Check out my building blog to learn more about construction for your home or office in Austin! David L. Traut, President, CAPS Certified (512)444-0097

Use Universal Design Principles in All Home Interiors When Remodeling

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Jan 31, 2023 @ 14:01 PM

Universal Design in all building aspects helps everyone

While Universal Design is a human centered concept making up an overlapping design philosophy, this concept of design came about by the recent disability movement of our aging population and the quality of life created by an increased user concept. An evolution in building ideas which deals with a larger all-inclusive society rather than a select group will make our homes more livable and sustainable in the future. Small changes can make a great difference with practice and understanding of the antiquated architecture which has evolved as the norm. It has been demonstrated that a need for functionality and usability has been lacking within our existing home inventory and the standards and codes from our municipalities must catch up with the needs of our society as a whole. When everyone can benefit it just makes common sense. Observing other aging groups in our society and the personal perils they face has finally brought about a new way of thinking about the living environment. Universal Design is beneficial to all abilities and ages offering practical solutions for specific differences in people. We have long needed a new vision representing a home that works for everyone and this attitude is becoming the new reality stemming from a revolution.  This new building revolution, using Universal Design, is helping to create new accessible homes along with ways to make the older homes more accessible. 

There are seven criteria which must be met to be considered a Universal Design no matter which area of the home you are referring to. Any design must be equally useful to everyone, have flexibility in usefulness, be simple and intuitive, be perceived by everyone, have a tolerance for error, require little physical effort, and it must maintain an adequate area for approach and use. Any complexity or discriminating attribute to a design will doom it in terms of being considered universal in nature.

The new (but old) evolving concept known as Universal Design for home building and remodeling is catching on nationwide and has been for several years as a sign of the times.  Universal Design techniques used in building or remodeling makes a home more accessible to all regardless of their mobility or adaptive abilities and at any age. An evolution of new products used for disability home modifications is making those homes more accessible and has finally come about in the remodeling industry.  These new advances in accessible home remodeling not only keep the living environments safer but will not compromise the home's aesthetics or resale value. Furthermore, this new way of thinking offers flexibility to add accessories now and later to those planning ahead or to the end user. It also provides for a wide range of human performance characteristics for the way people use spaces within their homes including well integrated usability features.

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

Universal Design does not equate to accessibility design even though they both are concerned with ergonomics and human function issues. The ADA guidelines for accessibility were created as a means to help those people with extreme disabilities within our society who are a narrow and specific cross section of the masses. A Universal Design approach broadly takes into account moderate impairments or disabilities, temporary health conditions, and the varying abilities of anyone within a home regardless of their age or size. In other words, an ADA accessible home would be designed for the one person with the disability whereas a Universal Design home is designed for everyone. Features like one story design, bedrooms and bathrooms on the ground floor, natural day lighting through larger windows and skylights, and wider doors and hallways appeal to users of all ages. With baby boomers eyeing a future where they'll Age in Place and younger people renovating older homes, the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies is anticipating healthy growth for the U.S. home improvement market through 2025.

T-Square Company in Austin, Texas has been offering design/build accessibility projects to their clients incorporating the principles of Universal Design for over twenty-five years. David L. Traut, CAPS, the owner-president of T-Square Company is certified in Universal Design. He has published a book entitled "Age in Place at Home :Adapting the Home Environment for All Generations" which is available through Amazon. It covers identifying and overcoming common accessibility shortcomings within a home.  Within it's pages, he takes you through a home interior showing you how to apply Universal Design aspects in every room. Since Universal Design seamlessly segues into Aging in Place needs, it is a book worth reading. Incorporating Universal Design principles into your home facilitate future Aging in Place goals, while comfortably addressing the diverse needs of all ages and mobility levels living within your home at any time. It is a great reference book for parents of special needs children, homeowners moving in their elderly parents, and multi-generational living situations. Always remember, home accessibility is not exclusively age-related, but it must be appropriate for those needing it the most. 

