Top Design Features

A Homes for Life accessible home has 50 standard and many optional design features.

Here are some of the top design features you can expect whether you choose an accessible modular home or an accessible site-built home.

OVERALL

Wider door widths (36 inches)

Advantage: People of all ages can maneuver easily throughout the home.

Wider hallways (48 inches desirable with 42 inches minimum)

Advantage: People of all ages can maneuver easily throughout the home.

Wider stairs (44 inches desirable; recommended range is 42–48 inches wide)

Advantage: People of all ages can navigate steps more safely in the home.

C- or D-shaped cabinet door handles instead of knobs

Advantage: Cabinet doors with small knobs can be difficult to grasp; handles make doors easy to open and close.

Higher electrical outlets (20 inches minimum from the floor to the center of the outlet)

Advantage: Reaching electrical outlets is easy on the back since people do not need to bend over very far.

Illuminated rocker light switches

Advantage: Switches are lower and can be located easily at night.

Outlets installed at the top and bottom of the staircase

Advantage: Outlets are close to baseboard height in the event a stair lift is needed in the future.

Stacking closets on first and second floors in two-story homes

Advantage: Stacking closets, with a framed-out area on the second floor and a removable false floor, make it easy to convert this space into an elevator shaft if needed in the future.

ENTRYWAY

Zero thresholds for entry/exit

Advantage: With level thresholds, access to and from the home is smooth because there are no bumps, curbs or elevation changes from one material to another.

Levered door handles

Advantage: Doors with levered handles instead of knobs are easy to open and close.

KITCHEN

A microwave drawer, in the island at counter height, opens and closes by touch

Advantage: Microwave access is safe and convenient since it is not above the stovetop.

Full-extension pullout drawers and a pullout spice rack in base cabinets

Advantage: Appliances, pantry items, dishes and cookware are easily reached.

Wider spaces around the island (48 inches)

Advantage: An open floor plan makes it easy to navigate in the kitchen.

BATHROOM

Master bath door opens out, not in

Advantage: The bathroom entrance cannot be blocked in the event of an emergency. For example, a fall in the bathroom will not block the door.

Non-slip flooring in the shower area (wet-friction coefficient: ≥ 0.42)

Advantage: Falls in wet areas are less likely.

Curbless shower

Advantage: Shower entry/exit is safe because there are no steps; excess water drains immediately and does not create a fall hazard in the bathroom itself.

Shower controls on the front side wall, not the back wall

Advantage: People can adjust the water temperature before entering the shower.

Master bath amenities
⦁ One higher sink/vanity at 36 inches
⦁ One lower sink/vanity at 32 inches to allow wheelchair roll under
⦁ Lower vanity with retractable cabinet doors and a removable base shelf for wheelchair access now or in the future

Advantage: Sinks/vanities, doors and shelves are within reach and usable for everyone.

Comfort-height commodes
⦁ 17–19 inches from the floor to the top of the seat
⦁ 30–48 inches of front space
⦁ 18 inches to the side wall

Advantage: These commodes, which are easier on the back and knees, provide both safety and comfort.

GFI outlet below the commode’s water tank

Advantage: This installation allows for a heated seat or bidet, if desired.

A FEW OPTIONS TO CONSIDER

Smart home technology

Advantage: Homeowners can use voice activation to control features such as lighting, thermostats and kitchen exhaust fans.

Raised washer/dryer platform for front load appliances

Advantage: Less bending is required to load and unload laundry.

Backup generator prep work

Advantage: Installing proper wiring inside and a generator pad outside make it easy for homeowners to add a generator in the future.

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