Aging Gracefully: Making a Luxury Custom Home Handicap Accessible Without Compromising Style and Design

The phrase “handicap accessible” does not generally conjure up images of elegant, refined or even aesthetically pleasing architectural style and design. It brings to mind industrial looking ramps, automatic doors and grab bars. Thanks to science and technology, our population is living longer and better, significantly raising expectations and standards for what “retirement” living looks like.

Just a few decades earlier, little thought was generally given to planning ahead for the necessary in-home modifications that allow for extended independent living. Add-ons and modifications have generally been added as needed, and therefore tend to be somewhat discordant with design aesthetics. With thoughtful planning, homeowners building their custom dream home today can easily incorporate all the necessary elements that afford them the luxury of comfortably living in their home throughout their lifetime.

Thinking in broader terms about what makes a home “handicap accessible”, some basic design and layout concepts are key. These would include main living quarters, doorways and entrances, accessibility to outdoor spaces and allocation for elevator installation if desired in the future. Ideally the home should have the master bedroom located on the first level along with the main living space to allow for extended independent living. In addition, designing guest quarters in a separate area of the home allows for future live in help that may be needed while maintaining a desired level of privacy.

The following areas are useful to consider when building a luxury custom home that enable its occupants to retire in style.

The main entrance: The following homes reflect an elegant entrance, easily accessible with minimal steps to negotiate, framed by clean, modern landscaping.


The interior entryway should also be generously appointed for ease of movement and flow into the home:











Open concept design with wide door openings: open concept living is popular today with custom homes, creating ease of flow for daily living and connecting entertaining spaces. While creating an airy, light feeling to the home, it also eliminates the need of negotiating narrow enclosed spaces. The following homes master an open concept design with a spacious kitchen flowing into dining and seating areas.





The master bedroom: spacious bedrooms with large connecting doorways into the bathroom and large master closets make it easy and comfortable for older occupants to negotiate the daily routine of dressing and bathing. Consider designing showers with benches, and having larger closets with lower shelves and hanging bars for clothing needs.





Outdoor spaces: a generous, level patio space is also an important feature for a custom dream home. It extends the living space seamlessly outdoors and allows for maximum enjoyment of the property for daily living or entertaining.










Building a custom dream home generally implies that the home is intended to be the home for families to enjoy for generations to come. Planning ahead to minimize necessary modifications to accommodate aging residents allows for aging gracefully into retirement within the comfort of home.