Universal design is all about making a home as accessible as possible. Luckily, some of today’s universal design solutions are as chic as they are practical.


With layered lighting, u-shaped pulls on cabinets and doors, lever-style faucets and a state-of-the-art home automation system that controls the home through a smartphone or tablet, this Colorado retreat is ready to support aging in place with luxury and comfort.


Universal design creates a safe, welcoming environment where homeowners can gracefully transition through life’s various stages regardless of age or ability. By adopting a universal design approach, homeowners can maintain independence and the ability to relish the distinctive Woodhouse timber frame lifestyle for years to come.

The basics of universal design call for features like zero-step entries and wide doorways and hallways. In bathrooms and kitchens, this means features like curb-less showers and pull-out storage, respectively. Throughout the home, attention to detail can make daily tasks easier for people living with limited mobility. (Learn more about the basics principles here.)

Once you’ve incorporated the basics, you can take universal design up a notch with the integration of luxury features and smart home technology. These elements can add a luxurious feel in addition to improving safety and convenience. If that wasn’t enough, smart-home features also contribute to long-term cost savings, so retirement funds can go toward experiences instead of energy bills.

Ready to get started? Here are some examples of luxury finishes and smart fixtures that complement universal design in a custom timber frame home.


Bathroom Upgrades


The 24″ Contemporary Grab Bar in Brushed Gold from Signature Hardware


A few smart customizations can create a spa-like bathroom environment that is both safer and more enjoyable to use. Say goodbye to the drab ADA products of yesteryear — today’s selections are chic.  Modern ADA-approved grab bars, like these from Signature Hardware, prevent slips and come in several finishes and give off high-end appeal. To finish it off, smart shower systems can control water temperature, turn water on and off, save on water and energy costs, and set the mood with LED lighting.


Kitchen Conveniences

U-shaped pull bars not only look sleek, they make opening cabinets easier for all.


In the kitchen, consider how hard your hands work to perform simple tasks. Smart swaps can make cooking and cleaning that much easier. Many manufacturers now make sink faucets that offer the convenience of voice activation or motion control. And whether or not you choose touchless technology, shop for faucets with levers, which are much easier to use than knobs. The Artifacts® touchless pull-down kitchen sink faucet with three-function sprayhead by Kohler offers it all, fusing form and function.

On cabinets, opt for stylish lever handles or sleek u-shaped pulls, like the Westridge by Emtek that don’t require tight gripping or pinching, as advised by ADA guidelines.


Light it Right

Smart Skylights from Velux


One key element of universal design is adequate lighting. If you haven’t embraced smart home tech yet, lighting is the perfect place to start — you may be surprised just how luxurious it is to manage and schedule your lights from the tap of an app. Not to mention, motion-activated lights and sunlight-synced schedules can make navigating one’s home much safer. Systems like Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit all allow you set your home’s lighting on a schedule.

Additionally, you can dial it up a notch with high-end intelligent windows, shades, and skylights, like those from Velux, that ensure the house is well-lit when needed and adapt to real-time weather conditions, tinting on sunny days to control interior temperature conditions or becoming more translucent to maximize natural daylight, minimizing unnecessary energy usage.

Aside from smart-home schedules and a layered approach to lighting, little details can make a big difference as well. For example: Rocker or paddle light switches are easier to operate for all. And consistently placed light switches throughout the home promote familiarity and ease of use, reducing confusion for both homeowners and visitors.


Get Started

A custom timber frame home is a luxury investment; every detail of your design should help you make the most of it. We can help you craft the timber frame home of your dreams that balances universal design and luxury in perfect harmony. Reach out today to start the conversation.