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DESIGN universal


The Objective One of the important considerations in universal design is flexibility. The objective of universal design is to enhance products and environments to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible. Most of us probably assumed that design has always been dedicated to that goal. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. Most outdated, traditional home designs were based on meet- ing the needs of an “average” person without consideration of the broad spectrum of human functional abilities and changes that occur throughout a lifetime. Universal design is a leading-edge design concept that strives to accommodate human functional diversity and the future changes in how people perform their activities of daily living. The Principles of Universal Design can be applied to the community master plan, individual home floor plans, appli- ances, plumbing fixtures, interior decorating features, land- scaping, telecommunications, and home electronics. This exciting new design concept is still evolving and can be applied to all kinds of design. Universal design homes are designed to readily accommodate people who differ in height, size, strength, and mobility. Marketability and resale value are increased because you can sell your home to people of all ages and abilities; no one is excluded from buying your home because of unnecessary barriers and hazards.

This gorgeous award-winning kitchen is a fully accessible universal kitchen without the appearance of being accessible. Beauty and function join together to provide the best in flexibility of use. Multiple work surface heights, easy-to-reach storage, universal cabinets, enhanced lighting, work efficiency, and ergonomic fixtures and appliances all in one!

“With the rapidly changing demographics in this country, we really cannot afford to not incorporate universal design.”

The Design Team

It is important to appreciate the value of a design team. The best results are achieved by a team of professionals who have depth of experience in architecture, engineering, interior design, landscaping, home electronics, and human functional diversity. As an occupational therapist since 1971, my knowl- edge of how the human body functions and changes during the life span is what I bring to the design team as a universal design consultant. This human-centered universal design perspective

These universal cabinets appear to be standard cabinets when the cabinet doors are closed. However, they quickly accommodate someone who wishes to sit while preparing dinner after a long day. The smooth cooktop is located near the kitchen sink to make it safer and easier to transfer a pot of boiling water to the sink to pour it out. The breakfast nook table provides a lower work surface for a seated cook.

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www.UltimateHomeDesign.com • Issue 02 • March/April 2006


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