Hammer & Hand Launches Universal Design Services as Part of National Aging In Place Week

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Home safety assessments, aging-in-place retrofits, and barrier-free homes using Universal Design principles allow people to age at home independently and safely.

Universal Design features open floor plans

Open floor plans are commonly used in Universal Design.

"The best aging-in-place retrofits are essentially invisible, they fit so seamlessly into a home,” says Sam Hagerman, President of Hammer & Hand. “’Universal Design’ is good design that serves everyone, regardless of ability or mobility."

Aging in place is an idea whose time has come as increasing numbers of adults seek to take charge of where and how they will age. In celebration of National Aging In Place Week (October 10 – 16, 2011), Hammer & Hand announces the launch of its Universal Design Services, featuring new home safety assessments and aging-in-place retrofits. (http://hammerandhand.com/universal-design)

“Today more and more adults want barrier-free homes where they can ‘age in place,’” explains Stacey Foisy, Certified Aging In Place Specialist with Hammer & Hand. “Instead of selling their homes and moving into retirement facilities, homeowners are modifying their living spaces to accommodate their evolving lifestyles and needs. Folks want to remain independent.”

Aging-in-place modifications needn’t feel “institutional” or make one’s home look like a retirement facility. Instead, Universal Design retrofits and remodels employ design principles that dovetail with good contemporary design: things like open floor plans, generous stepless entries, spacious hallways, no-lip showers, varied counter heights, and the like.

“The best aging-in-place retrofits are essentially invisible, they fit so seamlessly into a home,” says Sam Hagerman, President of Hammer & Hand. “’Universal Design’ is good design that serves everyone, regardless of ability or mobility. For example, lever-style door handles are great for the aging, but they’re also really convenient for a parent returning home with arms full of groceries and kids in tow. It's design that's aimed at everyone.”

Examples of age in place retrofit measures that allow homeowners to age at home safely include:

Entryways:     

  • Stepless entries.
  • Wider doors.
  • Covered porches.

Bathrooms:     

  • No-lip or roll-in showers with height-adjustable or hand-held shower heads.
  • Lowered bathroom sinks with roll-under clearance.

• Elevated toilets with grab bars.

Bedrooms:     
• Ample maneuvering clearance.
• “Rocker” light switches that are easer to turn on.

Kitchen:    

  • Varied countertop height.

• Roll-under clearance beneath sink.
• Lowered cooking surfaces.

Lighting:    
• Safe lighting throughout the home, especially for stairways and outdoor walkways.

Hammer & Hand offers 90-minute home safety assessments to evaluate existing barriers to aging-in-place and to recommend retrofit measures. The firm guides clients through the design-build process, drawing on its cadre of independent designers when necessary. Hammer & Hand’s career carpenters carry out the actual retrofits.

“Since Hammer & Hand’s inception, our central mission has been to make buildings serve people better,” says Hagerman. “We’re proud to be adapting living spaces to allow people to age at home with dignity and peace of mind.”

Hammer & Hand’s newly launched Universal Design services can be found on the web at http://hammerandhand.com/universal-design.

About Hammer & Hand
Hammer & Hand is dedicated to stewardship of the built environment through craft and science, everything from handyman repairs to barrier-free retrofits to high performance Passive House structures. Based in Portland, Oregon, the remodeler and builder can be reached at http://hammerandhand.com or by phone at 503-232-2447.

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Zack Semke

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