According to the Pew Research Center, multi-generational homes are making a comeback. There has been an increase of 30% from 2000 to 2009. Presently, 1 in 6 households are coined “multi-generational”. Personally, we have seen this design trend evidenced in our project portfolio as well. Currently, we are finishing up a 700 s.f. “mother-in-law” suite, attached to an existing house with access through a family room. Last year we completed a 1,600 s.f addition to a home, containing the conveniences of a detached home with the security of having internal access to the family when necessary. Last night I had a meeting with a gentleman who is moving in with his parents, adding a first floor ADA accessible, universal design bathroom and moving them from the second floor to a first floor bedroom. In addition, creating a ramp in the back so they have full accessibility.
I found this article online stating typical features of Universal Design helpful:
“Universal design features are those components of a home that work well for all residents, regardless of age or ability, and any guests who may visit. They just make good sense. Having universal design features and products in a home prevents accidents, increases comfort and safety, and enhances residents’ independence. Essential universal design features include:
– At least one no-step entry to the house either through the front, back, or garage door.
– Entryway doors that are at least 32 inches wide and interior doors at least 30 inches wide to allow for
ample room to pass through.
– Light controls, electrical outlets, and thermostats that are easily reachable for a person in a wheelchair.
– A three-foot wide corridor, free of hazards and steps that connects all rooms on the main floor.
– Lever-style door handles and faucets that don’t require grasping or twisting to operate.
– A bedroom, kitchen, entertainment area, and a full bathroom, with plenty of space for maneuverability, on the main floor.
-Reinforced bathroom walls for the option of adding grab bars.
In addition to those listed, there are many other universal design features and products that many people, especially those over 50, like and incorporate into their homes. They include:
– Raised front-loading clothes washer, dryer, and dishwasher;
– Side-by-side refrigerator;
– Easy-access kitchen storage (pull-out shelves, adjustable height cupboards, lazy susans);
– Low or no-threshold stall shower with built-in bench or seat;
– Non-slip floors, bathtubs, and showers;
– Raised, comfort-level toilets;
– Multi-level kitchen countertops with open space underneath so one can work while seated;
– Windows that require minimal effort to open and close;
– Covered entryway or porch to protect you from rain and snow;
– Rocker-style light switches;
– Task lighting directed to a specific surface or area that provides illumination for specific tasks; and
– Easy-to-grasp cabinet knobs or pull”