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A Friendly House http://afriendlyhouse.com AFriendlyHouse.com, where style meets safety. The Aging in Place Tour, IBS Las Vegas 2013 Creating an age-ready home should be a priority for the over 90% of people between 50-65 who MetLife Mature Marketing Institute reports want to stay in their homes in retirement.  As boomers stream past 65 at 10,000 a day, builders at the 2013 International Builders Show in Las Vegas were talking in various forums about how they can be better prepared to meet the needs of this market.  The Aging in Place Product Tour gave vendors an opportunity to showcase the products they believe both builders and consumers should take notice of in order to create a more enabling home.  Here… http://afriendlyhouse.com/53/The-Aging-in-Place-Tour--IBS-Las-Vegas-2013 http://afriendlyhouse.com/53/The-Aging-in-Place-Tour--IBS-Las-Vegas-2013 Fri, 14 Feb 2014 00:00 GMT As you winterize your home, “futurize” it, too! Work future-focused modifications into routine home maintenance to reduce effort, cost By thinking beyond just making it through another winter, you can address some other tasks around the home that will help ensure your home is safe and accommodating for years to come. Falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits, hospitalizations and deaths among older adults. A single fall can radically change a relatively healthy person’s life for the worse. As we age, activities we once took for granted may take some effort. Likewise, our homes, which may have provided a safe haven for years, now may present… http://afriendlyhouse.com/87/As-you-winterize-your-home-----futurize----it--too- http://afriendlyhouse.com/87/As-you-winterize-your-home-----futurize----it--too- Tue, 14 Jan 2014 00:00 GMT Book review: Unassisted Living Architect Wid Chapman and xxx Jeffrey P. Rosenfeld have compiled the work of 33 architects into a refutation of the idea that aging and aging in place mean living in an institutional setting, or a house that no longer meets one's needs. As 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 each day, the nation's largest demographic is once again changing the way society lives, works -- and ages. And, as the authors quote workplace flexibility coach Cali Williams Yost, who says he tells his boomer clients: ' "You have to understand that this is not going to be your parents' retirement'," the… http://afriendlyhouse.com/48/Book-review--Unassisted-Living http://afriendlyhouse.com/48/Book-review--Unassisted-Living Tue, 31 Dec 2013 00:00 GMT Improving on good design to Age in Place In June, we at AFriendlyHouse asked the KBTribeChat community, Can safety be sexy? The response was a resounding yes... if you know how to sell it.  We then followed up with a conversation on the sexy, sleek, European-style wet room, which was again a spin to sell great design that was also safer. Now, with the start of Aging in Place week, we want to know what can we do to improve on good design to make it age-ready and what is our role as designers in getting our clients onboard?   We use our expertise to advise our clients on products and design… http://afriendlyhouse.com/86/Improving-on-good-design-to-Age-in-Place http://afriendlyhouse.com/86/Improving-on-good-design-to-Age-in-Place Wed, 23 Oct 2013 00:00 GMT Livable Communities Port Townsend, WA landscaped median, part of Walkable Community strategy (AFriendlyHouse.com photo)   Livable communities advance inclusion through purposeful design. Public spaces such as community centers, parks and universities are rethought to advance walkability, social equity and access to education. Livable communities are designed to be circulate people, not cars. Commuting's hidden cost Suburban sprawl has been costly in terms of environmental impacts on traditional farmlands and pollution from automobiles, but, as New York Times Personal Health columnist Jane Brody points out, commuting from those suburbs takes a definite toll on Americans' health as well. But the news isn't all bad, she… http://afriendlyhouse.com/57/Livable-Communities http://afriendlyhouse.com/57/Livable-Communities Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00 GMT Latest Headlines ARTICLES: Peace, Purpose and a Pool Even Universal Design, with its emphasis on shaping spaces usable by people of all ages and abilities, is not the end-all when it comes to building homes for people with special needs. People living along the autism spectrum may be able to move about fine but may be extra sensitive to sensory stimuli. They also may have difficulty relating to other people and may not be able to live alone. With the rising number of diagnoses of autism, it has become evident to parents and caregivers that they may not be around to care for… http://afriendlyhouse.com/62/Latest-Headlines http://afriendlyhouse.com/62/Latest-Headlines Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00 GMT Original home for the ages   Del Buse celebrated his 85th birthday on July 6, 1998. His wife, Mary, turned 82 three days earlier.  On the night before her birthday, Mary read entries from her 1936 journal – about how Del proposed six times, how they worried they couldn’t afford to get married during those deep Depression years, how Del won $200 in a movie-house lottery and announced: “Now we can get married.” Nearly 61 years later, the couple celebrated their joint birthdays in the new house, a 5,200-square-foot house on a bluff overlooking Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains in Washington State.  The Buses were… http://afriendlyhouse.com/82/Original-home-for-the-ages http://afriendlyhouse.com/82/Original-home-for-the-ages Tue, 08 Oct 2013 00:00 GMT Existing homes can be friendlier to aging  Will you be able to live the rest of your life in the home you currently occupy? We’re not talking about if you get run over by a bus tomorrow, but if you live to be 85 or 90, or even 100.  