Designer’s Notebook: Functional Focus

ONE eleven ltd. redesigns an outmoded home to enable everybody freedom of movement with full accessibility.

authors Julie Leverett | August 18, 2020

The homeowners lived in California in an older, outdated house that conflicted with their physical abilities. Each of them has unique daily living limitations; one is actively wheelchair bound, and the other has challenges reaching overhead.

BEFORE

Wanting to relocate and retire in the Sun City Summerlin area in the western foothills of the Las Vegas Valley, they set off researching general contractors who specialize in full-home remodels that incorporate universal design concepts. In other words, they needed to create a home that can be used be anybody and everybody, no matter the ability. Through their research they came across our company, ONE eleven ltd.

Looking for a home that would increase their quality of life, the couple sought to redirect the focus from their physical limitations and concentrate on living full lives within their abilities. They wanted an open concept that could provide a light, airy, spacious feel and grant them the freedom of movement with full accessibility for themselves, as well as guests.

From the earliest design phase, we took accessibility into account, and our design sensibility dovetailed perfectly with our clients’ vision. When accessibility is an inherent part of the design—as opposed to an afterthought—the universal design features can blend seamlessly. They add to the beauty of the home, rather than detracting from it.

ONE eleven ltd. succeeded in developing a design that fully met the clients’ desires for a spacious, light-filled home providing them with safety, comfort and style. We were able to cater to each individual’s limitations by creating accessible accommodations within the home and working to incorporate a multitude of accessibility features that were not only functional but, just as important, aesthetically pleasing.

Our goal for this couple was to eliminate all possible barriers and create a place to be proud of that works for each of them. The positive energy that one gains from a home that works for people, no matter their challenges, is infectious. Maintaining independence in the face of any limitation is deeply comforting and empowering. This autonomy nurtures and feeds the positivity needed to live a healthy life, abound with fulfillment.

The kitchen has two sink workstations: one for someone who prefers to stand while using it, and the other for those who are in a seated position. The spacious, 42-inch-wide clearances around the kitchen island allow a wheelchair to easily turn 360 degrees, while large-format ceramic floor tiles give way to effortless maneuverability. The cabinetry was designed with entirely lower-drawer boxes and a full-height roll-out pantry to keep items organized and easy to reach. The microwave was strategically located at counter level for access whether seated or standing.

Throughout the home the doorways were widened to 36 inches, allowing for easy movement in and out of rooms. We added solid core doors with lower door handles and offset hinges to gain maximum clearances. In the living area, we removed non-bearing pillars and walls to achieve the desired open floor plan and accessible pathways.

On the exterior, we introduced low-profile ramps made of recycled rubber at each entrance point to facilitate smooth entry and exit form the home. We installed comfort-height, elongated-bowl toilets in each bathroom, and remote-controlled fans were added at various locations along with Decora style switches for easy-push operation. We chose to equip the laundry room with a washer and dryer set from Miele with both front-loading and high-efficiency features, catering to the homeowners’ wishes.

In the master bathroom a dual floating vanity was designed to accommodate both seated and standing positions. The bath/shower wet room has a zero-edge entry and is enclosed by wall-to-wall clear glass panels that retain the heat for extended periods of time. The bathtub was oriented within the enclosure in such a way to welcome an individual plus a caregiver comfortably.

The water closet was equipped with a floor-to-ceiling barn door to maximize clearances and minimize intrusion while adding a dramatic impact to the design. In the master bedroom we added an accessible patio door not only for convenience, but also for peace of mind and safety if exiting the back of the home is needed in case of an emergency.

Because universal design caters not only to the function of the space but, just as important, focuses on style, we often hear, “Wow, if you didn’t tell us, we would have never known this home was built with a wheelchair in mind.” Here are some additional areas of significance that give each of these homeowners their independence and the individualized design elements they desired:

Office/guest bedroom: We added steel supports to assure the longevity of the floating-desk features and provide unobstructed use.

Powder room: We designed a custom, accessible vanity that utilized remnant butcher-block material for a cost-effective, eye-catching element for the small space.

Kitchen: The addition of the custom, butcher-block floating shelves with an interior radius at the corner contrasts nicely as they sit up against the Carerra marble subway tiles. And let’s not forget to mention the Octo 4240 Secto Design Pendants hovering over the dining table that pull the minimalist design together perfectly. QR

Julie and Eddie Leverett

ONE eleven ltd. is a consulting, design, build, remodel company specializing in universal design concepts. We pride ourselves on full-home residential and small commercial renovations, accommodating the needs of all individuals by constructing accessible spaces. ONE eleven ltd. will create an overall renovation plan, encompassing all aspects of mobile accessibility within the existing walls and exterior grounds.

 

 

 

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