If the concept of universal design brings to mind images of a slab-on-grade house with medical-grade adaptations, then the 2021 Southern Living Showcase Home might surprise you.

The stately, two-story property in Pittsboro, North Carolina, features an elevator, wider doorways, larger turning radiuses, and an expansive outdoor living space. It’s the first of its kind to be fully inclusive and accessible.

In this Studio Session, ARCHITECT Editor-in-Chief Paul Makovsky discusses practical applications of universal design with Josh Mauney, president of Paragon Building Group, and Mark Beard, principal designer at LifeStage Home Designs.

The discussion covers the how the rise of multigenerational homes and the desire to age in place are prompting designers and builders to meet growing demand for accessible homes. You’ll also learn how to integrate accessible features, such as stepless entrances and curbless showers, into an aesthetically pleasing design.

Mauney and Beard also address how the project is a case study in providing universal design proactively. While homeowners may not need an elevator today, they may someday. In many cases, measures to age in place are not prohibitively expensive.

“Once a consumer has been educated, there is zero pushback as to why this shouldn’t be the standard for all homes,” Beard says. “For most people, their home and family are their most valuable assets and the biggest items in their personal portfolio, so why wouldn’t they spend the marginal increase in cost to incorporate these concepts, future proof, and create a long-term mindset in the place they are at every day?”

This Studio Session is underwritten by the Propane Education & Research Council.

To learn about resilience and energy-efficiency, check out this ARCHITECT Studio Session sponsored by the Propane Education & Research Council.

See more of ARCHITECT’s Studio Sessions here.