Invisible design in a Lifemark® 4-Star Showhome

A three bedroom home with open plan living, a designer kitchen, quality appliances, a cathedral style ceiling, and a vaulted sky lit entranceway!

These features are very inviting to anyone wanting modern living. What a lot of people don’t realise is that this Green Homes showhome located 20 minutes south east of Christchurch in Rolleston also has some invisible design features which means it achieves a Lifemark® 4-Star for delivering to Lifemark®’s Universal Design standards.

We asked the Architectural Designer Stefany Alvarez and Project Manager Alan Clingan about some of these key invisible Universal Design (UD) features and how easy it was incorporating them into this build.

Invisible features are features in the home that are present in a home but would only be noticed if they weren’t present.

To put this in context. If you were pushing a young child in a stroller up to a house and you were confronted with steps to the front door you would have to stop, unbuckle the child from the stroller and walk or carry them up the steps.

With a Level ‘step free entrance’ you don’t have this stop start, it is a smooth and seamless transition as you can continue into the home pushing the child in the stroller. This level entrance is in turn a form of ‘invisible design’.

Stefany’s favourite Invisible UD features in this home include a
“Exquisite and practical gradual pathway!”

This combines well with; “The attractive level entry that takes you easily through to the heart of the house.

“Spacious wide doors ways and hallways are also a great feature.” Says Stefany

Alan Clingan was the Project Manager of this showhome, and it was good to have his take on UD!
A Project Manager and build team may be required to do a few things differently when it comes to building with UD. But as Alan explains it was an easy process.

Alan and the build team were tasked with reinforcing the walls in the bathrooms. This is an invisible UD feature as it means grab rails can easily be installed into the home if and when required.

Wall reinforcing in the Green Homes Rolleston Showhome

Allan says, “It was easy to include this into the build as it was clearly marked on the drawings and I also understand from experience how hard grab rails are to install later if there is no reinforcing.”

He thinks Universal Design from the outset of the build just makes sense.

“It is easier to install the electrical outlets at the correct height if the detail is there at the beginning on a plan.”

PowerPoints installed at higher levels throughout the home, so the occupants don’t have to bend down to plug in electrical plugs.

This is another perhaps not so invisible UD feature as these are colour contrasting.
A few more features that may go unnoticed are;

A wide Level Entry shower

Light switches that are aligned with door handles, this makes it instinctively easier to find the light and the way out, even better when these colour contrast too.

Stefany says the Green Homes team are very proud of this showhome.

“UD is a great achievement not only for owners but also for builders like Alan and Designers like me, as it proves to us that this house will remain useful through the years.”

“While the intention of the project was to harness some of these invisible Universal Design features that doesn’t mean it has to be boring or have a lack of space, it can still be a great design and this showhome is one that we’re very proud of!”

For more info on this Lifemark® 4-Star showhome …click here


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