Can Universal Accessibility Help in Your New Home? | Bethesda MD


natellihomes2If you're you or someone in your family is in a wheelchair, a senior, or hoping to age gracefully in your custom house then consider incorporating the principles of universal accessibility or universal design. The term refers to ideas for producing buildings and products that can be used by anyone, including those with disabilities or the elderly. Here are some of the ways that the concept can help with the design of your new home.


  • Structure. A one-story house with no changes in levels is easier for people in wheelchairs and walkers to negotiate. It must also have access pathways, such as corridors and doorways, that are at least 48 inches wide. For necessary changes in height, such as from the backdoor to the yard, ramps can be added.

  • Bathroom. For those who want a tub, grab bars can make getting in and out easier. A better alternative is a walk-in tab with a built-in seat. For those who use a wheelchair, a double-width shower is best if the shower floor remains level with the rest of the bathroom floor. A curtain partition keeps shower spray from wetting the rest of the room, while a fold-down seat and grab bars allows an easier transfer from the wheel chair to the bathing area.

  • Kitchen. Modifications to this room can start with appliances. To minimize bending, dishwashers can be installed about six inches above the floor while microwaves can go from above the cook top to counter-height. Refrigerator drawers allow more access to food than a standard upright model. Finally, the sink as well as at least one counter can have adjustable heights.


Homes designed with universal accessibility are becoming more popular with buyers, primarily because baby boomers are becoming older. So you can be assured of a high demand for your place if you choose to sell it.

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Written by : Bob Johnson