Handicap accessible remodeling (sometimes known as disability remodeling, barrier-free remodeling or handicap remodeling) is a form of home modification and renovation for people who have specific physical, mental or other types needs.
This includes everything from physical limitations, such as reaching, bending or sitting, to cognitive needs, which might include color, dyslexia, or a person’s ability to understand controls or workflow.
The accessible home
When you are designing home modification for disabled people, you have to consider their specific needs now and what their needs may be in the future. For example, it is common for us to include in the design for a bathroom enough space to allow for wheelchair use. It is a good experience for a person now, but helps prepare for wheelchair use later on. (In other words; it’s good design for any age.)
The same would hold true for other areas of the home, as most homes are not designed for ease-of-use and adhering to these space requirements makes for an improved use and feel to the home.
Handicap accessible bathroom
A handicap accessible bathroom will have accessible and Universal Design features to accommodate special needs. This includes features, such as:
- Barrier free shower (which could be a handicap shower, walk-in shower or roll-in shower) and include a shower seat or some other mechanism to help a person sit in the shower. In some instances, it also could contain a walk-in bathtub.
- Handrails, grab bars and transfer devices.
- Appropriate space, which is required so a person can move around, especially if they use an assistive device, such as a wheelchair or other mobility device.
Like other accessible design, this room may be designed so it is wheelchair accessible. The overarching goals are to increase bathroom safety, and empower a person to care for themselves or be cared for.
Handicap accessible kitchens are designed specifically to accommodate needs that people have. Since a person creates meals, entertains and cares for themselves or their family in the kitchen, it makes sense to pay special attention to this room to ensure a good workflow and easy access to everything you might need.
Accessible kitchen remodeling ideas that are handicap or wheelchair accessible might include:
- Lower kitchen cabinets
- Roll-under sinks or stoves (and the ability to sit at other work areas)
- Select appliances placed at wheelchair height
- Side-mounted or front-mounted faucets (hands-free or lever-handle)
- Drawers instead of lower cabinets
- Customized storage and accessories
A master suite, which includes a larger bedroom, closet and bathroom, can make a person’s home life much easier. By combining these three areas and sizing them properly, adding the right features, you can create a much more enjoyable and easier experience for yourself.
A master suite may have features, such as:
- Larger bedroom area, with ample open space
- Open or large walk-in closets
- Additional lighting
- Convenient storage
- No-threshold shower with seating
- ADA toilet or comfort height toilet
- Lever or hands-free sink controls
- Roll-under vanity
- Stylish grab bars
Master suites are popular with many of our customers (regardless of their abilities), but are specifically valuable for people who are handicapped.
There are certain features you’ll want in other areas of your home to make it more accessible. In general, these may include
- Wider doorways
- Lever door handles or automatic doors
- Wider hallways
- More open space
- Custom or select flooring
- More lighting (including natural light)
- Select home accessories
There are features on the outside of a home that make it easier on people with specific needs. These can include:
- Lower maintenance siding
- Wider walkways/sidewalks
- Aluminum modular ramps or custom ramps
- No-threshold entrances
About accessible remodeling contractors
Handicap remodeling contractors aren’t all the same. Each one of our clients have a unique situation, which requires us to emphasize individualized home remodeling design. Not every contractor will put that kind of care into your home.
Jeff Stella has years of experience in accessible design, Universal Design and creative design for handicap remodeling. He is a Certified Kitchen Designer, as well as a Certified Aging in Place Specialist.