Saturday, August 11, 2012

Universal Design

Remodeling you home for retirement may not be your concern in your 30s or 40s or even your 50s, but the new trend in home design and remodeling is focused on just that - designing your home for your current use with a focus on your future needs. This concept is called universal design.

Kiplinger suggests these simple changes to add 5% to the value of your home:
Substitute door handles for doorknobs. The handle material and design, which can match the d├ęcor of your home, will make it easier to open doors with arthritic hands.
Older folks need more light and are more sensitive to glare. Lights with extra illumination and lighting controls can be incorporated into a kitchen remodel.
European-style showers are sophisticated and don't have a lip, allowing wheelchair access as well as a way to wash plants and even the dog. You don't need to put a grab bar in the shower now -- but why not install the plates during a bathroom remodel so that a grab bar can be quickly attached later? 
Many of today's remodeling projects will be undertaken by middle-aged homeowners who are happy to stay in their home and make everyday living more comfortable. If you're one of them, remember that remodeling your home is as integral to your retirement plan as your asset allocation in your 401(k).

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