BARRIER FREE DISABLED AND HANDICAPPED VETERAN’S HOMES
This specialty home type includes new construction, remodels and additions that vary in size and style, but all have certain features not found in conventional homes. I am constantly reminded that the freedom we enjoy in this country has come at a great cost, and for some of our veterans, it has cost an arm and a leg, literally. With this in mind, I try to give back to my community and country for the great privileges I have experienced, by supporting these brave heroes whenever possible. See Homes For Veterans. These ADA compliant homes (Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design) are designed and built to suit the special needs of disabled and handicapped veterans and civilians on a case-by-case basis and often have all, or many of, the following universal design features:
- A clear unobstructed path from the house to the garage
- Wide open spaces
- A taller garage door to accommodate a tall van with a chairlift
- Single level designs often with slab-on-grade floors
- Covered porches and wide sidewalks
- Multilevel designs with chairlift and elevator
- Wide doors and thresholds; double entry doors where possible
- Ramps and grab bars as needed for safety and convenience
- Lower window heights
- Recessed sliding door tracks
- Sliding doors in closets, cabinets, and storage areas
- Built-in storage at lower levels; lowered closet poles
- Appliance and light switch heights adapted to the reach from a wheelchair
- Raised electrical outlets and open shelves for easy reach from a wheelchair
- Large grab bar type door handles made of stainless steel
- Long wooden grab bar hand railings in hallways
- Special floor coverings such as epoxy, laminate, or wood surfaces, low-pile carpeting, stained or stamped concrete, or exposed aggregate floor slabs for easy maintenance
- Accessible kitchens may have:
- Intuitive appliances and variable height countertops
- Some work spaces at 30 inches high, open underneath
- Front mounted controls on appliances for easy access
- Long handled faucet installed at back or side of sink
- Cabinets with drawer slides on shelves to facilitate easy reach
- Under cabinet lighting for more light to cooking area and countertops
- Side by side refrigerator freezer
- Adjustable height cabinets and sinks
- Accessible bathrooms may have:
- Large 60 inch turning radius for wheelchair use
- Lower height vanities in the bathrooms, open underneath with protected piping
- Non-slip tile
- Special types and placement of faucets and plumbing fixtures
- Walk-in shower without door or special tubs equipped with side doors
- Curb-free roll-in or zero-entry shower
- Tiled shower seat for a resting area
- Multiple height shower heads or an adjustable slide-bar shower head or hand-held shower head with a 60 inch hose
- Higher, elongated toilet with a clear space on one side
- Decorative or stainless steel grab bars around toilet and shower areas
- Urinals extending to the floor with waterproof wainscoting at sides
- Knee space under vanity or sinks with protected pipes
- See ADA Compliant Bathroom Layouts
I understand that each special need may vary according to specific disabilities and aging, so I will partner with you to design a home that meets your needs today and into the future. Universal designed homes will make living a whole lot easier if you have a progressive disease, require specialized equipment for daily living tasks, or suffer from a permanent injury. Let me help you design an accessible home that will provide easy, safe access throughout, especially if you have a strength or mobility handicap, or some other impairment.
For aging veterans that can no longer stay in their own homes, I can design small scale congregate care homes that accommodate six to eight people in a group home setting. These homes can be jointly owned by the occupants under an LLC, or owned and operated separately by companies or individuals for tenants. These small group homes can offer 24/7 care through CNA’s or family members to provide assistance with daily hygiene, nutritious meals, dressing assistance, laundry, medication management, and similar support while maintaining a casual family atmosphere instead of a cold clinical environment.
In addition to all the disabled and handicapped veterans and other citizens, there are approximately 77 million Baby Boomers facing retirement in the next decade. With increased life expectancy and lifestyles, many retirees are planning new homes, or remodeling their existing homes, to accommodate their future needs. This includes adding special features like a covered porch, an elevator, a chairlift, oxygen machines with concealed hoses, jacuzzi tubs with side doors, ramps, wider sidewalks, lever-type door handles, entry intercom systems, security systems and alarms, fire sprinkler systems, additional exterior lighting, wide hallways, wide doors, non-slip tile, dense-weave or low pile carpeting, curb-free showers, accessible bathroom fixtures, grab bars, front-loading washers and dryers, and many of the other universal features mentioned above.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY HOMES
My other favorite charity is Habitat For Humanity and involves designing homes or remodels for underprivileged and homeless individuals often living in poverty, who qualify for this first-time home-ownership program. These homes are often smaller homes designed so the owners can participate in the actual physical construction of the house by performing low-skill, “sweat equity” tasks; that is, activities like painting, site cleanup, minor framing, finish work, siding, caulking, and landscaping. Most designs are small, basic two bedroom, one bathroom homes without garages, built on small lots in older sections of a community. This program allows some lucky people a wonderful opportunity to own their own homes and to help build it from the ground up. See Habitat For Humanity.
