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More design secrets for a house you can live in forever

7 Design Secrets for a House You Can Live in Forever: Page 6

By , Caring.com contributing editor
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7. Appropriate size and space for use, regardless of body size or mobility

What it means

No matter what your body size, posture, or level of functioning, you should be able to approach, reach, and manipulate objects easily. There should also be sufficient space for someone who needs to use adaptive devices, such as wheelchairs or walkers.

What it looks like

  • An open, spacious floor plan with five-and-a-half foot hallways (instead of the usual four-foot) looks modern and inviting while it accommodates strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs when and if they're needed.

  • A variety of work surface heights, such as countertops that are low in some places along the perimeter and higher in a center island, works for a user who's sitting on a tall stool or low chair, or standing. This is friendlier for family members of differing heights, too.

  • Fold-back doors under the cooking island permit knee space for those who need to use a stool or a wheelchair.

  • A wall-mounted sink with open space beneath loses some common storage but gains access for a wheelchair, especially when the drain is positioned at the back, not in the middle.

  • Raised or adjustable toilet seats comfortably accommodate those with back, hip, or knee problems or those who have problems with balance.

  • A molded seat in the shower stall can look attractive and modern; it's as handy for a woman shaving her legs or shampooing a small child as for a senior being assisted in the bath.