Beautiful and Functional: Timeless Tucson Universal Design

As I talk to homeowners in Tucson who are of the Boomer Generation, one question I hear frequently is “I love my home (or “my neighborhood”, or “my street”, you fill in the blank), but I don’t know what to do to make sure I can stay in my home for as long as possible.”

From there, the conversation usually progresses to a discussion of all the things that can be done to make sure that the homeowner can easily and safely stay in their home for decades to come while still enjoying a beautiful living space.

Here are a few of the things that I look for when advising a remodeling client that is in their 50’s and older:

  1.  Is there any way to get all the critical living spaces on one level?  A sumptuous master suite on the main level is not only classy, but can also be accessed by someone with a temporary or permanent mobility issue.
  2. Can we widen the hallways? (Note: 36” doorways are a bare minimum for wheelchair access if necessary.  42” or wider is better.)  And, wide hallways make it much easier to see the art that you hang on the walls or display in a built-in niche.
  3. Can we make the bathrooms both gorgeous and highly functional?  How about a beautiful tiled walk-in/roll-in shower?  Recessed marble vanities that have knee space underneath?  Elegant faucets with automatic sensors?
  4. How about a beautiful winding walkway to the front door with no steps and an elegant railing? 
  5. In the kitchen, could we use ornate cabinet handles that are easy to grasp, instead of tiny knobs, as well as food prep areas that have knee space and a lower counter height?
  6. And, of course, a home automation system so the curtains, lights, home theatre, heat and cooling can be controlled from a simple touch pad.

Today there is no reason not to have it all.  With careful planning, your next remodel can be your last remodel and provide decades of enjoyment. 

Let me know your thoughts.