The Accessible Home: Designing for all ages and Abilities by Deborah Pierce

Accessible HomeSometimes life deals us a curve ball that forces us to adapt.  Adapt to the circumstance and sometimes adapt our lifestyle and the place we call home.  Statistics to consider: 3 out of 100 babies born in the United States have significant birth defects.  Healthy adults have a 1 in 4 chance of being disabled at least 3 months at some point in their lives with the average long term disability lasting 2.5 years.  Add to that age and illness and there is a good chance that many of us will need to make a home accessible.  Deborah Pierce, author of The Accessible Home: Designing for All Ages & Abilities, had those statistics in mind when she wrote this book.   She was designing a home for a couple who had a 6 year old with cerebral palsy.  Medical rehab specialists could recommend adaptive products, but nothing for design modifications.  Finding the information and ideas she needed was difficult.  After her experience she wrote this book to “take accessibility out of its closet”.

accessible 2Pierce states that “well-planned accessible homes lift the spirits and enhance dignity.”  In addition she believes that “design is the process of articulating a problem, exploring alternatives, and envisioning a solution…”  She walks the reader through the process of adaptive design so they can make well-planned alterations to their living spaces.   She does this by looking at the activities that happen in a given space.  For instance she has chapters on “Preparing and Cooking Meals”, “Personal Hygiene and Care”, and “Approach and Arrival”.  She also looks at the type of home.  Is it a historic home that needs alterations?  Perhaps it is multistory or a child-centered home.  This book proves that adaptive design can be both practical and beautiful.

The Accessible Home: Designing for all ages and Abilities moves adaptive design beyond grab-bars and access ramps to beautifully designed homes that welcomes everyone regardless of age or ability.

Photo credit: The Accessible Home Facebook page

Susan Schafer

I am a Public Services Specialist working in reference and media. Additionally, I work with the Home Neighborhood collection and Book Group in a Bag. Not surprisingly, I like to read, especially mysteries. I love to travel and I have a very long list of places I want to visit.