How should you design a Dream or Last Home?

Look at all those steps.

Imagine building a dream home you can only live in for fifteen to twenty years before you're forced to move. Following the principles of Universal Design ensures usability from cradle to grave for any person of any age or ability.

On my morning jogs during family vacations in Hilton Head Island, I enjoy gazing at the multi-million dollar homes. As I run, each vacation or retirement home seems more luxurious than the ones I've passed and I can only imagine what they're like inside.

But now that I know Universal Design (UD), I view those fancy houses from a different perspective. I see owners who will either spend big bucks to retrofit or eventually they'll be forced to move because they built a dream home, including the landscaping, without considering accessibility and usability for decades down the road. For example, many of these gorgeous homes have grand staircases leading to the front entry or from the foyer to the second floor. How will the occupants navigate with large luggage or when they become elderly and begin to lose mobility?

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