Importance of Accessible House Design

Importance of Accessible House Design

Having an accessible friendly house design doesn’t seem important until the unthinkable happens.

My mother fell yesterday, breaking her hip.  The doctors said the hip bone broke off the ball joint.  After an all-night unpleasant waiting period at the hospital, she had hip replacement surgery and the operation was a success and only took an hour.

If this happens to you or to one of your loved ones, you are going to be thankful if you have a house that was designed to accommodate the needs of someone that will be in a wheelchair or using a walker.  There but for the grace of God go all of us.

Every house that Rand Soellner Architect designs has accessible friendly features, some more than others, depending on your wishes, your lifestyle, and budget.  Soellner tries to maintain a nominal offset of 1/2″ to 3/4″ step up from your garage into the main house, and uses weatherstripping around the door there to keep the air from one separate from the other.

Soellner also keeps step downs from your house interior to your porches minimal as well.  And your Master Shower is typically arranged so that your main bathroom floor tile slopes down and into your shower.  Go and look at yours right now.  I’ll wait while you do that…
Okay, what did you see?  About 4-1/2″ step up, right?  Not in most Soellner houses.  We try to arrange floors and other features in your house to allow people in wheelchairs and walker and with canes to easily navigate.  Why?  Because you never know when you or a loved one is going to fall or have other situations develop that can result in diminished ambulatory capability.  In other words, you may have a time when you can’t make it up those 4-1/2″.

Another feature in many new Rand Soellner houses these days are wider than normal doorways throughout the residence.  Did you know that there are still builders out there using 2′ wide doors for many areas, and 2′-6″ doors for bedrooms?  You cannot get a wheelchair through that width.  Doesn’t seem important right now?  Wait until you or someone you love falls and breaks their hip.  Your life and theirs can change overnight.

Love your house?  So do Soellner’s clients.  So much so, they often tell him that they want the house he designs for them to be a place in which they can live and die.  That means that they don’t want to have to go to a nursing home or other institutional place, just because their house wasn’t designed to accommodate decreased mobility.

Do yourself and your loved ones a big favor and hire an architect to design your next house to accommodate accessibility challenged situations.  Soellner does this in a manner that does not look institutional.  He specifies all the blocking and other elements so that if you have to add handrails at tubs and other locations, you can add them later, and have the support built-in, as long as your builder adheres to Soellner’s specifications and details.

Give Rand Soellner a call today, to start planning and designing your next home: one that is accessible friendly: 1-828-269-9046.

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