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Universal Design at Heartland Builders

About 12 years ago, our perception of home design changed when we built a home for a gentleman who used a wheelchair. This experience opened our eyes to the unique ways that a specially-designed home can facilitate an easier life for someone with a disability. Since then, we have built homes with mobility challenges in mind — for families with children facing those challenges as well as for people simply planning ahead.

Zero Step Entry

While these are great reasons to consider universal design, we also like to remind our clients that these features aren’t limited to helping those with disabilities. There are many benefits of universal design that can improve daily life for anyone.

Have you ever had to take a door off of its frame in order to get a large piece of furniture into a room? With universal design principles, you wouldn’t need to — your doors would simply be wider. Not to mention, think about how convenient and easy it would be to roll your children’s stroller directly into your home after a nice walk outside and not have to unload the kids first. These are just of two of many small, yet impactful ways that universal design makes life easier.

Universal Design
Wider doors, halls, and stairways.

With a spacious layout, universal design features help to make your home feel more open. Your home’s fewer hallways are wider than normal, along with any staircases and doors. This type of plan feels comfortable and inviting, and goes a long way in making your home welcoming to all!

Common features include:

  • Zero step entry (from garage and front door)
  • Zero step shower
  • Wider hallways
  • Wider doors
  • Wider stairs
  • Clear floor space (kitchen, laundry, and at least one bathroom)
  • Grab bar backing, levers vs. knobs, etc.

With a home built on universal design principles, you’ll find that your space feels open and comfortable. Whether you live with a disability or not, this type of design is certainly one that will lead to a happy home life. See if universal design is right for you, and check out Heartland Builders today!


Heartland Builders is a custom home builder located in Grand Rapids, MI. For more information on our homes, please visit www.heartlandbuilders.com, or call 616-205-5430.

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