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International Builders’ Show Highlights Best of Accessible Design

International Builders Show

In January, the International Builders’ Show brought the best of home design to Las Vegas. The show highlighted many of the latest trends in universal design or design that makes it easier for people to live in their homes regardless of age or ability.

In addition, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) handed out awards to high-achieving professionals in the universal design field. Sherry L. Schwab, CAPS, CGR, president of HCS Construction Services in Bellevue, Wash., received the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) of the Year award for her community service. Vince Butler, CAPS, CGR, GMB, president of Butler Brothers Corp. in Manassas, Va., was honored as CAPS Educator of the Year for bringing the latest training and information to his community.

“NAHB’s Educators of the Year do more than teach classes. They inspire their students by sharing their personal experiences in the classroom and giving them new tools to be successful,” said Gaye Orr, CMP, MIRM, chair of the NAHB Education Committee and a sales and marketing professional from Raleigh, N.C.

Next year, the International Builders' Show will be held in conjunction with the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show.

Accessible Entry

How you enter and exit your home can make a huge difference in your quality of life. IBS unlocked the mysteries of accessible entry with these high-tech products:

LE Johnson Pocket Door

Traditional swinging doors can get in the way of wheelchair maneuverability by the sheer amount of space they occupy. Why not try L.E. Johnson Products’ Multi-Pass Pocket Door? The door enables up to three 400-pound doors to glide into the wall rather than swing out into the entryway. The company’s standard hardware, featuring 16-gauge steel components, prepackaged and custom track lengths, creates up to 12-foot-wide doorways.

Kolbe Aluminum Sill Ramp Kits

Door sills make mobility at door entrances tricky, but Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork’s Aluminum Sill Ramp Kits smooth the transition from indoors to outdoors. The kit is designed for Garden-Aire sliding patio doors, which feature wider doors to allow additional space for those who use mobility aids. Plus the bronze-anodized sills are ADA compliant.

Omni LTe Home Control System

Nexia Home Intelligence can bring your home to life with products including remotely managed door locks, heating and cooling systems, video surveillance, lights, shades and energy usage. The company’s latest product, the Schlage Touchscreen Deadbolt, offers keyless entry and built-in alarm technology. Homeowners can unlock the door from work, manage distinct key codes and settings, and receive text alerts if a lock is activated or an alarm is triggered.

Omni LTe Home Control System

If you’re using multiple home automation technologies, HAI by Leviton has a product to tie them all together. The Omni LTe Home Control System coordinates multiple subsystems including lighting, heating and air, security, audio/video, scenes and messaging. The system can be controlled via computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone as well as onsite from in-wall and tabletop touchscreens. “The Omni LTe acts as the brain of automated buildings by coordinating all of the systems within a space to communicate with each other to enhance security, save money and add peace of mind,” explains Jay McLellan, president of HAI by Leviton.

Windows to the World

It might seem like a little thing, but raising a window when you have limited mobility is tough work. Fortunately, Kolbe & Kolbe Millworks is designing products that let you bring in some fresh air:

Kolbe Crank Handle Window

If you can crank a window open but need to do so with less effort, Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork’s Crank Handle Kits are the perfect ticket. The bottom sash operates with minimal effort using one hand.

Kolbe Motorized Window

Still can’t get that window opened? Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork’s Motorized Operators give you some power to help open casement windows that are too high or out of reach. Simply press a button to operate. Operator covers are available in clay/rustic or white on Ultra and Heritage Series wood crank-out casements.

Creative Lifting

Sometimes a wheelchair just won’t get you where you need to go. These companies are designing creative lifts to help you move about your home with ease:

Harmar Pool Lift

Regardless of your need, Harmar has a pool lift that can help. From the P300 for new construction or paver mounting to the P400 heavy duty for existing cement decks, these lifts are designed to meet ADA accessibility requirements. These lifts also feature a smooth, quiet drive system, complete rotation for safe transferring, and rust-resistant steel and aluminum construction.

Harmar Helix Curved Stair Lift

Curved staircase tripping you up? Check out the Harmar Helix Curved Stair Lift. No staircase is too curvy for this lift, which navigates spirals, sharp angles, and left and right turns with ease. Mount the lift to the inside or outside of the stairway. Available in a wide range of colors and fabrics.

Garaventa Inclined Wheelchair Lifts

Space-saving is a little easier with Garaventa’s Inclined Wheelchair Lifts. This product line features lifts that fold up when not in use to give you extra room.

Savaria SL-1000 Stairlift

The Savaria SL-1000 Stairlift glides up and down straight stairs using onboard controls or remote control operation. The seat has adjustable width arms, and the system keeps a constant charge so the lift works even when your power doesn’t.

Savaria Eclipse Home Elevator

If an elevator is more your speed, the Savaria Eclipse Home Elevator takes up less space and takes less time to install than hydraulic elevators. The residential elevator comes with a wide variety of finishes including melamine, wood veneer and hand-crafted hardwood interior stained in your choice of color. But you’ll need professional help for installation.

About the Author

Elisha Bury is the editor of The Mobility Project. She can be reached at