For that matter, what if you do get hit by a bus but you only break your leg? How friendly will your house be then?  Barrier-free is a term architects and designers use about spaces designed for the handicapped.  But since most products are designed to be accessible to able-bodied 18-year-old males, the rest of us are “handicapped”… http://afriendlyhouse.com/83/Existing-homes-can-be-friendlier-to-aging http://afriendlyhouse.com/83/Existing-homes-can-be-friendlier-to-aging Tue, 08 Oct 2013 00:00 GMT Brick & mortar aging in place shop: Beverly's Daughter, Seattle If you live in the greater Seattle area, a visit to the shop Beverly's Daughter, formerly known as the Aging at Home store in Ballard can be an educational experience for people looking to safely age at home.  Who should shop here   People thinking about home safety, aging in place, caregivers and those in need of home medical modifications, both temporary and permanent. Also, people curious as to what any of that means. Getting into and out of a recliner can be problematic for those with various weaknesses. The recliner at right raises the sitter to a standing position,… http://afriendlyhouse.com/49/Brick---mortar-aging-in-place-shop---Beverly-s-Daughter--Seattle http://afriendlyhouse.com/49/Brick---mortar-aging-in-place-shop---Beverly-s-Daughter--Seattle Tue, 10 Sep 2013 00:00 GMT Aging eyes: Let there be light Black socks or navy blue? As we age, it becomes more difficult to tell. That's because aging eyes not only lose the ability to focus on the fine print but also the capacity to take in light. At 80, one's eyes may take in as little as 20 percent of the light they did at age 20, and even at 60, we may need several times as much light as we did in college to perceive the same details. As he grew older, my father complained that his house was too dark. The house, built with floor-to-ceiling windows, was nevertheless… http://afriendlyhouse.com/28/Aging-eyes--Let-there-be-light http://afriendlyhouse.com/28/Aging-eyes--Let-there-be-light Fri, 30 Aug 2013 00:00 GMT Wet Rooms; What design could be more sexy for the bath? In June when we hosted the #KBTribeChat on Twitter by asking, Can safety be sexy? The response was a resounding yes... if you know how to sell it.  So what better follow-up than a conversation on the sexy, sleek, European style wet room? But is a wet room safe? Is it just a no-thresholds bathroom without the PR problem? Is it really all in the perception? If so, would you ever sell it another way? We tackled these questions and more in a lively #KBTribeChat. We also got some help to answer a question regarding preventing a trench drain clog… http://afriendlyhouse.com/80/Wet-Rooms--What-design-could-be-more-sexy-for-the-bath- http://afriendlyhouse.com/80/Wet-Rooms--What-design-could-be-more-sexy-for-the-bath- Thu, 22 Aug 2013 00:00 GMT Rethinking communities to support aging As a nation we need to examine the ways that we can modify or build homes and communities to support aging in place for an unprecedented number of older Americans http://afriendlyhouse.com/79/Rethinking-communities-to-support-aging http://afriendlyhouse.com/79/Rethinking-communities-to-support-aging Mon, 12 Aug 2013 00:00 GMT He made his home age-friendly It goes without saying that most people want to age in their own homes, and when that home has beach access and fantastic views, the desire to stay put as long as possible can be irresistible.Harry Heath has lived in such a house since 1959 -- a house hanging over the water in Tiburon, CA, overlooking San Francisco Bay, with breathtaking views of the city of San Francisco across the water. The house was a beach cabin built in 1941, and it was owned by a family who lived in Florida when Harry first came across it. Seen at right… http://afriendlyhouse.com/78/He-made-his-home-age-friendly http://afriendlyhouse.com/78/He-made-his-home-age-friendly Tue, 06 Aug 2013 00:00 GMT Can Safety be Sexy? We wanted to know. Wednesday June 5, we hosted a Twitter chat for June Home Safety month titled, Can Safety be Sexy? We wanted to find out designers' strategies to turn the conversation around about safety and design in the kitchen and bath.  Click here for a transcript. Designing with safety in mind is ageless.  Follow these tips to promote greater safety in each area of your home.  Have anything to add? Be a part of the conversations and tweet us your suggestion @AFriendlyHouse.   Safety checklist: Basics for a friendly house How do you determine if a house has the foundation to support… http://afriendlyhouse.com/58/Can-Safety-be-Sexy--We-wanted-to-know- http://afriendlyhouse.com/58/Can-Safety-be-Sexy--We-wanted-to-know- Tue, 04 Jun 2013 00:00 GMT How to make your kitchen fit your needs If location, location, location is the mantra in real estate sales, the magic words for planning a kitchen that supports your personal needs and work style, should be measure, measure, measure. Sure, location -- of appliances, countertops and work spaces -- is important in kitchens, but if those appliances are out of reach, your countertops too high or your work spaces not big enough to move about in safely, they might as well be located on the moon. If you use a wheelchair or have other physical challenges, location of kitchen features can mean the difference between cooking, and not. And finding the… http://afriendlyhouse.com/66/How-to-make-your-kitchen-fit-your-needs http://afriendlyhouse.com/66/How-to-make-your-kitchen-fit-your-needs Mon, 03 Jun 2013 00:00 GMT Safety checklist: Kitchen "Today's kitchens easily supplant the bathroom as the home's most dangerous room," writes Jane Brody, the New York Times Personal Health columnist. No one wants to get rid of the kitchen, but Brody's "Tested Recipes for Kitchen Safety" provides important advice for immediately decreasing the chances of a visit to the emergency room. For the longer term, here's a checklist of kitchen safety measures: Are workspaces at heights appropriate to users, including a seated user?  