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Design and Build with an Eye to the Future

Living in our homes independently and comfortably for as long as possible is everyone’s wish. Changing American demographics indicate that we are living longer, more active lives, so designing homes that accommodate this goal is more important than ever. 

Using an architectural practice called universal design (UD)
allows homeowners of all ages and capabilities to achieve this goal with subtle yet functional and affordable design.
Implementing UD features is also a good investment because it often offsets the cost of moving to an assisted living facility, which may no longer be necessary or which may be delayed. The one-time cost of a universally designed home is about the same as the cost of a one-year stay at an assisted living facility.

Additionally, UD accommodates individuals with special needs such as sustaining injuries, bad backs, and even small children. And if you decide to move for whatever reason, adhering to UD principles can increase the resale value of your home.

Far from the images of an institution or a hospital, UD features included with proper planning and implementation go relatively unnoticed until they are needed. Then when that time comes, you will be glad that your builder had the foresight and knowledge to address your long-term needs.

Here are a few elements of good universal design that you should consider in your new or remodeled home:
CABINET FEATURES: Regardless of your age or capabilities, the use of bigger base cabinets with pull-out shelves is an increasingly popular option for tall and upper wall storage. Contents are more visible and accessible
Accessories such as lazy susans, door shelves, slotted drawers, and flip-down fronts enhance the storage capacity and accessibility of kitchen cabinets and bath vanities.  Soft-close drawers on newer models of cabinets protect against pinched fingers and are quiet and more convenient.
Pull-out drawers instead of cabinets are also a good idea in all rooms and not just the kitchen. They are easier to organize, see or reach into, and open.
HARD-SURFACE FLOORING:  Using a combination of hardwood, polished flat tiles, and resilient floor surfaces will not only make your house  easier to clean and move across but will also  promote healthier indoor air quality.  Use area rugs to soften surfaces.

LEVER HANDLES:  For doors, sinks, and showers, a single-lever handle instead of a knob is both fashionable and easier to manipulate. A lever is a better option when you have an armful of groceries, are just able to reach the handle (kids), or lack strength for gripping.
For faucets and showers, levers allow easier temperature control, which mitigates scalding hazards. D-shaped handles or grips on cabinets are also easier to open.

APPLIANCES:  Wall ovens and warming drawers, dishwasher and refrigerator drawers not stacked but set side-by-side, French door style refrigerators, and microwave ovens with flip-down doors are just a few examples of appliances that are not only popular but also deliver the UD benefits of better accessibility and increased safety.

  • Wider doorways
  • Lower light switches
  • Improved lighting
  • Stepless entryways (also a plus for baby strollers)
  • Waist-level access in kitchens and bathrooms

If you are considering universal design features in your new or remodeled home, discuss them with your builder or designer during the planning stages so they will be included in the final plans and estimates. Then get ready to enjoy your home for many years to come. 



We Make All The Difference


Diamante Custom Homes • 5139 N. Loop 1604 West, Suite 102 • San Antonio, TX 78249
Phone: (210) 341-6430 • Cell: (210) 324-2755


Diamante Custom Homes - Different By Design
Diamante Custom Homes was established in the Spring of 1992. Each Custom Home Builder has their own unique story of how they came to be. Diamante Custom Homes was born over 2 decades ago out of the inherent frustrations and miscommunications that plague the home building industry. As a company we wanted to hire the best of the best to ensure your custom home building experience is the best we know it can be. As a result we have structured the Design/Build process around our clients. We realize that today’s savvy home buyers have visions, dreams, and of course a budget.

We have become smarter about our design process over the last 2 decades constantly evolving. We know your vision and budget going in and make it a point to revisit the conversation in every design meeting. We pride ourselves on being skilled and up to date on today’s cutting edge technology, energy efficiency, and a streamlined methodology to designing & building the homes of your dreams. We are skilled at costing your project out through every step of the design process, some say it is an art, we like to call it “the way it should be! From your home’s architecture to interior design to purchasing to accounting to construction organization, your Design Build team at Diamante Custom Homes is ready to help with every facet of this unique experience!

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