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Universal Design Homes – What Is It?

Kitchens And Bathrooms For All Ages

If you are holding this newspaper at arm’s length and wondering to yourself if the print has gotten smaller….read on. You may need a little assistance with the help of those reading glasses you recently purchased. And with the passage of time, undoubtedly your physical needs will present you with new challenges.

If you’ve reached the “Fabulous Forties” you may be very interested in Universal Design.

Ah yes, just as you now require the help of those reading glasses, you may find yourself needing a little assistance in other areas of daily living as you venture into your 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s and, for those fortunate ones, the golden years to follow. You might have already taken the next step and have probably thought about the possibility of laser surgery.

What is Universal Design and beneficial to whom?

“Universal Design is a concept developed by designers who have found a need and have come up with a solution for that need”, says Chet Basher of Sparta Trades Kitchens & Baths (STK&B). “Universal Design is beneficial to homeowners who intend to spend the next few decades in their homes.”

“If you’ve owned your own home for several years or more, it has probably gone through a couple of style transformations as you’ve matured. If you are planning on staying in your home, you may want to think ahead about some transformations pertaining to your kitchen and bathroom in particular”, states Basher.

If you are in your forties it may be easy to swing those legs over the bath tub to take a relaxing bath. Is it going to be as easy to swing those same legs over that tub as you mature? Perhaps it may be easier to step into a large luxury shower complete with multiple showerheads, body sprays and steam for an invigorating and revitalizing five minute shower, all of this in an all-in-one shower panel to a full-on custom shower. Hence the rise of the “vertical whirlpool” as this has been aptly coined. Showers are getting larger. They’re meant to add to the visual appeal of the room. The trend is using glass doors that allow the shower to be seen. These shower doors offer integral safety features, carefree maintenance and practical durability. Showerheads feature large diameters for wide coverage and flexibility. People are putting in beautiful stone and granite in the shower for aesthetics. The shower is meant to add to the visual appeal of the room. They don’t want to cover it up with ordinary, unattractive shower equipment.

There are several articles on Universal Design and the one common denominator is that people are living longer than they used to. The traditional home that serves you well when you are healthy won’t always take care of you when you break a leg or hurt your back. Younger people want a home that will take care of them when they are sick or injured. People now realize that they need homes that wll grow old with them.

“As we age it’s inevitable that we will encounter some of life’s little hurdles. Universal Design in the home gives us a boost over these obstacles and allows us to function and live a little easier with assistance from the products in the marketplace”, says Basher. “Some of the new products being introduced are sleek and stylish in design. For instance, grab bars placed in showers are no longer “institutional” in appearance. The can fit seamlessly into a shower scheme with platinum, chrome, brushed nickel or brass finishes. Some of the newer showers have built in pre-fabed seats not only for someone who may need assistance who would have previously placed a chair in the shower, but for those of you who prefer to take advantage of sitting in the shower and shaving those gams, or maybe even the mom-to-be’s who may need to rest. There are even faucets with temperature controlled features so you are not frozen or scaled.

Universal Design Products for the kitchen such as the use of Lazy Susans, rolling carts under counters, pull-out shelves with cut-out bowl holders and height-adjustable cabinets makes more items accessible in a kitchen and compensates for a reduced range of motion.

Universal design homes provide important home safety features you can enjoy now as well as for the future”, says Basher.

STK&B is on the cutting edge of design, creativity, and innovation as a result of working with the top designers in the world. Basher, has over 35 years experience as a designer and currently serves as chairman of the NJ chapters of the National Kitchen and Bath Dealers Association and the Long Range Planning Board.

The kitchen and bathrooms of today and the future continue to be revolutionized. Being on the cutting edge of Design, Products, And Installation… is what sets designers such as Chet Basher apart.

“Feeling good about your home, particularly these two most distinctive rooms, is simply important for our sense of well-being. One’s environment is a quality of life issue. It’s also an issue of security since our homes are for most of us our number one financial investment. Remodeling protects and increases the value of our homes,” says Basher.

Installation, the invisible behind-the-scenes work, has never been more vital or more complex. Safety and function are top priorities for designers at STK&B. Highly skilled installation is absolutely essential for the safety of all members of the home, and for the home itself. Of all the rooms the kitchen and bath require the most expertise. Careful attention to all the details is key to making any vision a true day-to-day reality.

For additional information on ‘Aging in Place’, here is an excellent article on the subject.

Sparta Trades serves the residents of Denville, Boonton, Randolph, Rockaway, Sparta, Succasunna, Oak Ridge, Jefferson, Vernon, Parsippany, Hopatcong, Mt. Lakes, Budd Lake, Newton, Landing, Mendham, Andover, Summit, Branchville, Montville, East Hanover and Kenvil in New Jersey.

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