Accessible Modifications

Special Home Modifications can certainly add a lot of comfort and convenience to your home. Whether it is a new home or on that is being remodeled, we will assist you in determining the best system for your needs.

Here are our categories of Special Home Modifications. For more detailed information, click on the information buttons below.

Universal Design

Design of products and spaces to make them usable by all people to the greatest extent possible. Universal design follows seven principles that guide design. All seven principles may not apply to all designs. Universal design is concerned with economic considerations, engineering considerations, cultural considerations, environmental considerations, and gender.

  • Equitable Use - design is useful for people with diverse abilities. Provides for function, privacy, security, and safety on an equal basis for all users. It prevents segregation of users; and makes design appealing to all users.
  • Flexibility in Use – design accommodating a wide range of individual abilities and preferences. Accommodates right- or left-sided access and use, facilitates the user’s accuracy and precision, and provides adaptability at the user’s pace.
  • Simple and Intuitive Use – design that is easy to understand regardless of user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level. It eliminates unnecessary complexity, accommodates a wide range of literacy and language skills and is consistent with the user’s expectations and intuition.
  • Easy to Perceive – design that effectively communicates necessary information to the user regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities. Easy to perceive design uses different modes of communication (pictorial, verbal, tactile) for redundant presentation of essential information, maximizes “legibility” of essential information, and ensures compatibility with a variety of techniques or assistive devices used by people with sensory limitations.
  • Tolerance for Error – design minimizing hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions. This design arranges elements to minimize hazards and ensures that the most frequently used elements are the most accessible elements; eliminates, isolates, or shields hazardous elements; provides hazard and error warnings, and incorporates fail-safe features.
  • Low Physical Effort – design is used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum level of fatigue. Low physical effort design allows users to maintain a neutral body position, relies on reasonable operating forces, minimizes repetitive actions, and minimizes sustained physical effort.
  • Size and Space for Approach and Use – design ensures appropriate size and space is provided for approach reach, manipulation, and use regardless of the user’s body size, posture, and mobility. Approach and use design provides a seated or standing user with a clear line of sight to important elements, ensures a seated or standing user a comfortable reach to all components, accommodates variations in hand and grip size, and provides adequate size for the use of assistive devices or personal assistance.

Accessible Design

Design of a space that allows a person with a disability to make the greatest possible use of a space. It complies with regulations or general criteria that establish a minimum level of design necessary to accommodate persons with disabilities. Despite the criteria, accessible design is unique to the person using a space: Some examples:

  • Doorways that are 32” wide to accommodate wheelchairs or other mobility aids.
  • Roll-in showers without barriers
  • Ramps with appropriate cross slope and running slope
  • Thresholds lowered to1/4”
  • Zero-step entries
  • Handrails on both sides of a stairway
  • A person of short stature may need grab bars in the bathroom installed at a location lower than the standard height.
  • Bathroom with grab bars and raised toilets
  • Offset hinges can expand the opening of a door

Adaptable Design

This design addresses individual differences over time. It does not provide a high level of accessibility but does permit a space to be easily changed as needed. It responds to the problems of different users, individual differences, and changes in a user’s capability over time. ANSI A117.1 defines adaptability as “…the ability of certain building elements, such as kitchen counters, sinks, and grab bars to be added to, raised, lowered, or otherwise altered so as to accommodate the needs of either persons with or without disabilities, or to accommodate the needs of persons with different types or degrees of disability.” Some examples:

  • Adjustable height kitchen sink that can be lowered for use by a person in a seated position.
  • Stair lift can be installed on a temporary basis for a person who cannot go up or down stairs.
  • Blocking for the later installation of grab bars, adjusted kitchen or bath cabinetry, closet shelves.
  • A shower with a removable or fold down bench
  • Stacking 4’x 4’ closets for the future installation of an elevator.


Design that permits a wheelchair user a minimum level of access to the ground floor of a home. Visitability refers to a minimum level of accessibility that allows a wheelchair user to have basic access to the ground floor of a home. Typically have at least one entrance with no steps, 32” clear passage through all interior doors, and a half-bath on the ground floor with sufficient turn space.