Luxurious should - and can - be a word used to describe a Universal Design home.
That's what Builder
Russell Long, president of
Aloha Home Builders based in Eugene, Ore.,
thinks who remodeled his home to fit the
accessibility needs of
his 16-year-old son who was born
with cerebral palsy. He also
adds a big misconception of
universal design is that it
Long believes many of the design elements incorporated into his project, which won a
2012 Northwest Regional CotY Award in the Entire House $500,000 to $1,000,000 category with
Universal Design Project Recognition, are convenient and luxurious, as well as functional and wheelchair accessible.
For example, the universal
design features in his home
include: Zero barriers,
which mean there are no steps in
the home, especially for
entryways. All living
quarters are on the first floor,
with the exception of an
upstairs area that was converted
into an apartment with the
purpose of housing a caregiver
at some point. Wide hallways,
open living spaces and
dual entries in all rooms
are common design elements used
in wheelchair accessibility.
The hallways are more than 5 feet wide, and living spaces are expanded so wheelchairs can move around furniture easily. Also,
having two entryways in all rooms-including the living room, dining room and kitchen-allows for
ample traffic flow throughout the house.
Microwave and/or refrigeration drawers are also common in universal design, but Long says it is also a stylistic feature for those who prefer to
showcase beautiful cabinetry and granite countertops rather than the eye-sore of a microwave taking up counter space.