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AFriendlyHouse.com

where style meets safety

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Your Questions Answered

Thank you for your interest in A Friendly House. Due to the high volume of inquiries we receive, we are not able to answer every single question but we certainly do our best to address issues of interest to our Friendly House community. Please use the form to ask your question and when possible, we will update this page with an answer.

How do I contact Ray Ernst, the architect who designed the home featured in the Home for the ages story?

Seattle architect Ray Ernst can be contacted at (206) 715-3475 or rayeernst@msn.com.

Where can I find the stories you've linked to in the past?

Look under "Where to find past stories" in the Details category of our Smart Spaces section. As we update the news boxes on our Home Page, we will move links to the stories that had appeared there to the Details sidebar, so they will continue to be available to our readers.

What do you mean by "Universal Design"?

"Universal Design" refers to making design choices that enable 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 walk through of the seven principles, check out this Pinterest board. You can also find Universal Design projects that will help you understand the practical use in everyday design.  Universal Design is also a commonly used design strategy for house plans for seniors or as a way to safely age in place.

What is a design hacker?

A design hacker is someone who takes an existing product and makes it more suitable for their own needs.  There are both simple adaptations, generally done by someone who is just looking for a way to make something more usable and ones that are far more elaborate.  Hacking, long associated with computer mischief, has appeared in a popular Wall Street Journal story as well as a feature on the PBS News Hour titled Seven life hacks to keep you out of the nursing home.  Product hacking is a popular research subject at design think tanks like IDEO, based in San Francisco, that bases its designs on a human-centered approach to innovation. 

Do linear trench drains have overflow safety features in case of a clog?

Lee Nicholson of Filmore Clark artisan tile studio posed this question to us as we hosted #KBTribeChat August 28 on wet rooms.  Quick Drain USA responded with a detailed description of their product and why its features prevent overflow, including a drain cover that can be removed with an Allen wrench.

Who can help me with house plans for seniors?

Find the basics needed to design an age-ready home along together a directory link to find a Certified Aging in Place Specialist through the National Association of Home Builders here.

What does a house designed for seniors look like?

A house designed for seniors should really look like what we would all want for ourselves.  Floor plans are open so that getting around is seamless and easy. Features like door knobs are replaced by handles; pull-outs are used when possible for easier access to food, appliances and storage.  There's an easily accessed no-step entry to remove a tripping hazzard at the doorway, also creating a home visitable by someone in a wheelchair or pushing a stroller or roller suitcase through.  Take a virtual tour through a house planned for senior citizens that gives no indication of being anything less than a beautifully designed home.