Can the kitchen be modified to accommodate a cook sitting down or with other physical challenges?    Although an induction range may be today's safest cooktop,… http://afriendlyhouse.com/67/Safety-checklist--Kitchen http://afriendlyhouse.com/67/Safety-checklist--Kitchen Sun, 02 Jun 2013 00:00 GMT Safety checklist: Living areas Are pathways clear and furniture positioned to aid in moving about the room? Are wires and cords out of harm's way? Are chairs and sofas proportioned for the users and easy to get into and out of? Are lights, radio, TV, phone controls within reach of easy chair? Are window coverings easy to manipulate? Is there balanced lighting throughout, with a good light within reach of easy chair? Is the carpet or rug securely fastened to the floor? Is the fireplace safe and easy to use? For more complete home safety check lists, click on the following links: "Safe at… http://afriendlyhouse.com/68/Safety-checklist--Living-areas http://afriendlyhouse.com/68/Safety-checklist--Living-areas Sun, 02 Jun 2013 00:00 GMT Safety checklist: Exterior Is there at least one no-step entrance to the house? Are pathways, sidewalks, driveway access, steps and porch surfaces even and non-slip? Are there secure handrails on both sides of stairs and sloping pathways? Is there a door handle that doesn't require finger or thumb strength to operate? Is lighting adequate to make your way at night and to see to put your key in the lock? Is there a bench near the door on which to rest yourself and packages; one inside too? Is there a peephole in the door or sidelight (at the appropriate height for all residents… http://afriendlyhouse.com/71/Safety-checklist--Exterior http://afriendlyhouse.com/71/Safety-checklist--Exterior Sun, 02 Jun 2013 00:00 GMT Safety checklist: Laundry Is the laundry on the main living level? Are washer and dryer front-loading? Is dryer properly vented with easy-to-clean lint trap? Are detergents and cleaning agents in easy-to-handle containers within easy reach? Is there a countertop for folding clothes? Is there an ironing board that can be used sitting or standing, and space to do either? Is the area brightly lit? Is there a sturdy step stool with handrail? For more complete home safety check lists, click on the following links: "Safe at Home Checklist" from Rebuilding Together, along with the Administration on Aging and the American Occupational Therapy Association… http://afriendlyhouse.com/70/Safety-checklist--Laundry http://afriendlyhouse.com/70/Safety-checklist--Laundry Sun, 02 Jun 2013 00:00 GMT Safety checklist: Doors, stairs, hallways Are there secure handrails on both sides of the stairway? Is there good lighting in all transition areas, especially stairways; night lights in hallways and stairways; light switches at top and bottom of stairs? Is there good visual demarcation between stair treads? Are steps deep enough to fit entire foot and not so steep that one must strain to climb them? Are changes in floor levels clearly marked and do they have handrails? Are carpets and rugs low-pile and securely fastened to the floor? Are hard surface floor coverings even and secured and not highly polished? Are doorways wide enough for… http://afriendlyhouse.com/72/Safety-checklist--Doors--stairs--hallways http://afriendlyhouse.com/72/Safety-checklist--Doors--stairs--hallways Sun, 02 Jun 2013 00:00 GMT Safety checklist: Storage, garage and basement Can you get out of the car and into the house easily? Is garage floor clear of clutter? Is there a disaster supply kit, with medications, in an accessible location, such as a hall closet? Is there proper storage for medicines, inaccessible to visiting grandchildren and away from steamy bathroom? Is there adequate storage for seldom-used items? Are there proper file holders for instruction booklets, legal papers, etc.? Are trash and recycling cans on wheels and easy to fill and move to curbside? Are basement stairs in good repair with secure handrails? Are garage and basement areas brightly lit with switches at… http://afriendlyhouse.com/73/Safety-checklist--Storage--garage-and-basement http://afriendlyhouse.com/73/Safety-checklist--Storage--garage-and-basement Sun, 02 Jun 2013 00:00 GMT Safety checklist: Communications and safety systems Not everyone has joined the digital age, but being safe at home means having reliable ways to call for help and communicate with family, neighbors and, if necessary, emergency personnel. Are house numbers visible from the street? Is the doorbell in good working order, and is there a window from which residents can see visitors approaching? Are there easy-to-use phones and other programmable call devices? Are smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in good working order and appropriate to the resident's visual and hearing abilities? Is there a security system? Are smart systems intuitive to use, with large display faces, buttons, etc.,… http://afriendlyhouse.com/74/Safety-checklist--Communications-and-safety-systems http://afriendlyhouse.com/74/Safety-checklist--Communications-and-safety-systems Sun, 02 Jun 2013 00:00 GMT Safety checklist: Electrical and water systems Are there sufficient electrical outlets, with GFI (ground fault interruptor) outlets in bathrooms and kitchen? Are there light switches at the entrance to each room? Are electrical panel, gas and water shutoff valves in a well-lit, easy-to-reach space? Is there a programmable thermostat with easy-to-read settings, installed at appropriate height for seated or standing user? Do any space heaters work properly and have guards to shut them off if they're tipped over? Is water heater