february 2014

2012 NW Regional CotY Award Winner: Kitchen before universal design makeover

The Kitchen Before

Luxurious should - and can - be a word used to describe a Universal Design home. That's what Builder Russell Long, president of Aloha Home Builders based in Eugene, Ore., thinks who remodeled his home to fit the accessibility needs of his 16-year-old son who was born with cerebral palsy. He also adds a big misconception of universal design is that it looks institutional.

Long believes many of the design elements incorporated into his project, which won a 2012 Northwest Regional CotY Award in the Entire House $500,000 to $1,000,000 category with Universal Design Project Recognition, are convenient and luxurious, as well as functional and wheelchair accessible.

For example, the universal design features in his home include: Zero barriers, which mean there are no steps in the home, especially for entryways. All living quarters are on the first floor, with the exception of an upstairs area that was converted into an apartment with the purpose of housing a caregiver at some point. Wide hallways, open living spaces and dual entries in all rooms are common design elements used in wheelchair accessibility.

2012 NW Regional CotY Award Winner: Kitchen After universal design makeover

The Kitchen After

The hallways are more than 5 feet wide, and living spaces are expanded so wheelchairs can move around furniture easily. Also, having two entryways in all rooms-including the living room, dining room and kitchen-allows for ample traffic flow throughout the house.

Microwave and/or refrigeration drawers are also common in universal design, but Long says it is also a stylistic feature for those who prefer to showcase beautiful cabinetry and granite countertops rather than the eye-sore of a microwave taking up counter space.

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Quote of the Month

"My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the hell she is."

Ellen DeGeneres

Featured House

2012 Northwest Regional CotY Award in the Entire House $500,000 to $1,000,000 category with Universal Design Project Recognition

2012 NW Regional CotY Award Winner

Tech Watch

Have you ever wondered how someone who fell and was incapacitated could press their alert button, or somehow activate their personal electronic monitoring system? Apparently the folks at SenseGiz did as well. They are preparing to launch STAR "a multifunctional wearable smart tech device" that works in conjunction with a smart phone. Watch:

SenseGiz Star

Did You Know...

That 39% of U.S. adults report that they are caring for a loved one, either an adult or a child with serious health issues. Caregivers are heavy technology users and are much more likely than other adults to take part in a wide range of health-related activities.

Source: Pew Research

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