Top Remodelers Raise the Bar of Aging-in-Place and Universal Design


As home prices and interest rates rise, many home owners are opting to stay put for the time being and modify their current homes. And especially for older consumers, aging-in-place and universal design projects continue to become more popular — and more impressive.

To recognize exceptional remodeling projects that encompass aging-in-place and universal design, NAHB Remodelers recently announced the winners of its annual Homes for Life awards, sponsored by Pro Remodeler. The awards acknowledged winners in the following four categories:

  • Whole House/Multi-Room Remodel
  • Multi-Generational Remodel
  • Best Bath Remodel
  • Best Overall CAPS

Whole House/Multi-Room Remodel winner: David Millsaps of DLM Builders, Inc. in Greensboro, N.C.

A couple in their 60s sought to build an addition for a first-floor bedroom of their 1940s brick bungalow. The bedroom would accommodate a 90-year-old visiting parent, as well as allow the couple to eventually age into that bedroom themselves.

The completed project boasts an adjoining full bathroom, an abundance of natural light and many aging-in-place features that intermingled with the home’s original design.

“This couple wanted to stay in their neighborhood for as long as they could, and not have to contend with stairs as they aged,” Millsaps said. “They sought an aging-in-place design that didn’t look like a handicapped space. It was important for the addition to blend in architecturally [with the original house].”

Multi-Generational Remodel winner: Sandra Oltmanns of Beautifully Accessible, Inc. in Naples, Fla.

A traditional 1980s home underwent an extensive three-phase remodel to better suit the needs of the home owner, who has significantly limited mobility and compromised fine-motor skills. Using universal design principles, the project prioritized safety, security, and ease of use features. The new design also enhanced the home’s views of the nearby lake, and optimized functional space for social activities and entertaining.

“The client requested the creation of a space that is pleasant, friendly and inviting for everyone,” Oltmanns said. “The project presented the perfect opportunity to expand the use and comfort of the space for multiple generations to entertain, socialize, and make lasting memories.”

Best Bath Remodel and Best Overall CAPS winner: Steve Weaver of Ease Eagle Accessibility Solutions Equipment in Auburn, Calif.

A family with a child with cerebral palsy sought a master bathroom remodel to create not only a luxury oasis for the parents, but also a safe and functional space for their child.

“When looking at the finished bathroom, nothing about it screams ‘disability,’” Weaver said. “A lot of consideration was put into the overall design and the selection of specific materials. So rather than looking like a hospital, it shows a great deal of love and care for making a house look like a home.”

CAPS designees have been taught the strategies and techniques for designing and building aesthetically pleasing, barrier-free living environments to help home owners live in their homes more safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age or ability level.

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