set at no higher than 120 degrees? For more complete home safety check lists, click on the following links: "Safe at Home Checklist" from Rebuilding… http://afriendlyhouse.com/75/Safety-checklist--Electrical-and-water-systems http://afriendlyhouse.com/75/Safety-checklist--Electrical-and-water-systems Sun, 02 Jun 2013 00:00 GMT 10 things to know about Universal Design Architect Deborah Pierce, author of "The Accessible Home: Designing for All Ages & Abilities" (Taunton, 2012), addressed attendees at the Universal Design Summit 5 in St. Louis in May, and shared the 10 lessons she learned while compiling the book: Lesson 1. "Accessibility is a window into Universal Design. We are specific, and designs need to be specific for each person. What is a study for a man who is blind? What is a bedroom like for a person who has trouble breathing and needs oxygen? What is a bathroom like for a woman who has had polio? ... Homes are laboratories… http://afriendlyhouse.com/76/10-things-to-know-about-Universal-Design http://afriendlyhouse.com/76/10-things-to-know-about-Universal-Design Sat, 01 Jun 2013 00:00 GMT Book Review: The Accessible Home  Brian McMillan built this fully accessible -- and beautiful -- home after being paralyzed in a motorcycle accident. His house is profiled in "The Accessible Home."   Seen one, seen 'em all. That's the way I usually feel about books purporting to show people how to make our homes more accessible. But architect Deborah Pierce's "The Accessible Home: Designing for All Ages & Abilities" (Taunton, 2012) is not one of them. Pierce not only profiles 25 homes whose architects and owners have solved their accessibility issues, but she provides lots of sidebars and informative tips that should be helpful for… http://afriendlyhouse.com/63/Book-Review--The-Accessible-Home http://afriendlyhouse.com/63/Book-Review--The-Accessible-Home Fri, 31 May 2013 00:00 GMT Safety checklist: Basics for a friendly house   Safety checklist: Basics for a friendly house 1.    Is there a bedroom and bath on the main level? 2.     Can you bathe safely? 3.     Can a person with limited mobility prepare food easily? 4.     Is the home well-lit throughout? 5.     Can you move about safely? 6.    Is there at least one no-step entry into the main level? For more complete home safety check lists, click on the following links: "Safe at Home Checklist" from Rebuilding Together, along with the Administration on Aging and the American Occupational Therapy Association"Preventing Falls at Home" brochure with an easy-to-follow checklist from the Administration… http://afriendlyhouse.com/69/Safety-checklist--Basics-for-a-friendly-house http://afriendlyhouse.com/69/Safety-checklist--Basics-for-a-friendly-house Fri, 31 May 2013 00:00 GMT Designed for All: Universal Design Living Laboratory, the National Demonstration Home & Garden My husband, Mark Leder, and I didn't start out with intentions of building a national demonstration home and garden in Columbus, Ohio.  The project evolved out of our frustration and housing needs due to a life-changing event.  Our intention is to stay in this home for the rest of our lives.On June 13, 1998, our third wedding anniversary weekend, Mark and I went for a bicycle ride on a rural wooded bike trail in Granville, OH. After riding for a few minutes, Mark thought he heard a gunshot and slowed down to investigate.  As he scanned the scene he saw… http://afriendlyhouse.com/59/Designed-for-All--Universal-Design-Living-Laboratory--the-National-Demonstration-Home---Garden http://afriendlyhouse.com/59/Designed-for-All--Universal-Design-Living-Laboratory--the-National-Demonstration-Home---Garden Mon, 06 May 2013 00:00 GMT U.S. Access Board chair Karen Braitmayer makes her own mid-century house accessible     Architect Karen Braitmayer in the kitchen of her Seattle home.  Karen Braitmayer is an architect on a mission. A wife, mother, sailor and this year's chair of the U.S. Access Board, Braitmayer is also the owner and principal at Karen Braitmayer, FAIA, Ltd. (formerly Studio Pacifica Ltd.) and a fellow of the American Institute of Architects. And, with a specialty in accessibility consulting, she has designs on how to make life easier for people with physical challenges. Braitmayer is also a wheelchair user. She was born with Osteogenesis imperfecta (a condition she shares with YouTube sensation "Kid President" Robby Novak)… http://afriendlyhouse.com/54/U-S--Access-Board-chair-Karen-Braitmayer-makes-her-own-mid-century-house-accessible http://afriendlyhouse.com/54/U-S--Access-Board-chair-Karen-Braitmayer-makes-her-own-mid-century-house-accessible Sun, 05 May 2013 00:00 GMT Aging in Place Most adults when asked will say that they would like to stay in their homes as they age. Aging in Place addresses this desire by promoting ways to remain at home safely, through such things as supportive design, assistive technology and community services. If you are looking for ways to age safely at home, check out these stories:   Improving on good design for Aging in Place Do designers have a responsibility to educated their clients on safe design? The good news is, spaces designed for safe Aging in Place don't have to look as though they've been medically modified. … http://afriendlyhouse.com/60/Aging-in-Place http://afriendlyhouse.com/60/Aging-in-Place Sun, 05 May 2013 00:00 GMT Universal Design "Universal Design" refers to making design choices that enable the use by virtually anyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.  As developed by the Center for Universal Design, there are seven guiding principles.  For a visual display of the seven principles, check out this Pinterest board.     Planning a kitchen for all? Houzz Contributor Anne-Marie Brunet examines Optimal Space Planning for Universal Design in the Kitchen.  