January 19, 2018

Future-Proof Your Home With Universal Design

home inspector atlantaIf you’re a homeowner, you probably consider your home to be a long-term investment. But have you thought about future-proofing your house to maximize its value?

Is your house large and accessible enough to raise a family? Is it possible that your in-laws may move in one day? Are you planning to stay in your home after you retire? Applying the principles of universal design can improve access and security, enhance style, and ultimately help your home meet the needs of you and your family for years to come.

Universal design is a personalized type of architectural planning that ensures accessibility on a universal scale to all people who live in a space, regardless of age or ability.

“Universal design enhances people’s lifestyles,” says designer and author Mary Jo Peterson. “It helps them do all of the things they’ve always done but it makes the space work for them, for their parents, for their children – it brings aesthetics and accessibility together. In short, it’s just good design.”

A number of changes can make your home more safe and accessible for all. For example, you can create a no-step entry with sloped walkway and tactile paving leading to the entrances of a house. Wide, open spaces and larger doors in the interior of your home not only promote accessibility, but also enhance the appearance of your home.

In the bathroom, Delta Faucet Company’s Bathing Systems inspired by Universal Design help make the user’s experience functional, safe and comfortable without sacrificing beauty. The Traditional Shower System from Delta Faucet is a stylish multi-piece shower wall set and shower base designed to accommodate users of all ages and abilities. With a zero-threshold entry and trench drain, there is nothing for the user to step over when entering or exiting the shower, permitting easy access by foot and wheelchair alike. The system features an optional flip-up seat for added comfort and convenience. Various model sizes make the unit a practical option for any project, whether new construction or retrofit.

“Universal design is not simply a medical solution to a physical challenge,” Peterson says. “Rather it is design of products and spaces that precede possible changes in the lifespan of a home and its residents.”

Technology also plays a significant role in universal design products. For example, touch-sensitive technology enables the user to manually set the volume and water to a comfortable temperature and then start and stop the flow of water with a simple tap. Light switches with large flat panels rather than small toggles are easier to control. Verve Living systems, for example, incorporates wireless switches that are completely movable and can be placed wherever it is most convenient to control lighting or miscellaneous electric loads through outlets.

By applying the principles of universal design, you can increase your home’s value while making it a welcoming place for people of all ages and abilities.

How To Get A Custom Closet On A Do-It-Yourself Budget

home inspector atlantaBoth fashion and budget-conscious Americans alike are taking better care of their clothing and other possessions, starting with how they store them. But if you haven’t been reading today’s most popular home and style magazines, sneaking a peak inside your neighbor’s closets, or house-hunting lately, you might not have noticed: Closets have evolved from clumsy and non-functional to downright fabulous.

Or maybe you’ve envied the spacious, custom closets characteristic of luxury homes, but haven’t had thousands of dollars to plunk down on a professional closet makeover.

In either case, you probably need a closet solution. That’s why manufacturers of closet organization systems have been busy developing new, do-it-yourself home storage solutions ranging from low-end, rack-and-wire plug-ins to handsome furniture-style systems in white or wood-toned melamine and even solid wood.

Among the strongest and most flexible of the new systems are Home Options Storage Solutions, available around the corner at Lowe’s home improvement stores or at www.lowes.com. Shelving and pole heights are adjustable so your design can be adapted periodically to your changing needs. Full extension drawers with attractive fronts provide complete access.

Where to start creating a custom closet on a do-it-yourself budget? First, determine your skill level. Do you need a professional? Probably not. Many closet systems can be installed in a weekend by anyone of average skill level. Brands such as Home Options offer websites with pre-existing templates and online design tools that make closet planning easy.

Next, measure your space. Determine the width, height and depth and write them down. Is your closet a reach-in, walk-in, or are you creating it from freestanding space? Have high ceilings? Add a shelf to store items overhead.

When planning, consider designating 50 percent of your closet space for low-hanging clothes, 25 percent for longer clothes, and 25 percent for drawers and shelves. Then, take inventory of your stuff and make adjustments to meet your personal needs.

Use a tower unit to separate his space from hers and incorporate shelves and drawers. Use pant racks to organize 12 pairs of pants in a compact space while keeping them smooth and pressed. Use shelves for organizing folded sweaters so they keep their proper form. Raise shoes off the floor. Look for shoe cubbies that comfortably hold two shoes, not just one. Shoe cubbies are also ideal for stowing away evening bags, belts and other personal items. For more information, visit www.homeoptionsstorage.com.

Courtesy of ARA