Get Educated 

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David Traut's Recently Published Book/Age in Place at Home

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Dec 14, 2022 @ 13:12 PM

 

After over a year of writing to fulfill my customers' requests, my new book, "Age in Place At Home," is available for purchase from Amazon.  Go to the link below to order my paperback book, which was released in late November, 2022. It provides a great guideline for using the principles of Universal Design in new home construction and/or remodeling for every room in your home. Get your copy today.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/r.html?C=2Z24ENUUAEWUK&K=13Y7YU7PKKYAC&M=urn:rtn:msg:20221010201802eb9acb7b24004a4785cd2ec1d4f0p0na&R=3R6MK9WDXJPH7&T=C&U=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fdp%2FB0BHTV28RV%3Fref_%3Dpe_3052080_276849420&H=7FWEPMGCH0TT8LN6SKPMUOCVJNYA&ref_=pe_3052080_276849420

A home's adaptability is one of the most desired qualities within a person's home during some point in their life as their or their family's  needs change. These specific needs to enhance accessibility can be short term while recovering from an accident or illness at any age, or  these home alterations may become permanent.  The special needs may concern an adult or a child. Universal design principles don't discriminate between any family members regardless of age, size, or ability. Every family member is included. Learn how to adapt your home environment to satisfy your family's needs in David Traut's new book, Age in Place at Home.

Age in Place at Home Book

 

T-Square Company, in Austin, Texas, practices Universal Design accessibility to segue into Aging in Place seamlessly. The essence of my book is to advise people so they understand why our homes are obsolete to us, the homeowners, the minute they are completed.  This fact is represented by the methodology used to create the traditional home. They are built to satisfy our immediate lifestyle and physical needs on the day we close on the house, with no regard for the future. The new home lacks adaptability to satisfy our needs once our bodies change beyond the purchase date. If we had incorporated the Universal Design principles into these new homes, those same homes would adapt to our changing family needs including every inhabitant regardless of age, size, or ability. The lack of home adaptability is not the consumers fault, they have always been unaware of how to reference the problem and accepted what the housing market gave them. They were unaware of what to ask for. Hence, the status-quo of building has been perpetuated  for over a hundred years.

 

T-Square Company offers all types of Austin Universal Design home modifications to better prepare you and your family for your unforeseeable home accessibility future on a design/build basis. Existing, traditional homes must be modified to increase their accessibility using correct designs. Become aware and embrace the knowledge that the principles of Universal Design offer greater home accessibility for every one of your home members, from your father to your son. This is why the process is known as inclusive design. 

 


David L. Traut, CAPS, has been involved with accessibility for nearly thirty years for the VA, HUD,  and private residences.  Contact me at 512-444-0097 for a professional home assessment to guide your future accessibility needs or at www.tsquareco.com. Simply fill out your information on the contact us page.

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My New Upcoming Book/Age in Place at Home

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Oct 10, 2022 @ 18:10 PM

 

After a Year of writing to fulfill my customers' requests, my new book, "Age in Place At Home," is available for pre-order from Amazon.  Go to the link below to preorder my book, which will be released on October 19, 2022.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/r.html?C=2Z24ENUUAEWUK&K=13Y7YU7PKKYAC&M=urn:rtn:msg:20221010201802eb9acb7b24004a4785cd2ec1d4f0p0na&R=3R6MK9WDXJPH7&T=C&U=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fdp%2FB0BHTV28RV%3Fref_%3Dpe_3052080_276849420&H=7FWEPMGCH0TT8LN6SKPMUOCVJNYA&ref_=pe_3052080_276849420

 

Age in Place at Home Book

T-Square Company, in Austin, Texas, practices Universal Design accessibility to segue into Aging in Place seamlessly. We offer all types of Austin Universal Design home modifications better to prepare you for your unforeseeable home accessibility future. The principles of Universal Design offer greater home accessibility for every one of your home members, from your father to your son. This is why the process is known as inclusive design. 

David L. Traut, CAPS, has been involved with accessibility for nearly thirty years for the VA and private residences.  Contact me at 512-444-0097 for a professional home assessment to guide your future accessibility needs or at www.tsquareco.com. Simply fill out your information on the contact us page.