See which layout works best to open your kitchen to all cooks like in this Champaign, Ill. home, right, where both seated and non-seated users find ease of use.   Who says cabinets… http://afriendlyhouse.com/61/Universal-Design- http://afriendlyhouse.com/61/Universal-Design- Sun, 05 May 2013 00:00 GMT Selected Products Used at the Universal Design Living Laboratory Adhesives – Henkel  www.henkelna.com/index.htmArt Glass Doors – ODL www.odl.comCabinetry – KraftMaid www.kraftmaid.com The cabinetry in the UDLL was contributed by KraftMaid. We selected their Passport series because of the 9-inch by 6-inch toekick. All cabinets were standard sizes, and it was easy to have the kitchen cabinets made so there were multiple heights of countertops. Features include:  full-extension drawers in the wall cabinets and center island; large undercounter drawers for dishes, pots and pans;  pull-out spice racks;  pull-out pantry cabinet;  floor-to-ceiling narrow pantry shelves;  pull-out closet organizer for cleaning supplies/products; rolling cart for food preparation and serving.Cellulose Insulation – Nu-Wool… http://afriendlyhouse.com/64/Selected-Products-Used-at-the-Universal-Design-Living-Laboratory http://afriendlyhouse.com/64/Selected-Products-Used-at-the-Universal-Design-Living-Laboratory Sun, 05 May 2013 00:00 GMT American Home: New but not 'friendly'  The New American Home in Henderson, NV. (Photo courtesy Timberlake Cabinetry) The New American Home, built in Henderson, NV, and put on display for the 2013 International Builders Show, is sleekly modern -- and no place for anyone who has either balance or mobility issues, who has a vision problem, young children, elderly parents or friends who use a wheelchair or cane, or anyone who wears high heeled shoes or indulges in more than one cocktail of an evening. In other words, for all its NAHB Green-Emerald and LEED for Homes Platinum ratings, The New American Home -- designed and… http://afriendlyhouse.com/41/American-Home--New-but-not--friendly- http://afriendlyhouse.com/41/American-Home--New-but-not--friendly- Sun, 24 Mar 2013 00:00 GMT Drawers easier to use Kitchen cabinets have come a long way since grandma's silverware drawer threatened to land on the floor, spilling its contents, if a helpful grandchild pulled too hard when setting the table. First, cabinet hardware gained stops that prevent drawers from being pulled out too far, but the old wooden cabinet drawers with their wooden glides can only be opened about three-quarters of the way. Metal glides let drawers move easily, and the drawer cannot be accidentally pulled out of the cabinet. Full-extension glides, once available only through special order and more expensive than standard glides, are now becoming common even… http://afriendlyhouse.com/29/Drawers-easier-to-use http://afriendlyhouse.com/29/Drawers-easier-to-use Tue, 22 Jan 2013 00:00 GMT Abilities Expo puts people on the move We checked out the Abilities Expo at the McHenry Convention Center in San Jose over the weekend of Nov. 16-18. And, along with hundreds of other expo-goers, many in wheelchairs, we discovered a trove of machines, appliances, vehicles and gadgets created to make life a little easier for people living with disabilities. Along with a number of important updates to wheelchairs and walkers, we spotted exercise machines that can help retrain muscles and watched while a group of boys played Power Soccer (seen at top). Power Soccer, played by four-member teams using a 13-inch ball, is "the first competitive team… http://afriendlyhouse.com/50/Abilities-Expo-puts-people-on-the-move http://afriendlyhouse.com/50/Abilities-Expo-puts-people-on-the-move Mon, 19 Nov 2012 00:00 GMT Easy living on the farm "How do you keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree?" could have been rephrased as "How do you keep 'em down on the farm when the farmhouse isn't a good place for aging?" The farmhouse I share on weekends with John, my husband of 50 years, our 12-year-old border collie Percy, and cats Poupon and Piro -- not to mention the occasional chicken that wanders in to finish off Percy's kibble -- is a single-story ranch-style house (below), but even having the mandatory bedroom and bath on the main level didn't make it age-friendly. Farmhouse floorplan before:… http://afriendlyhouse.com/33/Easy-living-on-the-farm http://afriendlyhouse.com/33/Easy-living-on-the-farm Sun, 28 Oct 2012 00:00 GMT Product review: MotionSense faucet We're always looking for fixtures that are easy to use by people of all ages and abilities. And in Moen's MotionSense faucet, which we first saw at the Pacific Coast Builder Show in June, we think we may have found a kitchen faucet that turns on and off -- without any dexterity or hand strength needed. Kids are also going to love it -- and when you set the temperature, you don't have to worry a little one will scald himself. Let's talk accessibility Unlike other electronic faucets that must be touched to turn water on or off, MotionSense (due… http://afriendlyhouse.com/51/Product-review--MotionSense-faucet http://afriendlyhouse.com/51/Product-review--MotionSense-faucet Wed, 01 Aug 2012 00:00 GMT When a longtime home no longer works In 1986, internationally acclaimed textile designer Barbara Beckmann (above) and her husband Jon bought a mid-century modern home that rambled up a wooded hillside above California's Sonoma Valley. It is a spectacular 3,000-square-foot house on four acres, organic and in keeping with its setting, with equally spectacular views that include not only the tree-studded immediate surroundings but long views from the iconic redwood hot tub outside the front door (below) across the valley to Mt. Tamalpais. Though they still own a condo in San Francisco, the couple moved permanently into the house above the historic town of Sonoma in 1994,… http://afriendlyhouse.com/32/When-a-longtime-home-no-longer-works http://afriendlyhouse.com/32/When-a-longtime-home-no-longer-works Sun, 20 May 2012 00:00 GMT Safety checklist: Bathroom Are faucets easy to use with one hand and little finger strength?  