The visitable home, make your home accessible and inviting for the holiday season
Simple steps to make your home accessible and inviting for the holiday season
The holidays are a time that all generations gather together to celebrate the season. However, every home presents its challenges in ensuring that everyone who comes through the door is welcome for the holidays. The concept of visitable housing is an approach to home design that encourages adding a basic level of accessibility and safety for everyone who dwells or visits the home; think babies and young children, elders and the aging, or guests of any age who have mobility challenges.
According to Visitable Housing Canada, many universal design features can be incorporated into most homes at a reasonable cost. With the holiday season in mind, there are some easy solutions to make family and guests feel comfortable when visiting or staying in your home. Some of these changes are temporary, but none will deter from your home’s beauty.
Outdoors & entry
The great outdoors, especially in Ontario, can be one of the most challenging areas of your home to navigate for any guest. There are three basic things you can do or add to your home that will make a big difference.
- Firstly, keep sidewalks, pathways and porches clear of ice with calcium. It works just like salt, but will not damage the surface, and calcium chloride melts ice faster than other de-icers.
- Ensure pathways and entrances are devoid of any clutter or obstacles. For example, move larger planters or decor items clear of doorways.
- Third and most importantly, providing zero-clearance entry to your home will go a long way to allow ease of entry to all and to help avoid any accidents. Temporary ramps are available in all heights and colours to easily make your entryway accessible with little effort.
Your bathrooms are the most utilized room for all your guests, and as discussed in my debut article in the bathroom issue of RENO & DECOR, the majority of household accidents also occur there. Safety though can also be stylish, especially with the products available in the market today. Here are some excellent and easy solutions to consider.
- . Replace towel bars with easy-to-install and trendy grab bars. These now come in many finishes to match your existing plumbing, as well as providing the right support and peace of mind for all. Install grab bars in both the tub or shower for extra support when entering and exiting the area. Don’t forget the toilet paper holder, there is even a great solution for you here. Professional installation is recommended for each.
- Consider moving to a touchless faucet to make everyone’s life easier. As a bonus, it helps keep your faucet hardware looking clean throughout your guest’s stay, as well as ensuring that faucets won’t inadvertently be left on. Similarly, touchless faucets are a nice addition to your kitchen as well.
- For overnight guests, there are additional options for your shower stall or bathtub. You can consider placing a non-slip surface chair in the stall or tub, as well as installing a hand-held faucet to your existing showerhead. Both items help provide a comfortable and safe experience for anyone needing extra security while bathing or if bathing small children.
“BY MAKING A FEW SMALL ADJUSTMENTS, YOU CAN MAKE SURE THAT YOUR HOME IS OPEN TO ALL OF YOUR VISITORS OVER THE HOLIDAYS.”
Stair rails & handrails
Interior or exterior railings are a safety necessity for all guests. Everyone relies on these railings to help them descend and ascend stairs and they also prevent any falling accidents. Make sure that all railings are secure and installed properly by professionals. This will ensure the safety of the people you love every day of the year.
Should you wish to consider updates, or to assist with any changes in the visitability of your home, ensure your design consultant or contractor are designated as Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists (CAPS) as they have the tools, knowledge, and expertise to design living spaces that allow for the safety and security in your home. We don’t have to sacrifice good design and your personal esthetic in order to make a home safe and accessible. By making a few small adjustments, you can make sure that your home is open to all of your visitors over the holidays.
Over the course of Yasmine’s 15-year career, she has developed, My Design Studio, the top independent decor centre servicing the residential construction industry in Southern Ontario. As a CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) designer, Yasmine comes full circle on her passion for beautiful and sustainable design, by also adding design for living in place. my-designstudio.com