The term barrier-free refers to an environment which allows people with disabilities to move about freely and safely, and use an area (room facilities, etc.) in a home or other constructed building.
The overall goal of barrier free design is to provide such an environment that will support the person who is in a wheelchair, power chair or otherwise has some form of disability to live independently.
The shorter version of this idea in terms of barrier-free remodeling for homes is to create a home that allows a person with a handicap to live their lives as independently as possible, empowering them to accomplish as many of their activities of daily living, with as little assistance as possible.
What is barrier free design?
Barrier-free design is the practice of designing a space to facilitate this type of environments for people with disabilities.
Of course, there are many design principles that can come into play in this type of work, including barrier-free design, Universal Design, Universal Accessibility or accessible design.
What is barrier-free remodeling?
Drawing from barrier-free design is the application of this design in the built environment; specifically, your home.
Barrier-free remodeling uses this design to create the spaces in your home that you need, allowing you to continue living independently. Many people don’t think about barrier-free remodeling, but for the millions of people nationwide that have some form of handicap, this is one service that can improve their lives at home.
As part of our commitment to accessible design for all, Stella Contracting provides barrier-free remodeling in Ann Arbor, Plymouth, Canton, Northville and other areas in Southeast Michigan.
Barrier free design examples
Many people do not understand what constitutes barrier-free in a home. Here are a few examples of what could be considered barrier-free in your home remodeling project.
- Wider doorways and hallways for wheelchairs or other mobility devices.
- Cabinets, appliances or other accessories set at the proper location for easier access from a wheelchair.
- Assistive fixtures, such as raised toilets, shower benches, wheelchair ramps, other seating, controls or others.
- Main floor living, where you have everything you need for daily life without moving floor to floor.
- Transfer or grab bars in the bathroom and bedroom to assist in moving from wheelchair to toilet or shower, wheelchair to bed.
- Ramps, lifts or other devices in areas you you need to change elevation in the home.
- Accessible home entrances.
- Increase the size or open up space in certain rooms, including bathrooms, bedrooms and kitchens.
- Raised counter tops, multi-level counters.
- Drawer appliances, such as a microwave, dishwashers, ovens that can be installed for use with a wheelchair.
One feature that so many of our customers are interested in are barrier-free bathrooms. There are a number of reasons for this, including many of our older customers are creating their “lifetime” home. And, since we specialize in handicap remodeling, many of our customers are wheelchair users who want houses that work for them.
For both of those types of clients, the bathroom is a major area of importance in their homes. Barrier-free bathroom design allows us to create bathrooms that help these folks live more safe, happier and healthier lives.
Barrier free shower installation
We use barrier free shower design to create a barrier-free shower stall (also known as handicap shower stalls) that are easy-to-use, whether you want to remove the step into your shower for safety or you need a wheelchair accessible shower. These barrier-free showers also can contain features, such as seat, transfer or grab bars, multiple shower heads, a hand-held shower and others.
The future for barrier-free homes
It is no secret that the Baby Boomers are growing older. And, with that, there will be millions of people who have either specific physical needs or just want their homes to be easier to live in as they grow older.
Homes that are accessible … that benefit the homeowners by providing a safe, comfortable and easy living experience … they will be more in demand in the years to come.
Today, there are not enough home that can help people live independently, whether they are older or have physical handicaps.
Barrier-free is a specialty
Designing and building a barrier-free home takes special skills, experience and knowledge. Not every contractor has a history of creating accessible homes, so you should take care to see specific examples of work and check references for any contractor who you are considering to do this type of home remodeling. Any wheelchair accessible or handicap accessible home improvements must be designed and built according to the guidelines and best practices for handicapped remodeling.
Stella Contracting specializes in barrier-free remodeling, with years of experience in design and building accessible homes.