Building your dream home is a big investment of labour and love. You spend hours or days thinking about each design element before adding it to the design. However, very few people consider accessibility while designing their custom home. Even if you don’t have the elderly or someone with a disability living with you, constructing an Okanagan custom home with a universal design allows you to plan for all stages of life.
Universal Design Principles Used by Custom Home Builders
Wide Doors With Levers
Kelowna home builders always use a certain set of principles to make your custom home wheelchair friendly and more accessible. It always starts with the entryways and windows. Make sure that your custom home has wide doors that can accommodate wheelchairs or mobility scooters for people with disabilities. Standard doors aren’t sized to accommodate wheelchairs of all sizes. To take accessibility to the next level, add power-operated hinges to the door. With additional sensors, these power-operated doors open automatically as they sense people within close proximity. Apart from that, you can also switch knobs with levers on the doorways and windows. Knobs require a level of mobility that’s not available to the disabled and the elderly. Levers are much easier to operate.
Automated Smart Systems
Reputable builders in Kelowna often add smart home technology as a standard feature for custom homes. You can control and monitor the air conditioning, lighting, fans and other features of your home through an app. While most homeowners prefer to control those electronic devices from the app, you can also put them on autopilot. Modern smart home systems are advanced enough to provide automation as a feature. Lights turn on automatically as you enter the room and shut down when it’s time for sleep. Air conditioning systems automatically adjust according to the weather conditions and are automatically powered on a few minutes before you reach your home. More automation in your home doesn’t just make it more inclusive but adds to your convenience.
Alarms With Visual Signals
Alarm systems in your Okanagan custom home need to be a bit different than traditional options for added accessibility. Instead of installing alarms that just horn out loud signals, get those that also offer visual cues. That way people with visual impairments would be warned when the alarm goes off. Those visual signals may be in the form of flashing strobe lights or hazard lights.
Add More Natural Light
You may have a lot of artificial lighting in your home. However, nothing beats the positive psychological effects of natural sunlight. Your dream home should be constructed to make the most out of daylight. Add floor-to-ceiling windows wherever possible. If a room doesn’t have any windows, use skylights or a sun tube to trap daylight from the ceiling and redirect it to dark rooms via reflective tubes. Natural sunlight elevates your mood and keeps you happy, especially when you have fewer opportunities to go outside.
More Ramps and Fewer Stairs
Entry and exit points in your home should also have a universal design for everyone to come in and out of your home without any discomfort. Instead of stairs, use ramps that provide a gradual decline. A gentle slope allows everyone with mobility issues to navigate entrances with ease. Ramps should also have proper traction to prevent rolling or slips and falls. You can also future-proof your home for old age by reducing stairs at home. If stairs are an absolute necessity, add handrails or grab bars to make it easy for people to climb the stairs. You can also keep stair climbers to take disabled people up and down the stairs.
Making your bathroom safer is another way of making your home more accessible. Use textured flooring that provides a solid grip on wet floors. Your bathroom should also have a night light that stays active all light and illuminates the bathroom for enhanced visibility. Multiple showerheads also make your bathroom safer. A shower head at a low position lets elderly people suffering from arthritis use the shower from a seated position. With universal design principles, your home doesn’t just become more accessible but provides other advantages of saving energy and making life more convenient. Use the above-mentioned tips to make your home more accessible and prepare for old age.