If you are a homeowner in Northern Virginia, you probably would like to stay in your current home for as long as possible, because you love your location or maybe because of the skyrocketing cost of real estate in the DC Metro area. So, thinking ahead to future needs is an important part of planning any remodeling you might want to do.

If you’ve heard of “aging-in-place” also called living-in-place remodeling and it doesn’t sound appealing, we have an alternative. Incorporate the principles of Universal Design to make sure your home stays suited to your needs now and well into the future. Universal Design focuses on making living areas that are stylish, comfortable and conveniently accessible to all. It’s not a certain style – you can personalize the features to match whatever look you want for your home.

The most popular rooms homeowners choose to remodel are the kitchen and bathrooms. That makes them the perfect places to begin embracing the principles of Universal Design. And the popularity of open floor plans means that accessibility features can be added unobtrusively to create beautiful living spaces that are more welcoming to everyone.

A Kitchen That’s Universally Loved

wall ovens

Custom kitchen by Merrill Contracting & Remodeling

Who doesn’t want help in the kitchen? Make it easier for everyone to be able to pitch in by putting items within reach, adding pullout shelves, multiple counter heights, and a wall-mounted oven. An under-counter mini-fridge and a microwave can be installed in the island to provide easy access outside of the main work triangle. The Universal Design kitchen should also have lever handles on the faucet and D-shaped pulls for cabinetry.

Breaking Down Bathroom Barriers

One popular Universal Design bathroom element is as practical as it is elegant: the curbless, barrier-free shower. One thing that can make this shower solution easy to achieve is the linear drain. This drain is nearly invisible, installed flush along the wall rather than in the center of the shower stall. With the floor sloping gently toward the drain, there is no need for a curb (or even a door or wall) between the shower and the rest of the bathroom. Add a detachable hand-held showerhead and a built-in bench for luxurious finishing touches.

Curbless shower

Photo courtesy Kohler Co.

Enlarging the bathroom gives it a more relaxing, spa-like feel while also increasing accessibility. Swap out doorknobs for lever-style handles and change cabinet hardware to D-shaped pulls. Universal Design options include single-lever or touchless faucets, and even voice-activated controls for the shower. Slip-resistant flooring is a great safety feature for any bathroom.

Making the Transition

Other Universal Design features throughout the home should include wider halls and doorways, adequate task lighting, increased lighting on stairways, and hard-surface flooring materials or low-pile carpeting. Start slowly with one room or remodel your whole house using Universal Design. It can be a great solution, allowing you to keep your house beautiful and up to date with your needs while you stay in the home that you love for years to come. We can incorporate the flexibility, simplicity, and ease of use of Universal Design principles into your home in any style, in such a way that the only thing your family and guests may notice is just how comfortable and elegant your home is.

If you have questions about planning Universal Design or would like to know more, please contact us. We can help you decide which features might be appropriate to give you the all-inclusive home that’s in your future.

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