• Open floor plan to minimize hallways.

• Wide hallways and door openings for easy maneuverability.

• Light switches placed lower than standard.

• Outlets placed 6 inches higher than standard.

• Easy-grip lever-style door handles.

• No-rise thresholds on every entrance.

• Pocket doors eliminate swing in smaller spaces.

• Floor-to-ceiling windows provide a view for all heights.

• Stepless entries.

• Stairs with low risers and large treads. (Bjorklund uses a residential elevator.)


• Ample space to maneuver around appliances, cabinets and center island.

• Countertop heights and depths are varied.

• Microwave oven is built into a lower cabinet, not above stove. Cooktop knobs are in the front. A double oven has one low and one high door. Refrigerator is side-by-side.

• Pot-filler spigot behind cooktop.

• Easy-grasp cabinet pulls.

• Bottom cabinets have slide-out drawers to store stacked dishes and other supplies.


• Door-free, no-curb shower room with pull-down seat. Shower controls are easy to reach.

• Ample space in front of toilet and sink.

• Vanity with recessed area under the sink can accommodate a seated user.

• Tall "comfort-height" toilets.

• Reinforced walls that allow grab bars to be added later.

• Front-loading washer and dryer raised on a pedestal for ease in adding and removing clothes.


• Center for Universal Design,

• Homeowner Kevin Bjorklund, 612-859-4990.

• "Universal Design Ideas for Style, Comfort & Safety" (RS Means, $21.95).

• "Residential Remodeling and Universal Design: Making Homes More Comfortable and Accessible" (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, $15). 1-800-245-2691. Free download at

• "Universal Designed Smart Homes for the 21st Century," by Charles Schwab (Schwab Publishers, $39.95). www.universaldesign