Are shower and sink valves pressure-balanced or thermostatically controlled?  Is the toilet at a proper height and securely fastened to the floor? Is there a grab bar at entry to tub or shower, within shower enclosure, and at toilet? Are towels and shower accessories easy to reach? Can door be unlocked from outside? Are floors, including tub and shower floor, non-slip? Is shower easy to enter and exit, with a place to sit while bathing? Is there an adjustable shower rod with hand-held shower head? Can one sit… http://afriendlyhouse.com/17/Safety-checklist--Bathroom http://afriendlyhouse.com/17/Safety-checklist--Bathroom Thu, 15 Mar 2012 00:00 GMT Safety checklist: Bedroom Forget the monsters under your childhood bed, your bedroom should be the most comfortable, safest room in the house. But is it? Does your bedroom pass the test, or are there things more sinister than monsters to possibly trip you up? 1.  Think Goldilocks: Is your bed too tall or too low? A bed that is too low is hard to get into and out of; college students have long used leg extenders to raise dorm beds to make space for under-bed storage, but extenders available at The Container Store and other department stores can raise your bed to "comfort"… http://afriendlyhouse.com/19/Safety-checklist--Bedroom http://afriendlyhouse.com/19/Safety-checklist--Bedroom Thu, 15 Mar 2012 00:00 GMT Safety checklist: Closet Are closet rods adjustable, or easy to reach? Is there a rack or shelves on which to store shoes, so you're not falling over them on the floor as you reach into the closet for your clothes? Is there a handrail or sturdy closet door handle you can grasp to steady yourself as you reach into the closet? Is there a light in the closet? Are you old enough to remember Fibber McGee and Molly and their notorious hall closet? If you have such a closet, perhaps it's time to get rid of all the unused sports equipment and outdated… http://afriendlyhouse.com/20/Safety-checklist--Closet http://afriendlyhouse.com/20/Safety-checklist--Closet Thu, 15 Mar 2012 00:00 GMT Safety checklist: Dining room   No matter the furniture style, a pleasant dining experience takes place at diner-friendly furniture, such as the slab table and leather dining chairs we saw in the New American Home in Winter Park, Florida, that was built for the NAHB's 2012 International Builders Show. Will your dining table accommodate a wheelchair?A wheelchair user would fit right in with other guests at the New American Home dining table. Would she feel at home at yours?The table top must be higher than the arms on the wheelchair, and it must also clear the chair's controls. Tables with aprons won't work. (If… http://afriendlyhouse.com/21/Safety-checklist--Dining-room http://afriendlyhouse.com/21/Safety-checklist--Dining-room Thu, 15 Mar 2012 00:00 GMT Designing a university for all I'll be watching my nephew Nick (far right above) at the National Collegiate Wheelchair Basketball Tournament in Urbana Champaign this weekend. Nick started college in 2010, after the great divide in priorities had been settled between what his dad, Eric, and Nick had for his education: Nick, a naturally athletic kid with cerebral palsy that mainly affects his legs, had discovered wheelchair basketball at age 13 and was looking for a place to play competitively. For Dad, the priority was to find the best education for the price, as Nick is the first of four siblings, all likely college candidates,… http://afriendlyhouse.com/56/Designing-a-university-for-all http://afriendlyhouse.com/56/Designing-a-university-for-all Wed, 07 Mar 2012 00:00 GMT Product review: Easy chairs Design Days at San Francisco Design Center, the annual event that brings out the best in high-end home furnishings, caught us sitting down. We sat in chairs, and got up, then sat again, looking for chairs that are easy to use as well as beautiful. One such was the Chelsea Club Chair (above) from PierceMartin by Palacek. At this winter's show, we found a lot of easy chairs that are just that -- easy to get in and out of, comfortable, a good fit for our behinds -- and beautiful to boot. People who are exhausted by climbing into and… http://afriendlyhouse.com/52/Product-review--Easy-chairs http://afriendlyhouse.com/52/Product-review--Easy-chairs Wed, 15 Feb 2012 00:00 GMT House review: New American Home   The New American Home has a lot to like, but even as America ages and the built environment is being scrutinized for how well our homes and neighborhoods accommodate people of all ages and abilities, the 2012 New American Home isn't a universally designed house. Winter Park, Florida, architect and builder Phil Kean (right) envisioned the house, which was showcased at the 2012 International Builders Show, as "white box meets modernism" (think Le Corbusier in Florida). As I said, there's a lot to like in the house -- and outdoors, where on three sides, the house wraps around a… http://afriendlyhouse.com/25/House-review--New-American-Home http://afriendlyhouse.com/25/House-review--New-American-Home Mon, 30 Jul 2012 00:00 GMT A course in good design After government funding for veterans golf courses ends in 1995, the American Lake Veterans Golf Course, like many others across the nation, falls into disrepair. Once a respite for patients of the neighboring VA hospital now serving Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, and in a time of growing need as a perpetual wave of wounded warriors returns from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, one group of volunteers takes on the efforts to restore it to make a place for rehabilitation.  