Designing for multiple generations in your residence
Friday, September 4, 2015 at 11:09AM
[Your Name Here]

If you are planning a new home or a major addition, consider three generations of use. Many homes are already used at various times by three generations.  If it is a retirement home you are planning it is likely that children or grandchildren will live there at various times. If you are newlyweds it is even possible that four generations might be users such as parents, grandparents and future children. It could also be a consideration in resale since buyers are often a different generation than sellers. Invited guest can also broaden the range of design issues by making a home 'friendly' to the most people.

Universal design is the process of keeping the needs of multiple generations in focus for current and future users.  A first floor bathroom may just be a convenience, but user friendly if designed for the visiting mom with one on more small children who need assistance in the bathroom. The same bathroom would also be friendly to the older guest who may use a mobility device requiring extra space to maneuver in the bathroom.

Two items that are universally useful are a grade level entrance and door handle levers rather than knobs.  A lever is much easier to use for both young children and the well elderly who may have arthritis. Similarly having a single step at an entrance or within the path of travel creates a hazard for all ages but particularly the very young or the very old guests or family members.

For additional information on universal design and to learn more about incorporating multiple generations into your residence call Trautman Associates Architect at 248.338.2591

Article originally appeared on Trautman Associates Ltd. Architects (
See website for complete article licensing information.