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Judging from exhibits at the 2011 International Builders’ Show in January, building product manufacturers are beginning to more aggressively market their universal design products to reflect the growing demand for homes that are built or remodeled to accommodate aging in place.
While some products are new to the market, many of the products have been around for a while but are getting renewed interest within the industry.
“During the universal design product tours on the IBS exhibit floor, we were finding builders and remodelers who were seeing products for the very first time, even though they weren’t new,” said Diana Schrage, senior interior designer at the Kohler Design Center.
“This just shows that the profile of universal design, or aging-in-place, products are seeing a surge in popularity,” she said.
While the nation’s fast growing population of aging baby boomers is driving the market for these products, manufacturers are designing them to appeal to an audience that includes young and old alike, with varying degrees of mobility and agility.
Baby boomers themselves may balk at products that connote aging and infirmity. Accordingly, the new crop of universal design products aims at maximizing lifestyle while adding beauty and aesthetic interest to the home.
Here are some universal design products that are “hot” right now:
The Hidden Hand Rail
Kohler has provided a product that makes it easy for home owners to enter and exit the bathtub.
The Belay in-tile grab bar can be artfully incorporated into the design of the bath, avoiding the institutional look often associated with this product.
The grab bar has an interior edge that helps with balance while supporting the weight of someone using the shower.
Those who shower while seated can use the hand rail to steady themselves as they enter, and as they stand to exit.
The hand rails can be installed on one, two or three walls of the shower or bath and can be cut to fit the length of custom-sized showers.
For more information, visit www.Kohler.com.
A Range Within Reach
Well-designed range hoods can add a stylish touch to any kitchen decor and they also help eliminate smoke, odors and airborne grease during cooking.
They also can be hard to reach, which is why Broan has created the Evolution Three under-cabinet range hood, which can be operated by a handy remote.
The magnetic remote control can be placed on almost any metal surface in the kitchen allowing anyone who does not have the ability to reach the controls — such as those using a wheelchair — to operate this appliance with ease.
Four different fan speeds — including a “boost” mode, a four-level lighting system and a delay-off feature — are added bonuses.
For more information, visit the Broan website.
Elevate with Ease
Savaria, the largest personal mobility and accessibility company in Canada, offers three styles of residential elevators that provide quiet, smooth rides — without taking up a lot of space in the home.
Two of the three elevators, the Infinity and Eclipse models, have an automatic “slim door” that doesn’t swing out, but disappears into the sides of the unit.
This allows the elevator to be entered and exited more easily by those who are using a walker or wheelchair — as well as by anyone else boarding or alighting from it.
Telecab, the third style of elevator offered by Savaria, is the quickest and easiest way to add an elevator to the home.
This unit requires minimal construction because no elevator hoistway is required for installation.
For more information, visit www.Savaria.com.
One-Handed Roll Change
Moen offers a large selection of spring-free, pivoting toilet roll holders that can be operated with one hand, and demands little in the way of manual dexterity, but is secure when closed.
The home owner simply lifts the arm, inserts the new roll and sets the arm back into place. The pivoting arm remains attached so there's no spring to lose or extra parts to drop.
The fixtures have a limited lifetime warranty. For more information, visit www.Moen.com
Highly visual, the book features projects showing room contexts and photos of details. Basic specifications, how-to tips and other technical content are featured throughout the book in easy-to-find boxes and sidebars.
To view or purchase this publication online, click here.
“Right House, Right Place, Right Time: Community and Lifestyle Preferences of the 45+ Housing Market,” available through NAHB BuilderBooks, will help determine the right design, home features and amenities to attract boomer home buyers in your market.
Author Margaret A. Wylde guides readers through the latest survey results on this important consumer group and explains what their responses mean for today’s and tomorrow’s home building industry.
To view or purchase this publication online, click here, or call 800-223-2665.