Golden Rule Builders, Inc. is a strong advocate for what the National Association of Home Builders calls “Aging-in-Place.” We prefer using a different term, “Universal Design,” to describe the philosophy of safety, comfort, and sustainability at home. The principal notion is that feeling safe and comfortable in your home has little to do with your age. Admittedly, many of our clients who benefit from Universal Design features are either aging or are concerned about a parent who is aging. But the ideas behind the universal design concept cater to people of all ages — children and adults alike.
We believe that your home should be designed with considerations for today — and tomorrow, too.
Ease of use from wheelchair height for things like storage, lightswitches, electrical outlets, and even cooktops is one important aspect of Universal Design. Appliances feature controls on the front and faucets are equipped with touch control for easy access.
Hands-free entry. Pull-down hanging space available and easily accessible. Counter with lower section for wheelchair access. Washer, dryer and folding area is placed to minimized distance laundry must be carried. Front loading appliances with controls on the front.
Over-sized staircase to accommodate the spacial needs for mobility for all residents. Chairlift or stair glider for those with restricted mobility who can safely navigate stairs without assistance. Steps have rounded edges to minimize injuries during a possible fall.
Wide doors and hallways provide more clearance. For ease of use, select hardware that minimizes grip, twisting or pinching needs. Lever handles or doors that push open allow the resident to use their body weight to help open the door. Provides low or flush door thresholds and transitions at doorways.
Open counter spaces near easily accessible appliances. Adaptable cabinetry for standing or seated positions. Non-porous, smooth flooring with fewer joints are easier to clean. Extra space for caregivers or spouses where daily tasks are performed or an individual may require help.
Exterior windows are lower for optimal visibility. Wide sidewalks allow person in wheelchair and another person to move around the home side-by-side. Multiple entry points into the home with appropriate lighting. Flush thresholds allow for someone in wheelchair to move around comfortably.
Gary Sinise Foundation Home Build 2020
See the full gallery of this home built by Golden Rule Builders with the Gary Sinise Foundation:
Interested in learning more about our approach to Universal Design, and our homes built for Aging-in-Place?
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Origin & Features of the Award-winning Ron Knecht Universal Design Home
After Ron Knecht’s wife was diagnosed with cancer, she asked her husband to promise he would move from their Fairfax home to Nokesville after she was gone, to be closer to their grown daughter, so they could look after each other. When that time came and he began looking for a home to buy, all he could find available were houses with stairs, chopped-up floorplans, and high maintenance issues. After observing his wife’s physical impairments in everyday living, Ron wanted a home that he could easily maneuver in and maintain as he aged. In addition to accessibility features, Ron also wanted an energy efficient home and one that required little maintenance.
After searching for months and finding nothing, he decided to have one built. Ron narrowed his choices of contractors familiar with universal design to Golden Rule Builders. Together we developed a plan for a home that would be highly energy efficient, usable for anyone regardless of age or ability, and practically maintenance free.
Now Ron’s red single-floor home featuring universal design elements from the exterior entry ways to the garage to accessible features in every room, stands as evidence to a promise kept to his late wife.
- Six-feet-wide sidewalks allow person in wheelchair and another person to approach home side-by-side
- Extra-wide garage with nine-foot door accommodates lift-equipped vehicles and space for someone in wheelchair to get in and out comfortably
- Small shelf at front and back entries frees hands for unlocking and opening door, by holding bags and other items
- Flush thresholds
- Thirty-four inch high counters and a cooktop with free space underneath accommodate those working from a seated position
- Kickspaces that are nine inches high and six inches deep accommodate wheelchairs
- Touch control faucet
- Pull-out extension counter
- Out-turning doors
- Thirty-four inch high counters with free space underneath accommodate a wheelchair
- Comfort height toilets
- Zero threshold showers with trench drains allow use of single plane sloped shower floors that help prevent falls
- Bedroom closet bars adjustable to multiple heights provide accessibility both for those in wheelchairs and for children, which can be adjusted as they grow
- All light switches, outlets, thermostats at 34″ height
- Lighting that eliminates shadows that cause falls, including natural light through windows and sun tunnels, and path lights to illuminate hallway
- Daylight tubes brighten interior spaces and save electricity
- Wide hallway
- An exercise room with floating floor is easier on joints than basement concrete
GRB Universal Design Home Receives GreenBuilder Best Aging-in-Place Home Award
Golden Rule was awarded this recognition for the Universal Design home we built for Ron Knecht in Nokesville, Fauquier County, Virginia.
The Retirement-Ready House
After months of searching, Knecht decided to have one built. Working with Golden Rule Builders, a local green builder that had experience with universal design, Knecht spent the next few months extensively researching accessible design. Together, what he and Golden Rule came up with is the equivalent of a super-house. Ultra efficient, universally designed to a T, and virtually maintenance free, evidence of careful research and planning is everywhere.
Questions about Universal Design, Aging in Place / Living in Place homes, or are you ready to discuss your Universal Design project? Contact Golden Rule Builders today!
UNIVERSAL DESIGN / AGING IN PLACE CONSTRUCTION THROUGHOUT NORTHERN VIRGINIA
Airlie • Bealeton • Belle Meade • Bristersburg • Broad Run • Calverton • Casanova • Catlett • Delaplane • Elk Run • Germantown • Goldvein • Halfway • Hume • Linden • Markham • Marshall • Midland • Morrisville • New Baltimore • Old Tavern • Opal • Orlean • Paris • Rectortown • Remington • Somerville • Sumerduck • The Plains • Upperville • Vint Hill • Warrenton
Brentsville • Bristow • Gainesville • Haymarket • Lake Ridge • Manassas • Manassas Park • Montclair • Nokesville • Woodbridge
Amissville • Brandy Station • Jeffersonton • Rixeyville
Chantilly • Middleburg
Amissville • Sperryville