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Universal Design For Disabilities/T-Square Company

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Sep 30, 2022 @ 10:09 AM

Our homes have always been exempt from any of the federal accessibility regulations put in place in 1990. Unfortunately, no restricted codes or regulations concerning residential bathrooms or disability access baths exist. An evolving concept called Universal Design satisfies most people's personal needs. Universal Design techniques in the building make a home more accessible to all regardless of size, mobility or adaptive abilities. Children and aging adults benefit in the home from its existence. The evolution of new products used for disability home modifications makes those homes more accessible and has finally come about in the remodeling industry. Specialized handicap remodeling contractors for home remodeling incorporating the principles of Universal Design are catching on nationwide and have been a sign of the times for several years. Our present-day obsolete homes, now inhabited by the baby boomer generation, will slowly and increasingly raise their obsolete ugly heads and expose their true lack of accessibility to those inhabiting them.  

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

When mobility becomes an issue for any homeowner, regardless of age, the question arises concerning physically moving to a different home that is more accessible. Universal Design prepares your home for one of those highly likely events involving someone needing room modifications for even a short time while recovering from surgery or the chronically ill.  Solving Aging in Place issues will soon become the number one challenge concerning our country's obsolete housing inventory. The situation will only expand with an increasingly aging population due to medical advances. When these homes were previously purchased, they represented a complete castle in the world of their owners in which to prepare for a day, and they also acted as a retreat from life's challenging interactions. They housed our families, our memories, and our stuff.  They represented a place where we could be ourselves. 

There are many benefits to using Universal Design techniques, including potential use by aging family members or special-needs children, added resale value, and the fact that you'll be creating a space that can be used by anyone who visits your home, regardless of their range of abilities. Simple universal design updates for Aging in Place home modifications and handicap bathroom accessibility can include adding grab bars or handrails throughout the home, adding a seat within the roll in shower, lowering upper cabinets and countertops, adding non-slip flooring, widening hallways, or installing stair lifts, and widening doors. You might also consider lowering light switches and thermostats and installing easier-to-use door levers. Try to provide a clear barrier-free path or accessible route to the most visited areas of your home. These new advances in accessible home remodeling make living environments safer and will not compromise the home's aesthetics.   

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

Many people find themselves needing accessible homes for themselves or family members. There are approximately 30 million Americans using wheelchairs, and the number of people who need accessible homes will continue to increase as disabled and aging people find more ways to remain in their homes. Furthermore, children with special needs make up a significant part of the population. One crucial way to increase independent living is by making a home accessible to an individual's personal needs. Home modifications can increase safety, accessibility, and independence for people who want to live independently.

Conquer A Tub To Shower Conversion

Universal Design runs parallel with wheelchair access. Many of the published guidelines for wheelchair-accessible remodeling, particularly requirements for corridor and door widths, safety bars, and proper access to different rooms, can go a long way in extending the amount of time an elderly or physically impaired individual can live independently. The absolute truth about the design process is that if it allows access by a seated person, it gives everyone access.  More comfort is built into a room while avoiding a cramped and cluttered living environment because there is adequate room to move about freely.

  

Roll In Showers

Aging In Place Home Modifications

An Aging in Place (CAPS) specialist must design an Aging in Place project. Always consider the end user's preferences and capabilities. For instance, roll-in showers without curbs are advised for everyone on a universal basis for an accessible bath.  A 5'x5' clear shower floor turning space is an optimum size when a caretaker is involved. Using a 32-36"  wide barrier-free entrance in a shower partition with an out-swinging door is advised for everyone to increase safety. Remember, wider is better in all respects. Upon exiting the shower, a clear floor space of 30"x48" for an approach to the shower should be present. This area can overlap with the designated five feet turning radius area within the room. The shower should contain a hand-held shower wand on a sliding bar or mast mounted 48" above the floor and is available for varying heights of use. The hand shower is complimented by a fixed height shower head located at approximately seven feet above the shower floor. These diverse shower heads are both regulated using a diverting controller valve.You can opt for the fixed shower head if you desire a full body wash or the hand-held is used for rinsing and shower cleaning. This configuration allows adaptability within the design. Hence, the user has a choice. Always use a shower valve that is thermostatically controlled and pressure-balanced to prevent scalds. 

