers on all ventilation fans.
4. Walk-in curbless showers with benches (tiled in or fold-down teak and stainless steel).
5. Classy grab bars inside the shower/tub area.
6. Shampoo niches at varying heights in the bathroom.

7. Additional indirect lighting, such as under-cabinet and cope lighting, using dimmable LED fixtures or ribbons.
8. Pocket doors with high-quality tracks and hardware.
9. At least one section of kitchen countertop that’s lower — around 32 inches high.
10. Full-extension drawer slides and self-closing hardware on both cabinet doors and drawers.
11. Pull-down shelves in upper cabinets (in the kitchen).
12. Doorways 32 inches to 36 inches wide when possible.
13. Hallways 42 inches wide are optimal. Imagine carrying two suitcases down the hall.
14. Ramped entrances integrated into landscaping that makes them disappear.
15. Rails on both sides of stairs (often overlooked).
16. Natural daylight via tubular skylights or insulated roof windows.
17. Additional lighting at the main approach to the entry door most used.


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