An unexpected visitor: Michael Field reviews a Lifemark® show home

The field family took a nice day trip to a new Lifemark® rated show home recently.

On a rainy Saturday, our family of three dropped into the Green Homes Ackland Park show home. We currently live in our own Lifemark® 5-Star rated home and were interested to see what a Lifemark® 4-Star rated home offered!

Our 14-year-old son Evan has a genetic condition and uses a wheelchair for day-to-day living.

The First area of interest we found was the weather sealing of the front door. When we built our house, we had an issue with the door aluminium joinery as the front door had a weather seal that prevented it from being true level-entry. Our solution was to replace the door frame with a custom-machined commercial door sill, and a similar solution was used here.

“Evan rolled in no trouble, and I suspect the front door is a little wider than normal!”

The front door opens to the main hallway, an extra-wide 1450mm making it very easy to wander around the home.

The interior doors from the hallway were wider than standard, allowing Evan’s wheelchair to pass through very easily.

Our bedrooms are quite a bit larger than standard, with room for a double bed while still maintaining 1500mm turning circles. The bedrooms in this home were nice and open.

The lounge area had a level-entry slider door that provided access to the garden on one side.

It was quite interesting to see the design used to provide the required drainage for level entry onto a concrete slab patio.

Throughout the living areas and hallway were vinyl planking, which made for “excellent wheelchair rolling.”

The kitchen layout is nice and very functional, with what feels like a slightly wider gap between the island and main bench, and with the stove mounted slightly lower than normal.

“Most of the low-level storage consists of pull-out drawers, giving great accessibility, and space between benches means access to the fridge is not blocked by the kitchen island.”

A big feature of this Lifemark® show home is how bathrooms are fitted out. The master bathroom was far more usable – the toilet had lots of space beside allowing for transfers to or from a wheelchair.

“The glass wall of the walk-in shower gave it all a very open feel.”

A flip-down shower seat would have been a great addition, as would a combined grab-rail/toilet paper holder beside the toilet.

However, I know with Lifemark® homes walls are reinforced so future installations of some of these features are made easy if they are needed; that is the whole purpose of Universal Design giving this home great adaptability for the final occupants.

Wall reinforcing in shower area will support the installation of handrails and a shower seat

The laundry is in a double garage, which provides plenty of space for both accessing the appliances and getting out of a car.

All through the house, there are Lifemark® ‘speech bubble’ stickers, pointing out design features that would be easily overlooked – the location of switches and plugs, door handles, colour contrast, etc.

“Over-all it was a really nice way to spend part of a rainy afternoon, and shows how small, inexpensive design changes can greatly improve the liveability of a home for everybody, not just those with mobility issues like Evan.”

“It was pleasing to see a home that we, as a family, would be able to move straight into and live in without needing to make expensive modifications or to struggle with basic living tasks like showering or toileting.”

If every home built in NZ implemented this kind of Universal Design, performance standard, man New Zealand would well and truly be a world leading/inclusive country!

Evan and I scored this Universally Designed Lifemark® show home a 9.5/10!

To read more about this show home click here…

To see Michael and Evans Lifemark® 5-Star home click here… …

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