Installing fixtures with a scald guard or lowering the temperature at the water heater is a must to prevent burns. Fold-down seats attached to the shower wall are useful if caretakers are involved. Recessed shampoo niches help eliminate clutter on the shower floor.  Secure grab bars installed on wood grounds buried within the wall around the entire shower perimeter at 34-36" above the finished shower floor increases the safety factor and helps to prevent falls.  A recessed can light fixture should be installed above the shower area for proper lighting. To prevent slipping on a guaranteed wet floor, all bathroom floor surfaces must be the nonskid type. The ultimate goal in accessible design is to make the bathroom space safe for everyone who uses the bathroom. Universal Design better accommodates wheelchair users and makes the bathroom more comfortable for all users. This modification can be done without sacrificing style.

Home Accessibility Help

The National Association of Home Builders, in partnership with the AARP and Home Innovation Research Labs, created the CAPS program, which includes training and education on the technical, business management, and customer service skills essential to compete in the fastest-growing segment of the residential remodeling industry--home modifications for Aging in Place using Universal Design.   David L. Traut, CAPS, the owner of T-Square Company in SW Austin, Texas, is one of the select group of professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation, identifying him as a home remodeler and builder with the skills and knowledge necessary to remodel or modify a home to meet the unique needs of the older population, disabled owners, or their visitors.

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CAPS-Certified Home Assessments and Modifications/Dripping Springs, TX

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Thu, Sep 01, 2022 @ 16:09 PM

What does CAPS stand for?

First of all, CAPS stands for Certified Aging in Place Specialist. The aging societal changes and inventory of inaccessible existing houses created the need for a CAPS certification program. This designation program, offered through the National Association of Home Builders, NAHB, in collaboration with The American Association of Retired Persons AARP, incorporates components of assessment, technical knowledge, and management skills related to disability home modifications used to help people stay at home safely and independently for a longer time. The program was developed in 2001.

How do I receive a senior home assessment? 

Simply contact T-Square Company at www.tsquareco.com or call 512-444-0097 to schedule an appointment and find out what is involved. David L. Traut, CAPS (#1636580), the owner of T-Square Company in Austin, Texas, is one of the select group of professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation, identifying him as a home remodeler and builder with the skills and knowledge necessary to remodel or modify a home to meet the unique needs of the older population, disabled owners, or their visitors. T-Square Company offers turn-key design/build projects to help with senior living solutions in Dripping Springs.

Accessible kitchen in Dripping Springs, TX

What can I gain from a certified home assessment?

During a home assessment for increasing accessibility, the structural needs of the client will be noted and documented through sketches, photos, and conversation. All the surroundings will be considered, from the flooring to the layout of a specific room or location as it pertains to the inhabitant's ease of usability. The physical and emotional needs of the occupant will also come into play because of mobility, sensory, or cognitive concerns. The goal is to modify the home in a custom manner to provide for the occupant's maximum health, independence, and safety. Often the input from any caretakers, like a physical or occupational therapist, during the assessment phase can prove invaluable. The three main rooms involved in Aging in Place home modifications are the bathroom, the kitchen, and the family room.  These three areas comprise the most occupied spaces of any home and will be connected by a designated accessible route.

What are the five best home modifications for seniors Aging in Place?  

Seniors' five basic needs involve installing ramps, access through wider doorways, bathroom renovations, kitchen alterations, and non-slip floor surfaces. Freedom to move about the home without encountering architectural barriers and increased usability is the goal of the process.

What Are The Benefits of Aging in Place? 

Reasons for choosing to Age in Place include staying in your existing home surrounded by your neighbors and family and avoiding the prohibitive cost of senior living communities or assisted living. While it may be overwhelming to consider aging in your own home and the costs of the modifications required, many temporary and permanent options can help you stay in your home well past retirement. We all must observe safety for everyone as the baby boomers choose to Age in Place within their homes.  

