15 Ways to Incorporate Universal Design Into a Remodeling Project

From easy door handle change-outs to high-tech home automation, universal design can be approached in numerous ways. Here are more than a dozen to try.

Safe Inside Single-hung, double-hung, and casement windows a cross a range of Andersen product lines are now available with window opening control devices. Ideal for homes with young children, the devices prevent windows from opening more than 4 inches to prevent falls, while allowing for the intentional opening of a window for escape, rescue, or ventilation. The latches can be manually released, then automatically re-engage with the windows are retracted or lowered. Andersen | 800.426.4261 | andersenwindows.com

Lever Door Handles The Reserve portfolio of door hardware includes seven levers to allow for easy access around the home. Also in the collection are four knobs, 15 handlesets, and seven roses, all of which are available in eight finishes. The collection can be purchased through showrooms, lumberyards, and online retailers with a shorter lead time than the makers other product lines. Baldwin Hardware | 800.437.7448 | baldwinhardware.com

Smart & Stylish With both ADA and WaterSense credits to its name, the Easy Height collection of toilets meets users' requirements for both universal design and green sensibilities. With heights of 16 to 17 inches to the top of the bowl, Easy Height toilets are available in 14 different models, including the Sydney Smart (shown). The dual-flush model uses 1.28 gallons of water per full flush, or 0.8 gallons per half flush.  Caroma | caromausa.com

Ready to Rinse The ADA-compliant Lahara lavatory faucet features Touch2O and Touch2O XT technologies, allowing the faucet to be turned on by a simple tap or completely touch-free, no handle gripping or twisting required. The flow of water is activaed by moving anywhere within 4 inches of the faucet. Diamond Seal technology promises smooth flow and operation, and the WaterSense label indicates the faucet uses at least 20% less water than other lav faucets. Delta | 800.345.3358 | deltafaucet.com

ADA Dishwasher Allowing for one-handed operation, the maker's ADA-compliant dishwashers are equipped with controls within arm's reach (between 15 and 48 inches above the floor), and require no more than five pounds of pressure. Model GLDT696DSS (shown) has hidden controls for a low-profile look. All racks are designed for front access and include upper-rack utility shelves for stemware. The unit also accommodates raised subfloors or lower 34-inch countertop heights. GE | 800.626.2005 | geappliances.com

Hidden Handrail For functionality without an institutional look, the Belay handrail blends into the tile shower environment. Available in 30- or 54-inch lengths, the handrail can be cut to size for custom installations, and can be installed on up to three walls of a shower or bath. An integral water channel keeps water from pooling inside the handrail. Five available finishes match the maker's shower doors and faucets. Kohler | 800.456.4537 | kohler.com

Passport to Accessibility Universal Design Certified and ADA Compliant for some applications, Passport Series cabinetry offers a range of access solutions for users of all ages and abilities. Pull-outs and tambour-style units eliminate the need to reach into deep cabinets, while extendable tables creating workspace and eating areas that come to you. Other options include 9-inch high, 6-inch deep toe-kicks to allow for easier reach and roll-up access for wheelchair uses, and comfort-height cabinets for wall ovens and dishwashers. KraftMaid | 888.562.7744 | kraftmaid.com

Lock it Up Modern styling has been added to the SmartCode Deadbolt with Home Connect Technology. The keyless entry makes for easier access to those with the code. Part of the maker’s Zigbee and Z-Wave product offerings, the lock features a motorized deadbolt that can be locked remotely via home automation systems. Also available in a lever style, the Home Connect system works wirelessly with other electronic devices, such as lighting controls, thermostats, and home security systems. Kwikset | 800.327.5625 | kwikset.com

Switches that Rock With a large paddle switch and built-in soft-glow indicator lights, the Diva switch and dimmer requires little effort to adjust a room's lighting. Dozens of color options are available to match décor around a home. C-L models for dimmable CFLs and LEDs have specialized technology that improves dimming performance of those bulbs and helps eliminate lighting "drop out." Lutron | 888.588.7661 | lutron.com

Get In Line The ProLine trench-style drain improves shower accessiblity with its fully-flush design, and can even be installed at the back wall of a shower to eliminate the need to step or roll over it. The linear design also allows for a wider range of materials to be used on the floor of the shower, such as larger tile dimensions for smoother transitions. Several cover styles are available for any type of décor. Quick Drain | 866.998.6685 | quickdrainusa.com