Whenever the budget allows, my home designs are “green” as much as possible because there are so many good reasons to implement green building options and practices into a new residence or investment property, including:
- Reduced energy bills
- Tax benefits
- Promotes cleaner air quality
- Reduced time and cost for home maintenance
- Improvement in home air quality and comfort
- Reduction in construction wastes
- Reduction in the dependence on fossil fuel
My goal is to design an air tight home through effective placement of insulation to ensure the most energy efficient results. In addition, I try to specify eco-friendly materials that fall within the budgets of each new home and include products such as trusses, siding, energy star appliances, low-e windows, water heaters with continuous looped hot water lines, efficient HVAC systems, and light sensors. Building environmentally sustainable homes makes good sense for both the consumer and for our environment.
Compliance to SystemVision Program: Building science specialists in North Carolina designed a program to bring their knowledge and expertise to building energy efficient affordable housing for the local population. The Advanced Energy Affordable Housing Program was launched in 2001 with the mission to provide improved health, safety, durability, comfort and energy efficiency to affordable homes statewide. The program has since spread to other states and is now being voluntarily followed by many progressive builders and designers because of its effectiveness, intent, and purpose.
Energy Star: is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency voluntary program that helps individuals and businesses save money and protect our environment through superior energy efficiency. To qualify, a new home must meet the strict guidelines for energy efficiency standards set forth by the EPA. These homes have proven to be at least 15% more efficient than standard homes built to the 2004 IRC (International Residential Code). They include additional energy-saving features that make them 20-30% more efficient on average than standard homes. In Energy Star certified homes, comfort is ensured with consistent temperatures between and across rooms; indoor air quality is enhanced by reducing pollen, dust, insects, and excessive humidity; and durability is improved with comprehensive water protection and better grade equipment. State-of-the-art windows have been developed that use advanced technologies, like protective coatings and improved frames, that help keep heat in during winter and out during summer. They also block damaging ultraviolet sunlight that can discolor furnishings and carpets.
These homes have been around since the beginning of our country, and in recent times, have become an increasingly popular style. They are not just designed for country and lake front settings, but are even now starting to appear in subdivisions and downtown areas of towns and cities across the country.
I started my career off by designing custom log homes in Montana, so I have a lot of experience with this style of home. Back in the day, the banks frowned upon log homes because they were relatively new in the market place and financing was often difficult to obtain for perspective log home owners. The style used by the company that employed me was the milled log type, which consisted of stacked 8 foot long by 8″ square milled cants surfaced on one side with a rounded surface and three squared off sides. The corners were notched and overlapped a foot in each direction, continuous top to bottom without gaps. The top of the logs had milled tongues and the bottoms had milled grooves to align them as they were stacked atop one another. This log style was more like stacking sections of rail-road ties, but it still produced a very clean and contemporary look. Each layer of logs were filled with a row of sill-seal insulation and spiked to two courses below with 24″x1/2″ diameter steel spikes drilled in every four linear feet and on each side of door and window openings. Most designs featured trapezoid windows in the front gables along with large covered decks angled to capture the best views. Many designs had an upstairs loft area for bedrooms and a large great room under a vaulted ceiling created by a massive timber ridge beam. The ceilings were often tongue and groove white pine or fir with a glossy finish.
Another popular style of log home is the notched and chinked groove type. This style features actual logs stacked atop each other with each course scribed and notched on the bottom to fit tightly to the course below it. The diameters of the logs vary according to the species and the taper, but many are at least 8 inches in diameter and some are as large as 24 inches in diameter. The corners are notched and overlap past the wall surface in different patterns. Some have gaps between each course while others are continuous. This style often has insulation placed between each course to fill in any gaps, and upon completion, the grooves between each log course are filled with grout or a flexible mastic product on the interior and exterior.
SINGLE STORY HOMES
TWO STORY HOMES