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

 

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CAPS-Certified Senior Home Assessments/Disability Home Modifications

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Aug 26, 2022 @ 13:08 PM

What does CAPS stand for?

First of all, CAPS stands for Certified Aging in Place Specialist. The aging societal changes and inventory of inaccessible existing houses created the need for a CAPS certification program. This designation program, offered through the National Association of Home Builders, NAHB, in collaboration with The American Association of Retired Persons AARP, incorporates components of assessment, technical knowledge, and management skills related to disability home modifications used to help people stay at home safely and independently for a longer time. The program was developed in 2001.

How do I receive a senior home assessment? 

Simply contact T-Square Company at www.tsquareco.com or call 512-444-0097 to schedule an appointment and find out what is involved. David L. Traut, CAPS (#1636580), the owner of T-Square Company in Austin, Texas, is one of the select group of professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation, identifying him as a home remodeler and builder with the skills and knowledge necessary to remodel or modify a home to meet the unique needs of the older population, disabled owners, or their visitors. T-Square Company offers turn-key design/build projects to help with senior living solutions in Austin.

Accessible kitchen in Austin

What can I gain from a certified home assessment?

During a home assessment for increasing accessibility, the structural needs of the client will be noted and documented through sketches, photos, and conversation. All the surroundings will be considered, from the flooring to the layout of a specific room or location as it pertains to the inhabitant's ease of usability. The physical and emotional needs of the occupant will also come into play because of mobility, sensory, or cognitive concerns. The goal is to modify the home in a custom manner to provide for the occupant's maximum health, independence, and safety. Often the input from any caretakers like a physical or occupational therapist during the assessment phase can prove invaluable. The three main rooms involved in Aging in Place home modifications are the bathroom, the kitchen, and the family room.  These three areas comprise the most occupied spaces of any home and will be connected by a designated accessible route.

What are the five best home modifications for seniors Aging in Place?  

Seniors' five basic needs involve installing ramps, access through wider doorways, bathroom renovations, kitchen alterations, and non-slip floor surfaces. Freedom to move about the home without encountering architectural barriers and increased usability is the goal of the process.

What Are The Benefits of Aging in Place? 

Reasons for choosing to Age in Place include staying in your existing home surrounded by your neighbors and family and avoiding the prohibitive cost of senior living communities or assisted living. While it may be overwhelming to consider aging in your own home and the costs of the modifications required, many temporary and permanent options can help you stay in your home well past retirement. We all must observe safety for everyone as the baby boomers choose to Age in Place within their homes.  

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

 

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ADA Contractor/Austin, Texas/T-Square Company

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Mar 07, 2022 @ 11:03 AM

Millions of Americans are living longer and have more active lives.  While this group is embracing newly found and changing lifestyles, a need to revitalize their home environments has come about.  Identifying this major opportunity while developing the skills to interact with those needful homeowners has created a new type of elder remodeling.  A certified aging-in-place specialist or CAPS home remodeler has completed the coursework and training in how to help keep existing homeowners in their homes longer. They will be listed in a national directory compiled by the NAHB in Washington. The CAPS certificate holders act as ADA Contractors utilizing the ADA published rules. Their final accessible designs involve the ADA handbook as a guide but are not strictly held to all the ADA standards and regulations because they are funded with private monies. However, accessible CAPS designs are customized around the client's abilities. 

The National Association of Home Builders, in partnership with the AARP and Home Innovation Research Labs, created the CAPS program, which includes training and education on the technical, business management, and customer service skills essential to compete in the fastest-growing segment of the residential remodeling industry--home modifications for aging in place and ADA accessibility in Austin, Texas.  David L. Traut, CAPS the owner of T-Square Company in Austin, Texas is one of the select group of professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation, identifying him as a home remodeler and builder with the skills and knowledge necessary to remodel or modify a home to meet the unique needs of the older population, disabled owners, or their visitors. T-Square Company is an ADA contractor in Austin, Texas abiding by the published ADA rules for their extremely disabled clients.