Some of these same volunteers, no longer able to walk the course, serve as inspiration to create a place for… http://afriendlyhouse.com/55/A-course-in-good-design http://afriendlyhouse.com/55/A-course-in-good-design Fri, 11 Nov 2011 00:00 GMT Product overview: User-friendly designs Many vendors and manufacturers are getting on the bandwagon with Universal Design products. They are realizing the benefit of designing a product that is useful and adaptable to a wide range of ages and styles of living. Several of these products have been showcased recently at trade shows, such as the Pacific Coast Bulders Conference held each summer in San Francisco. Toto toilets have become popular in the residential market.  They include an assortment of styles, sizes and gadgets that seem to tickle one's fancy. The Universal Design elements that make Toto appropriate in anyone's bathroom is the fact that… http://afriendlyhouse.com/35/Product-overview--User-friendly-designs http://afriendlyhouse.com/35/Product-overview--User-friendly-designs Fri, 09 Sep 2011 00:00 GMT Universal design for bathrooms What do people mean when they refer to Universal Design in a bathroom?         The high-styled bathroom at right is a showcase of universal design: featuring a curbless shower, dual grab bars, dual shower heads and controls, as well as a built-in bench with its own shower control.             Who needs a universal design for their bathroom, and why? "Universal design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all peoples ... without need for adaptation," according to Ron Mace, one of the movement's foremost leaders. In other words, it is… http://afriendlyhouse.com/18/Universal-design-for-bathrooms http://afriendlyhouse.com/18/Universal-design-for-bathrooms Thu, 09 Jun 2011 00:00 GMT Book review: The Longevity Project Everyone wants to live a long life, but nobody knows for sure how to go about making that happen. Mostly, researchers have asked centenarians their secrets to longevity, and the answers have varied from "never smoked" to "drank a glass of beer every day." But, as any scientist will tell you, anecdotal evidence is just that -- anecdotal -- and that daily glass of beer may have had no influence on the magic 100th birthday. Now comes "The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study" by Howard S. Friedman, Ph.D. and Leslie R.… http://afriendlyhouse.com/36/Book-review--The-Longevity-Project http://afriendlyhouse.com/36/Book-review--The-Longevity-Project Wed, 08 Jun 2011 00:00 GMT Finding answers to special needs Not all needs are the same. Thus, while universal design is meant to create environments that work well for people of all ages and abilities, some people will have specific home modification requirements. A 6-foot 7-inch NBA player, for example, will need higher work surfaces than the average 36 inches, and his 5-foot 1-inch grandmother will require countertops that are lower than the average. You may have low vision or difficulty walking, and your spouse may be losing his hearing while still climbing mountains. So, just as not all people are alike, needs can vary -- and will surely vary… http://afriendlyhouse.com/24/Finding-answers-to-special-needs http://afriendlyhouse.com/24/Finding-answers-to-special-needs Thu, 02 Jun 2011 00:00 GMT Book review: The Roadmap to 100 Dr. Walter Bortz doesn't countenance excuses. "Get a pedometer," he told me during a chat at last fall's AARP conference in Orlando, Florida. The former co-chairman of the American Medical Association's Task Force on Aging, former president of The American Geriatric Society and Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Stanford University wasn't about to waste his time hearing excuses about my having little to time to exercise. And this preeminent expert on healthy aging, who ran his 40th marathon at age 80, was equally adamant on Tuesday as he addressed a Commonwealth Club audience in San Francisco on the topic:… http://afriendlyhouse.com/34/Book-review--The-Roadmap-to-100 http://afriendlyhouse.com/34/Book-review--The-Roadmap-to-100 Wed, 01 Jun 2011 00:00 GMT Architect is visionary for the blind As a child, Chris Downey lived with his family in a home designed by an architect who ensured the house focused on a relationship with the landscape.  Downey's senses were attuned to his surroundings: The sounds of birds outside, the feeling of the wind were issues he brought with him when he began his career as an architect. Now he is even more attuned to the aesthetics of his surroundings. In 2008, surgery to remove a benign brain tumor left him blind, and, more than ever, reliant on his other senses. "I've always enjoyed outdoor spaces," says Downey, 48, seen… http://afriendlyhouse.com/31/Architect-is-visionary-for-the-blind http://afriendlyhouse.com/31/Architect-is-visionary-for-the-blind Mon, 16 May 2011 00:00 GMT The house next door: A home for the ages Like most people, my parents wanted to stay in their own home as they aged. Trouble was, the home they'd lived in for 22 years no longer met their needs. So, as they reached their 80s, Dad decided it was time to move. Next door. He hired Seattle architect Ray Ernst (rayeernst@msn.com; 206.715.3475) to design a house that would support rather than handicap them as they grew older. I worked with Ernst on the interiors, researching, designing and shopping for furnishings and fixtures that were fully functional as well as aesthetically appealing. The result: The house is both beautiful and… http://afriendlyhouse.com/30/The-house-next-door--A-home-for-the-ages http://afriendlyhouse.com/30/The-house-next-door--A-home-for-the-ages Fri, 29 Apr 2011 00:00 GMT Where to find past stories   Here are the stories AFriendlyHouse.com has linked to from its home page:  Will gray be the new green? "Baby boomers are going to be very different seniors" Intel executive Eric Dishman tells the New York Times (Feb. 5, 2011). And companies are