October 14, 2021

Alexandra Beer House

The Real Estate Experts

Ideal Homes communities now offer options for aging in place | News

A Norman-headquartered home builder is now constructing houses designed to make life easier for those with mobility limitations in Norman, Moore and Stillwater.

Last year, David Boeck, an associate professor of architecture at the University of Oklahoma, presented the idea of incorporating accessible housing to Ideal Homes CEO and co-founder Vernon McKown. Accessible housing features amenities for residents at all levels of ability and for those who intend to “age in place.”

The company’s design team collaborated with Boeck to create an accessibility package that’s now available.

McKown said he took interest in the project because he recognized the importance of meeting the needs of all homeowners.

“First and foremost, we want to ensure families or individuals with different abilities are able to live comfortably in their own home,” McKown said in a news release. “It’s also important to our entire team to be able to do that for an affordable price and in the same beautiful homes in which we already build.”

The Accessibility Package includes wider doorways, no steps inside or into the home and ADA-compliant thresholds at the back door, front door and garage. Cabinets accommodate wheelchairs, while bathrooms have grab bars, comfort-height handicap toilets and a tiled walk-in shower. The package also features lever door handles, raised electrical outlets and a lower thermostat wall position.

Accessibility upgrades, which include solid-surface flooring that allows for better wheelchair movement or other mobility needs, can be incorporated into a home for under $15,000.

Boeck’s passion for accessible housing developed after he had surgeries on his back and both of his knees. After experiencing some difficulty getting around the house, Boeck built an accessible home for himself.

The firsthand experience inspired him to work with Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods to offer affordable accessibility options.

Boeck said he couldn’t get other home builders to seriously consider accessible housing until he met with McKown, who was receptive to the idea from the start.

“Even when you build a home for a first-time homeowner who may not have different abilities, those individuals or families often have family members or friends who could benefit from more accessible entrances, kitchens and so much more,” Boeck said in the release.

Boeck said most builders and developers don’t understand that they’re building houses for families with loved ones of various abilities and ages that could have trouble visiting them when they can’t access the house.

“We’re designing where the intent is to build houses that are accessible to all ages and abilities,” Boeck said.

According to the release, universal design creates homes that are usable by people of all abilities without post-construction adaptation; ordinarily, homeowners would have to customize an existing home.

Kent Dahl, vice president of Estimating and Design at Ideal Homes, said the company jumped at the opportunity to be at the forefront of accessibility, and hasn’t looked back.

“It’s really exciting to be able to build affordable, accessible homes in our community,” Dahl said. “We hope this inspires others to consider accessibility features in new homes as well.”

Jeff Elkins covers business, living and community stories for The Transcript. Reach him at [email protected] or at @JeffElkins12 on Twitter.

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