There are three categories of aging-in-place customers. Those who are simply and wisely planning ahead for their futures to remain in their present homes. The second category concerns those people who know they have a chronic medical disorder and need to prepare in advance for accessibility issues that will come as a result of their disease. People with diseases that are constantly causing increased physical or mental changes to their being are a good representative of this second group. The third group involves those people who either have had a chronic problem that has progressed severely altering their mobility or those who have sustained a life-altering tragedy such as being involved in an accident.  All of these groups will drive the future metamorphosis of existing inaccessible dwellings requiring bathrooms with disability access. The goal of an Austin ADA compliant remodel or an accessible bathroom design is to make the bathroom a safe space for everyone who uses the facilities. Aging in place services use design techniques to accommodate wheelchair users and can make the bathroom more comfortable for all generations with or without specific needs. It is important to carefully outline the scope of work during the remodeling of an accessible bathroom by first taking inventory of the user's capabilities, needs, and preferences.  All disability home remodeling or disability bath remodels in Austin must be done considering all the data provided by the client, his or her family, and any caretakers involved. CAPS certified remodeling and aging in place design must be carried out by aging in place specialists and residential remodeling professionals.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

 

Wheelchair Accessible Kitchen in Austin

 

Home Accessibility Help

Many people find themselves needing accessible homes for themselves or family members. There are approximately 30 million Americans using wheelchairs and the number of people who need accessible homes will continue to increase as disabled and aging people are finding more ways to remain living in their homes. One important way to increase independent living is making a home accessible to any individual personal needs. Home modifications can increase safety, accessibility, and independence for people who want to live independently.

The three main rooms involved in aging in place home modifications are the bathroom, the kitchen, and the family room in that order.  These areas make up the most occupied spaces of any home and will be connected by a designated accessible route.  Here we will need access through wider doorways, non-slip floor surfaces, and adequate cabinet and plumbing fixture accessibility.  What is more important is that we must observe safety for everyone as the baby boomers choose to age in place within their homes.  Just remember one thing and dispel any myth that aging in place construction and remodeling must appear institutional or out of the ordinary. When the work is done with style and taste it will only compliment the home.

An accessible bathroom should try to maintain a five-foot turning radius for wheelchair use if at all possible. Have your plumbing facilities brought into compliance to enable freedom and safety.  The use of grab bars within the tub or shower and around the toilet can be very helpful in ensuring your safety for maneuverability.  These should be installed at 34 inches above the finished floor to safeguard your use of them.  Having roll under capability for the new 34" high vanity can be very helpful while you are in the wheelchair.  Exact clearances of 27" high and 32" in width should be complied with underneath the vanity.  The proper safety equipment should be installed on the plumbing pipes that don't allow scalding of your legs. The toilet may need to be replaced providing a comfort level height that is around 18" in height for easier access.  The tub or shower may need to be altered to become only a shower with roll-in or possibly transfer capabilities.  All of these changes must be done along with the  ADA guidelines for your safety.

The door width requirement of 32" or more will be true for any room in the house if you are to enter them barrier-free.  The kitchen, your bedroom, and any other rooms you require accessibility to enter could be affected.  Even the closet door within your bedroom will need to be wide enough so that you can manage to get your clothes to dress.  Any other bedrooms that you may need to enter with your wheelchair will also need alterations.

The accessible kitchen is another story altogether.  You will need the roll-under capability as mentioned above at the kitchen sink, cooktop, or food prep area. Upper kitchen cabinet heights become an issue and require pull-down mechanisms for better access. Multiple height worksurfaces between 28 and 34 inches offer flexibility to all users. No matter what you end up doing, make sure to hire an experienced building professional who understands the ADA guidelines for your well-being. Contact T-Square Company at 512-444-0097 today for all your newly discovered accessibility needs.