beginning to view seniors as a huge market: http://tinyurl.com/4uz8svh Living a long, engaged life Happiness is not so important to longevity as having a sense of purpose, according to the Wall Street Journal (March 15, 2011). And too great a pursuit of happiness can even lead to its opposite: http://tinyurl.com/5w6tycn   http://afriendlyhouse.com/23/Where-to-find-past-stories http://afriendlyhouse.com/23/Where-to-find-past-stories Wed, 16 Mar 2011 00:00 GMT Barrier-free entry: Easy come, easy go For those with limited mobility, moving about the house is made easier when transitions are seamless. A single step can make it impossible for a person in a wheelchair to enter a house, or a room. Even a person using a walker, or who is simply unsteady on her feet, will move more easily and feel safer with floors and walkways that flow smoothly one into another. It is important to provide at least one entry door without steps, and when building a house, it is often possible to provide a barrier-free entry without resorting to a special ramp, as… http://afriendlyhouse.com/26/Barrier-free-entry--Easy-come--easy-go http://afriendlyhouse.com/26/Barrier-free-entry--Easy-come--easy-go Mon, 24 Jan 2011 00:00 GMT Getting there is half the fun The basement recreation room with its full kitchen and adjacent patio was my mother's preferred place for entertaining her large family, whose members included a wheelchair-using sister-in-law and a great-grandson who walks with difficulty, so in my parents' new home, access for all was paramount. The stairway in their former house was one long run, with a single bannister. The new house's stairway doubles back on itself with a large landing midway -- in case a climber needs to stop and catch his breath halfway. Smooth round wooden railings run along both sides of the stairway, with the center bannister… http://afriendlyhouse.com/27/Getting-there-is-half-the-fun http://afriendlyhouse.com/27/Getting-there-is-half-the-fun Mon, 24 Jan 2011 00:00 GMT Get a grip on handles, instead of knobs Knobs are so last year! Ask anyone whose worsening arthritis has made onetime simple tasks painful. Mom's osteoarthritis made her fingers stiff and painful, and the tiny knobs on the cabinets in her old house didn't help matters. So in her new house, we installed Sugatsune H-bar steel handles (seen in the kitchen above, and at right) that extend far enough from the cabinet face so that Mom could slip her entire hand through, if necessary, to pull open a door or drawer. The H-bar type handles come in a variety of lengths and we were able to order handles… http://afriendlyhouse.com/22/Get-a-grip-on-handles--instead-of-knobs http://afriendlyhouse.com/22/Get-a-grip-on-handles--instead-of-knobs Sat, 22 Jan 2011 00:00 GMT Grab bars: Safety needn't be costly Every bathtub and shower should have a grab bar. That's not rocket science. It's not turning one's home into a hospital. It just makes sense: Because people of every age and ability can slip on a wet surface, having a bar or handle to grab can make the difference between toweling off after a pleasant shower and figuring out how go without a shower until the cast comes off a broken wrist. Grab bars can be as simple as a handhold in a bathtub, as shown at right, which allows a bather to lower herself into the tub and lift herself out without slipping,… http://afriendlyhouse.com/16/Grab-bars--Safety-needn-t-be-costly http://afriendlyhouse.com/16/Grab-bars--Safety-needn-t-be-costly Wed, 12 Jan 2011 00:00 GMT Getting cabinets up off the floor We're not sure who decided that base cabinets should begin four inches above the floor, but this isn't set in stone. Oh, sure, one needs enough room to stick a toe under the cabinet edge -- a fact made abundantly clear whenever we're forced to stand at a cabinet without a recessed toe-kick.  Nevertheless, we go to the gym to stretch, not the kitchen. And deep-knee bends aren't for everyone. But anyone who hates bending down to unload the lower shelf of the average dishwasher can appreciate not only raising that appliance (as shown here) but keeping the rest of the… http://afriendlyhouse.com/15/Getting-cabinets-up-off-the-floor http://afriendlyhouse.com/15/Getting-cabinets-up-off-the-floor Tue, 11 Jan 2011 00:00 GMT Space planning: Staying balanced Walking is difficult enough for people whose legs don't quite work right, but for many people it's a loss of balance rather than weakness that causes falls. People with Parkinson's Disease, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors or cerebral palsy, which can cause the brain to give the limbs weak, or incorrect, signals, know this all too well, as do sufferers of diseases of the inner ear that lead to vertigo and loss of balance. Houses can't cure these diseases but placement of counters, furniture and railings can make a big difference in a person's ability to navigate without mishap. The counters shown here are placed… http://afriendlyhouse.com/14/Space-planning--Staying-balanced http://afriendlyhouse.com/14/Space-planning--Staying-balanced Mon, 10 Jan 2011 00:00 GMT Barrier-free floors: Getting even Anyone who's tripped over a scatter rug knows they're not called "scatter" or "throw" rugs for nothing. One of the first rules of home safety for the elderly -- and an order from the occupational therapists who critique patients' homes following orthopedic surgery -- is to toss any throw rugs. Barring that, fasten them securely to the floor -- with tape that will prevent corners from coming loose and tripping you up. But few of us want bare floors, especially in winter time. And for those who love their hardwood or stone floors, wall-to-wall carpeting everywhere is not the answer. One… http://afriendlyhouse.com/13/Barrier-free-floors--Getting-even http://afriendlyhouse.com/13/Barrier-free-floors--Getting-even Sat, 08 Jan 2011 00:00 GMT