Kathy Tarantola Photography

A growing number of remodelers are creating homes that fit their clients at all ages and all stages of life. The trouble is that most homeowners are only thinking about what they need now as opposed to what architect Deborah Pierce says they really need to think about: their “future selves.”

Slideshow

Design It Forward

Universal design is all about things remodelers can do now to help clients prepare to live in their homes for years to come. Here are ways to do that.

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Moving clients in that direction can be difficult because they believe it will drastically increase costs. Yet if, as several studies have shown, people truly want to remain in their homes long-term, remodelers will have to engage clients in more intimate conversations to ensure that their homes fit them and not the other way around.

Ignore the debate about what to call this kind of design (universal, better living, aging-in-place, accessible, etc.) and make it standard practice to design spaces that will offer clients peace of mind for whatever their future holds. Most clients don’t even know the names, says Maryland remodeler Greg Buitrago, “We just say that good design lasts a long time.”

Think of the ideas on the following pages as conversation starters that you can customize to clients’ needs.