Universal Design Tips

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Universal design is becoming increasingly important as our population ages, and keeping these principles in mind when remodelling a house is paramount to keeping you and your loved ones safe – now and in the future. It’s also becoming more important when it comes to resale value. A house that is accessible to people of all ages and abilities will appeal to more people, and if done right, could get you a higher selling price. Here are some things to keep in mind.


Home Automation

Anything you can do to automate items and therefore limit having to get up and down will be greatly appreciated by those with mobility issues.

‘Reno to Reveal’ Callout

Having your whole house automated can be beneficial for several reasons: not only does it make it easier for those with accessibility issues, it’s convenient, allows you to be more energy efficient, and it adds an element of safety. “When I was building my house I had Design Electronics come in and automate absolutely everything from the lighting, to the sound system, to the HVAC. Now I can control everything with my smartphone – even when I’m not at home.” – Scott McGillivray

Smartphone Home Automation


If you’re remodelling a bathroom there are a few things to keep in mind for accessibility purposes.

Bathroom with Curbless Shower


Aging in place can be made a lot easier by making some simple changes in the kitchen.

Reno to Reveal - Kitchen Island Storage



Not everyone is going to be able to put an elevator in their home due to budget and size constraints, however for those who can manage it, an elevator can be a worthwhile investment – particularly in multi level homes. And in the right circumstances they can provide a good return on investment.

‘Reno to Reveal’ Callout

When Scott McGillivray set out to build his new home an elevator was not in the plan. However when his builder suggested it he took a closer look at his options.“We needed another second floor access point and I discovered that through Cambridge Elevating an elevator would cost almost the same amount as putting in a second staircase.” Scott decided to go with the elevator for two reasons – one was that it offered a great return on investment for the neighbourhood, but also because it’s great for accessibility – something very important to Scott and his wife as their parents get older.

Residential Elevator



General Universal Design Tips

Throughout the house there are a lot of things that can be done to make life easier for people aging in place.




Kitchen via iStock.com/YinYang, smartphone via iStock.com/nullplus, bathroom via iStock.com/baona, elevator via iStock.com/Peter Mukherjee

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Don’t put too much stock in trades who give free estimates over the phone. A plumber or electrician can’t properly diagnose an issue unless it’s in person. A free estimate given over the phone is likely to go up significantly once he or she is on-site.