Improve Handicap Accessibility

 

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Future Home Building Using Universal Design

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Dec 30, 2020 @ 15:12 PM

The present out of control housing market situation prompted a search for answers solving the question of how to create houses capable of meeting the needs of tomorrow while accommodating future life changes. There is no one size fits all home design because everyone’s life experience is unique to them creating a diverse society with diverse physical needs. Using Universal Design, the wide ranging abilities of the homeowner is a major consideration for all successful inclusive and adaptable designs in homes. The absence of the Universal Design principles entering into all existing home architectural endeavors is perpetuating the lack of accessible housing urgently needed for the lifespan of every homeowner. To increase the acceptance of this design concept by everyone, especially the consumer, Universal Design must become a topic of conversation through knowledge and basic understanding. This depends on the members of the broadest populations’ acknowledgement of the need for the use of this practical idea.

Universal Design Kitchen in Austin

Universal Design plays a significant role in the future accessibility of all home designs. Homeowners must base design decisions on the seven (or eight) principles of Universal Design. Deciding which universal features to include in future forever homes is the most alluring question. Each principle is very useful in itself. The more principles involved in the design process, the greater the adaptable outcome of the home. After all, the smart forward thinking homes of the future depict long term sustainable assets for life allowing Aging in Place to seamlessly follow as people age and evolve. It is true Universal Design emerged out of the accessible and adaptive architectural movement; however, it constantly attempts to combine aesthetics with basic core values for every user. While moving us toward an accessible future, appearing invisible, Universal Design recognizes peoples’ bodies, needs, and lifestyles constantly change along a continuum due to the aging process. Universal Design acknowledges too that everyone ages differently as individuals. One person’s disability type is not experienced like another’s. It is better to live in a more open and comfortable Universal Design home with the flexibility of evolving with the homeowner rather than one which at some uncertain time becomes an impasse during the homeowner’s lifetime.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

Embracing Universal Design with its many values and advantages for all people during timely remodeling projects or while building a new home is needed if society is ever going to escape the inaccessible cookie cutter homes of today. Additionally, this design technique offers a win-win solution helping solve problems encountered by multi-generational households. The multi-generational homes of today create the greatest personal accessibility challenges for all the generations involved. The application of Universal Design principles is desperately needed to sustain the choice of living environments for these diversified families. Universal Design homes have the unique ability of simultaneously accommodating strollers, walkers, or wheelchairs within the home without regard to a person’s size, age, or abilities. Furthermore, these homes contain lasting value if the owner ever decides to sell appealing to all society groups. To the uninformed, the folklore associated with Universal Design has stigmatized the process in home building today. This has much to do with why such a unique building concept is not greeted with open arms by the consumer. Beliefs like, it costs more, it takes up too much space, it will make my home have less resale value, it will look institutional, or only a few people could benefit from it represent a select few.

While Universal Design sounds appealing in conversations, it is rare to actually witness it in the built environment. The Universal Design movement recognizes its slow acceptance hinges on historic ties related to being a disability solution. This way of thinking causes implications for consumers and the world of home design presenting a huge misconception. Universal Design never distanced itself from the need for increased accessibility during the disability movement of the 80’s and therefore is mired in ADA jargon producing an indelible unfocused brand. As an inclusive design, Universal Design pertains to overcoming the barriers and stereotypes associated with its terminology in order to stand out as the next and final trend in future housing. Universal Design has no limits for the varying groups of people it helps. Every family member is included when using this design methodology whether they are abled or disabled, short or tall, young or old. With education, people understand Universal Design is the most revolutionary element in housing design today. Once realized how the principles of Universal Design affect everyone in the quest for maximum inclusion, consumers might start paying better attention to this logical building concept. Future home dwellers are fortunate in having this transitional and adaptable design concept in their vocabulary. Possibly they distinguish the designs flexibility as the gateway for tomorrow homes built and designed for everyone at every age. Only then, when people grasp the importance of Universal Design, does it become an everyday building term and a much needed household solution. No longer are personal desires for Aging in Place creating total disruption during life’s waning years. It is successfully accomplished seamlessly following the accessibility offered by Universal Design.

