If you are remodeling space for in-law suite or building a new home with the goal of aging in place there is one phrase that can make the difference of a successful project or poor result.

The phrase is “Universal Design”.

Universal Design: What is it and why is it important?

The definition of universal design is to simplify life for everyone by making more housing usable for a maximum amount of people. Simply put, it is accessible design for the present and future needs of anyone who occupies a habitable space.

You could be remodeling for aging parents or adding a full mother in-law suite for your loved one to age in place, there is a criterion that must be met. This criterion is found in Universal Design. Universal Design will give the layout of every type of room to create a barrier free home, with accessible wheelchair ramps, elevators, the height to the bottom of the wall hung kitchen cabinets above the floor level, handrail height, the turning radius for handicap bathrooms and everything else needed to build a totally accessible design home.

Accessible Design Resources

Where in the world would one find the wealth of knowledge for accessible design? North Carolina State University has a Center for Universal Design in Housing. They have a complete guideline for any question about accessible design. It is a bit over whelming but it is all there, anything and everything to due with accessible design.

You can download the entire document here;  Universal Design in Housing PDF

Universal Design for a Garage In-Law Suite

Let’s say you are designing a remodel for a mother in-law suite in your existing two car garage. You will need to raise the finished floor of the existing garage to meet the existing first floor level or finished floor. This can be a great help if you can layout the plumbing for the handicap bathroom, laundry room and accessible kitchen as close to the parting wall of the house as possible. The accessible design for those rooms can be found in the Universal Design in Housing.

*For Garage Mother In Law Suite pictures click here

Accessible Ramp Design

Grandpa Trying Out His New Wheelchair Ramp

Grandpa Trying Out His New Wheelchair Ramp

What if you need to add an accessible wheelchair ramp for exterior entrance to the main level of your new mother in-law suite? Everything you need to know about that ramp like how wide it needs to be, what height do you need for hand railings, the shape of the hand railing, the per cent of grade allowed, turning radius, land pad dimensions, it is all contained in the accessible design guidelines.

Universal Code Is The Key To A Successful In Law Suite

I will be breaking the encyclopedia of accessible design in future articles. If you have a question on any of the subjects mentioned above or any other project your starting, feel free to drop me a line in the comment box and I will give it my best shot. Planning is seeking knowledge. Knowledge can save you time and money.Universal Code