NextGen Home Spotlights Accessibility, Style


Orlando, FL — Designing and building a home that will fit the lifestyle of the next generation is a significant challenge. Including accessible design elements, green features and up-to-the-minute technological amenities in that design is a daunting task indeed.

But that’s exactly the challenge that was successfully met by Champion Home Builders when it designed and completed the 2011 NextGen National Demonstration Home, which was on display at the International Builders’ Show (IBS) here in January. The NextGen Flex-Home focused specifically on that – flexible living – and featured not only beautiful transitional design that was eco-friendly, but accessible features that promoted the benefits of Aging in Place.

The home was designed as a showcase for builders and remodelers, where they could learn about products that are being introduced to meet the needs of today’s homeowners.

“We constantly look for innovative building products that deliver greater energy efficiency, durability or green and sustainable benefits for builders and remodelers,” says Paul Barnett, president of iShow in Bellevue, WA, producers of the NextGen Home Experience.

Accessible Style

Viewed by thousands of visitors to IBS, the NextGen Flex-Home was donated to the nonprofit organization Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay in cooperation with Sears’ Heroes at Home program. The house was, in turn, donated to an injured 39-year-old veteran of multiple tours of duty and his family.

While the homeowner can walk short distances, he utilizes a wheelchair most of the time.

But the home itself displays a flexible design that works not only for him, but for the entire family – all with style.

Through the front door, the entryway opens to an open floor plan, with Great Room, kitchen and dining area in full view and a family room beyond.

“There are no obstacles in the way of getting from one space to the other,” comments Roberto Kritzer, v.p. of corporate design, Champion Home Builders. “It’s basically just one large, continuous space defined by area.”

To the left of the kitchen is a hallway that leads to a powder room, utility room and master bedroom suite. A staircase near the entryway leads to the second floor, accessible via a motorized chair lift.

Artful Kitchen

The elegance of the home is evident in the kitchen. Rich, dark cabinets play off of the stainless steel ADA-compliant General Electric appliances and creamy, earth-toned shades of the countertops. A backsplash of greens, browns and grays ties the look together.

The transitionally styled cabinets from Executive Cabinetry are made from 3/4″ plywood that is constructed using waterborne finishes and no added formaldehyde glues.

“There are knee spaces in the cabinets that allow the homeowner to approach certain areas, such as the wall oven and sink,” notes Kritzer. “The cabinetry was designed so that, if and when he decides he doesn’t want the knee spaces for aesthetic reasons, the cabinet doors can be reinstalled.”

Along the L-shaped back wall, a pantry closet sits alongside a side-by-side refrigerator/freezer that sports a water and ice dispenser in the freezer door. Inside the pantry, the AutoPantry from StorageMotion provides access to all stored goods via an electronically revolving shelving system.

Following along the L-shape to the elongated portion of the kitchen, a cooktop is flanked by ample countertop prep space and topped with an undercabinet vent hood. At the end, a wall oven and microwave are placed at a lower level for easier access by the homeowner.

Opposite the wall cabinets is a triangular-shaped, two-level island that visually separates the kitchen from the Great Room and dining area. The island’s upper level blocks the lower-level sink from the view of the living area.

The sink area includes the contemporary-styled Parma Hands Free Faucet from Danze, which operates with either a conventional, single-control valve or a hands-free sensor. A GE dishwasher is located in the sink area.

Finishing off the island and perimeter space is multi-sized glass tile from Daltile, paired with Sandalwood solid surface countertops from DuPont Corian’s Private Collection.

Suite Set up

Simple, functional style was the need in the master bath, and the elements there come together to meet that request.

A double vanity topped with Corian solid surface in Burled Beach from the Private Collection provides a durable countertop that is easy to maintain. Green and accessible cabinetry from Executive Cabinetry similar in tone and style to the kitchen pieces was used here.

The high-efficiency toilet in the master bathroom is from Danze’s Ziga Zaga collection, as are the Sirius widespread lavatory faucet, tub/shower faucet and several bath accessories, including the paper holder, robe hook and towel bar. All of the Danze faucets throughout the home save on water and are ADA compliant.

The one-piece shower and tub unit is outfitted with a tub transfer system from ShowerBuddy that allows the homeowner to transport himself from the bed in the master bedroom to the tub and back again via a rack system operated by remote control.

Also in the master suite, a walk-in closet features the Automated Wardrobe Lift from StorageMotion. “The device allows the homeowner to lower the hanging rod to a height where he can manipulate clothing,” notes Kritzer. “When he’s finished, he can push the button again and it goes back to its normal height.” A revolving shoe organizer that operates at the touch of a button is also included.

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