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

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Universal Kitchen Design

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Dec 16, 2020 @ 12:12 PM

A Universal Design approach to kitchen conception takes into account people’s varying degrees of ability and disability rather than someone is either fully-functional or disabled. The diversity among the users of the kitchen includes size, age and agility. The kitchen represents the family hub, and for the designated cook of the day, it is where many hours are spent caring for the family. A Universally Designed kitchen supports the diversity of all cooks, users, and helpers. With the additional cooks like granny or the kids, the kitchen no longer adequately accommodates everyone’s participation and changes need to be made. This is especially noticeable once families decide to help each other and become multi-generational. Enlarged work spaces, larger passing areas, accessible work surfaces, storage within universal reach distances, accessible appliances, and flexible and layered lighting are a few of the inclusive changes for the kitchen. A cohesive blend of universal functionality for the abled and disabled with conventional convenience aspects for other family members is the goal guaranteeing a successful and accessible Universal Design kitchen for any home.

Universal Design Kitchen in Austin

Homes with wheelchair accessible kitchens representing a by-product of Universal Design are a predictable necessity for the ever aging population. With the right layout, it is possible to make a home for maintaining the quality of life of the homeowners with disabilities while helping them live a more healthy, safe, and independent life. Kitchens with architectural barrier free layouts are more functional for everyone involved especially when mobility devices are required. Universal Design techniques give everyone a chance for equal independence. These very basic techniques provide adaptations or specialized designs regardless of age, ability, or situation. 

In Universal Design kitchens, the work areas containing the sink and cook top have the capability of moving up and down with the touch of a button further accommodating the seated user or a helpful child. Cleaning is easier because of the adjustable height work and storage areas.  When planning a Universal Design kitchen for anyone, every aspect of the space is considered from the cabinet height to the accessibility of appliances, to the space between cabinets and walls or islands. The principles of Universal Design call for the space to be functional and accessible for everyone in the household. This includes older homeowners with mobility or sight issues, as well as younger members of the family.

ADA Kitchen Cabinetry

Layout and flow is especially considered when planning a Universal Design kitchen space. To promote functionality for all occupants, it is vital to consider every aspect of the design including doors, traffic patterns, and workstations. The universally designed accessible kitchen is one of usability.  People need roll under capability at the sink and at least one food prep area if nowhere else. A clear floor space of 30 x 48 inches is provided in front of each accessible appliance and these areas of approach can overlap especially at the clear 5 foot turning radius. Raised dishwashers offer easier access to dishes and lowered microwaves and other appliances solve other reach distance problems making it easier to live with a disability. 

Increase Your Accessibility

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Universal Design Bedroom

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Dec 09, 2020 @ 12:12 PM

Accessible bedrooms are important for people with or without disabilities and for anyone planning to Age in Place. A functional accessible bedroom involves basic Universal Design principles to accommodate future needs. This endeavor ensures access to everyone regardless of their age, abilities, or size. Using Universal Design in the bedroom guarantees everything is easy to see, in reach, and most importantly, easy to approach. Going from the bathroom to the bedroom involves the shortest distance allowed without turns if possible. Traveling from the accessible bedroom through a 36 inch wide door provides access into the designated accessible bathroom. The size of the targeted bedroom dictates the furniture layout. Determine the best furniture placement allowing a clear five foot turning radius inside the bedroom.

Universal design/build  project in Austin

Arrange furniture producing a clear unobstructed 36 inch wide path and prevent clutter. Visualize moving around in the bedroom while approaching the closet utilizing a 30 x 48 inch clear space overlapping with the turning radius area. Always avoid clutter using too much furniture causing interference and trip hazards.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

The closet and dressing area are part of the bedroom. When feasible, open shelf and drawer storage for non-hanging items provide the greatest accessibility in the closet. Built in pull out shelves and drawers are installed below the 48 inch rod/shelf location for specific storage. Fixed shelves or a pull down rod is installed as a storage solution above the 48 inch rod/shelf. Clothes carousels and automated shoe storage units provide further options for the closet. Automated shoe storage units provide an option to regular stationary shoe storage providing greater storage capacity. In any good Universal Design bedroom the lighting, color finishes, and flooring are specified correctly ensuring increased safety and ease of use concerning everyone using the bedroom. The end result is functional and beautiful as well as spacious creating a feeling of openness.  

Home Accessibility Help    

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