Golden Rule Builders

Universal Design

We are strong advocates 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.

Elements such as countertop heights, cabinet placement, adequate lighting, ample hallway widths, door openings, and a smart design do not have to cost much if anything more than the typical costs of a well-built home. Universal Design will serve all visitors to the home and its occupants for generations, and can make you feel not only safe and comfortable, but connected to all of the activities that take place in your home.

universal design kitchen catlett

We believe that your home should be designed with considerations for today — and tomorrow, too.

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.

Universal
Universal-2

universal design catlett

  • 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

universal design warrenton

  • 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

Universal-6

universal design fauquier

  • 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

universal design middleburg

  • Bedroom closet bars adjustable to multiple heights provide accessibility both for those in wheelchairs and for children, which can be adjusted as they grow

universal design aging in place Ron Knecht floor plan

  • 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

Green Builder 2012 award

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.

Ron Knecht Universal Design home featured in:

universaldesign_logo

Built on a Promise

Looking for a contractor familiar with energy-efficient design, Knecht considered five builders in the area, talking with references and reviewing projects. He settled on Golden Rule Builders, an experienced green builder and winner of the Northern Virginia Building Industry Association (NVBIA) Builder of the Year award.

Anthony Palladino, Building Designer at Golden Rule, acknowledged that while people will come armed with photos and floor plans of homes they like, few have researched their projects as completely as Knecht. Still, certain elements of the plan presented real challenges in order to achieve both what Knecht wanted and to meet building codes. Anthony says, "Sometimes you have to think outside the box. A custom builder needs to be solution oriented to give the client exactly what they want."

Knecht's home was not the first Universal Design project for Golden Rule - it is a concept they espouse as a custom builder. Because custom builders are able to respond to lifestyle requests, they encourage customers to think into the future about how they want to live in and use their homes. Maintaining an active lifestyle can best be accommodated by a home that can be enjoyed and used by all ages, from children to adults to older adults.

northernva_magazine

'Til Retirement Do We Part?

Off a gravely road, tucked somewhere between Route 28 and Route 619 Knecht's promise stands true, a red sprawling single-floor home featuring universal design elements in every room. From an extra-wide front walkway to a detached garage with a no-step entry, the eight months Knecht spent researching and pouring over blueprints certainly are evident throughout, as he partnered with Catlett residential designer Anthony Palladino, 34, of Golden Rule Builders to build the company's biggest [Universal Design] project to date while focusing on three central components of universal design: safety, comfort and sustainability. All accomplished while still being aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

Making a home more livable is what universal design, and Golden Rule Builders, is all about.

builder_mag

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.

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.