We’re not necessarily talking about ADA (American with Disabilities Act), although accessible residential architects know what this is. Some people want a fully accessible house, others just want certain features that will allow them to live out their lives in what we design for them.
Accessible House Design Architect
What accessible features are we talking about? Well, for instance, we typically go to a lot of extra trouble to make sure that your Master Bathroom shower can be accessed by a wheelchair rolling into it. We have been doing this for about a decade and have found that very few other architects do this for clients and most residential designers don’t even know what we are talking about.
To accomplish this magic act (the elimination of the 4-1/2″ tall raised threshold at the entrance to a master bathroom shower) takes a knowledgeable command of the structural systems in that area of the house, the finishes used for the floor in the shower and main bathroom and wall finishes, tile installation systems, sensitive placement of showerheads, shower entrance location, orientation to borrowed light (windows), and other details, like recessed tile alcoves that clean themselves, along with hygienic mortar and setting beds that cannot grow mold.
Rand Soellner Architect is careful to provide this detailing, whenever desired by its clients. It costs a little more, but allows you to continue living in your architect-designed dream house even when and if you become accessible challenged.
Soellner also includes such details as minimal thresholds from garages (for some reason, people seem to think you have to have well over a foot; you do not). The Soellner firm even designs the passage door and large garage door entries with minimal threshold risers to allow wheelchairs to comfortably roll over them. These are little touches that people normally don’t notice, because the way Soellner details them are non-institutional. Soellner residential details blends in with the whole house aesthetic, so you don’t really see these things, until you need them. That is when they are truly appreciated.
Other features are larger than normal residential doorways in your house. These are things that you appreciate, but do not really notice until you need them: they just work. Special height counters and special appliances are features that are typically created for clients who are already in a wheelchair before we design the project for them, or are retrofitted later, if and when necessary.
Regarding hallways, Soellner rarely has any hallways, because he knows how to efficiently plan his houses. Therefore, you don’t need to waste and square feet making corridors wider, because there probably aren’t any in a Soellner-designed residence.
Rand Soellner has designed large, complex public facilities during his life, and has represented clients in front of a major State accessibility board. Soellner noted that about 1/3 of the members of the board were in wheelchairs. You never can tell when something in your life could put you into a wheelchair. And having a sensitive and capable architect like Rand Soellner, AIA, could pay off by allowing you to continue living in the dream house you had designed for the remainder of your life.
Do you really want to have to go live in a nursing facility, just because you can’t get around your own wonderful house? Of course not. But if you haven’t engaged a residential architect like Soellner to incorporate these features into your dream house, that could happen to you.
These accessible-friendly features are just some of the enjoyable and highly functional features that come with a Soellner-designed residence.
Rand Soellner Architects