Safe Soaking Retrofit a standard bathtub space with a Deluxe 60-inch Walk-In Bath, ideal for older homeowners or those with limited mobility. Measuring 37 inches deep, the tub holds 80 gallons of water, allowing for a more submersive soak than other accessible tubs. The patented T5 door system incorporates a watertight seal, ergonomically designed handle for minimal opening and closing effort, and aluminum and stainless steel components for strength and durability. Available in white or biscuit. Safety Tubs | 877.304.2800 | safetytubs.com

That's Alarming Three levels of sensitivity make the new Alarmed Lock an innovative safety device for any home. Users can select alert settings with alarm modes similar in volume to a standard smoke detector. The Activity Alert sounds two short beeps every time the door opens or closes, while the more sensitive Tamper Alert sounds a 15-second alarm when the doorknob or level is disturbed. The Forced Entry alert sounds a shrill, steady siren upon impact to the door, and will continue for three minutes. In addition to keeping intruders out of the house, the Alarmed Lock is a safety measure to monitor the comings and goings of homes with small children or aged adults. Schlage | alarm.schlage.com

Smooth Transitions Reno-TK is designed to create a smooth transition from tile coverings to lower-level floor coverings, such as carpet. Available in stainless steel, brass, or anodized aluminum, Reno-TK features a trapezoid-perforated anchoring leg that is secured in the mortar bond coat beneath the tile, and a sloped surface to eliminate trip hazards and protect tile edges. All sizes of Reno-TK are ADA-compliant. Schluter Systems | 800.472.4588 | schlutersystems.com

Hot Drawer The makers of the first Microwave Drawer Oven have introduced the next generation of the appliance. Now larger and more accessible, the KB-6524P series fits in the same place as other 24-inch Sharp models, but offers 1.2 cubic feet of interior space. Usually used in undercounter installations, the Microwave Drawer Oven elimiantes the need to remove hot items from overhead, as with range hood-mounted styles. The unit can be opened with an easy tug or a push on the Auto-Touch control panel. Smaller, lower drawer slides also make the inside of the unit easier to clean. Sharp | sharpusa.com

Easy to Handle With a uniquely ergonomic design, the UltraLatch door handle is touted as the most ADA-friendly lockset available. Specifically designed to retrofit into 2?-inch holes in most existing doors, the UltraLatch design conforms to the shape of the hand, allows the wrist to remain in a neutral position, and requires as little as ½ inch of movement to open a door. Available with or without a privacy lock, UltraLatch is available in six finishes that blend with any home decor. Soss | 800.922.6957 | soss.com

Teak a Seat For users that need the safety and stability of a shower seat but want an elegant look that teak provides, try the ADA L-Shaped Teak Transfer Seat. The seat folds up against the wall when not in use, and low-pressure spring action makes it easy to raise and lower. Each leg is capped with a soft rubber foot, and rounded edges on the seat battens offer comfort and safety. Multiple sizes and options available. Teakworks4U | 866.969.8325 | teakworks4u.com

Give a Lift Add an elevator to an existing home with a unit like Rise, which requires no pit beneath it. Rise offers a compact design as well as SoftStart and SoftStop technology for a smooth ride. Safety controls, automatic lighting, and telephone jacks are standard on most units. A variety of style options are available. Rise can accommodate  950-pound capacity. ThyssenKrupp Access | 800.820.0537 | tkaccess.com

Hold on Tight With this range of styles and finishes, the lowly grab bar becomes jewelry for a stylish universal design bathroom. All grab bars in the collection measure 1 1/4 inches in diameter and have been tested to meet ADA load-bearing requirements. A whopping 38 finishes are available to match fixtures in any bathroom. Choose from widths between 12 and 48 inches, as well as left-or right-hand angles or corner grab bars. Available options include wire baskets, hand-shower mounts, and more. Watermark Designs | watermark-designs.com

Range of Options ADA-friendly ranges like model GY399LXUS from Whirlpool put controls at the front of the unit so users don't have to reach across hot burners and pans to make adjustments. This 30-inch slide-in unit features a 4.5-cubit-foot capacity, large oven window, and AccuBake and TimeSavor cooking systems. The smooth-surface cooktop is easy to clean. Whirlpool | insideadvantage.com

Not So Remote Remote-controlled range hoods like the Duo make even hard-to-reach units easy to operate. Users can be up to 15 feet away when using the sleek hand-held remote. Duo is available in island or wall-mounted styles that can be finished with natural wood or left with a modern all-steel exterior. For additional task lighting in the kitchen, the range hood features two pairs of halogen lights. Optional duct covers can accommodate ceilings up to 12 feet. Zyphyr | 888.880.8368 | zephyronline.com

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