Using Universal Design house plans when renovating your home can pay off big time. Home renovation dollars can be limited. Figuring out how to spend them is always a challenge. Should I make just cosmetic changes? Should I try to make the house appeal to a certain generation? What will give me the best return on investment?
Look to the 2017 Remodeling Cost vs. Value report (http://bit.ly/2jGMXFy) for answers and how Universal Design house plans can make a difference in cost recovery.
Remodeling magazine’s annual report estimates the cost of 29 home improvement projects and how much homeowners could expect to recoup on a renovation when they sell.
This year, realizing that more homeowners are focused on aging and multi-generational households, the report added a new category and looked at the value of using universal design house plans for a renovated bathroom.
The $15,730 project included:
It’s a project that could help you both age more comfortably and stay longer in your house. You also can expect to recoup $10,766 — 68.4 percent of the project cost–when you sell.
If you’re not familiar with the term, universal design, and how it might apply to your home renovation, this is how The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design defines it:
Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. An environment (or any building, product, or service in that environment) should be designed to meet the needs of all people who wish to use it. This is not a special requirement, for the benefit of only a minority of the population. It is a fundamental condition of good design. If an environment is accessible, usable, convenient and a pleasure to use, everyone benefits. By considering the diverse needs and abilities of all throughout the design process, universal design creates products, services and environments that meet peoples’ needs. Simply put, universal design is good design.
I find that definition to be kind of wordy and unclear, as it might apply to a homeowner. Let me simplify that in my own words, speaking to you as a homeowner (or maybe even a flipper) who needs to renovate a home with the intent of reclaiming as much money as possible from the renovation costs.
Universal design is not just for disabled people who need features like ramps, wheelchair doorways, etc. We Baby Boomers who are not disabled need some of those features, too — if not now, then later. Within the definition of “environments that meet peoples’ needs . . . regardless of their age, size, ability or disability” are old people, toddlers, little people, big people, and handicapped people. You get the picture. So, there are a wide variety of universal design features that could be included in a home renovation.
Universal Design is not necessarily a specialist subject. In truth, it can be applied by any designer.
There are seven principles applied in a home renovation that can get you started:
If you want to incorporate universal design in the most effective and efficient way, you should find a builder or architect who knows how to apply these principles. Regardless of where you are in North America, we can help you with that through our network.
Take a look at a related post we made on architect Matthias Hollwich and his book, New Aging: Live Smarter Now to Live Better Forever
We’ve all read the statistics that the vast majority of Baby Boomers would like to age in place. But a lack of services for both small and large issues — snow shoveling, transportation and home health care — often make it impossible for seniors to remain at home safely. That’s one reason intentional communities (a neighbor helping neighbor program) have popped up across the country.
The neighbor helping neighbor program is a departure from the tradition of bringing seniors to the services. The intentional community model brings necessary services to seniors’ doorsteps. “These communities are really the wave of the future for aging,” said Dianne Campbell, executive director of The Village Chicago.
People in a neighborhood or city come together to organize, fund and manage not-for-profits that serve as connectors between seniors and the services they require to age in place. The neighbor helping neighbor program is often buttressed by an army of volunteers, and the side benefits include social and emotional connections for both the seniors and volunteers.
Though there were more than 100 such communities either operating or starting up around the country as of 2009, no neighbor helping neighbor program is exactly the same. That’s the beauty of them, say supporters. Each has its own culture and services, depending on residents’ needs, interests, and desires. If there’s not one in your area, you could be the catalyst and create your own group. Here are some starting points:
Such groups can also help members fend off loneliness. As we age, we tend to get more isolated. So, try to do very personal things—home visits and calls—to minimize that isolation and keep up with what’s happening. It’s all about respecting and caring for seniors and neighbors caring for one another.