Archive for the 'Barrier free' Category

June 27th, 2013
By Deb Villeneuve

Designed with the same “ES” inspiration as plan 2939-ES, Drummond House Plans new approach includes plan
3240-ES, another application of the strategy that encompasses quality of construction, air, energy efficiency, ecologically and ergonomically superior design to create a truly superior home.

The Environmentally Superior concept includes optimal implantation, construction and landscaping details that will enhance the livability of your home. Save on energy costs with advice on choosing the best plumbing and electrical appliances and help you age in place with your home because of a design that considers the possible evolution required if mobility issues arise.

Plan 3240-ES features a 3 bedroom plan on one level with 9’ ceilings throughout, a two-car garage, an open kitchen/living/dining area with a fireplace, built ins and access to a covered 20’ x 14’ terrace that is also accessible from the master bedroom. The 450 sq. ft. attic/storage space can be attained via a fold-up star case in the garage.

To find out more about this superior concept in complete home design, we invite you to consult and comment on plan 2393-ES

June 20th, 2013
By Deb Villeneuve

In an attempt to enhance the quality of construction with regards to energy efficiency, economy, Drummond House Plans proposes a new and innovative approach to ecologically and ergonomically designed house plans that include pertinent details on how to achieve an Environmentally Superior home or chalet.
Case in point, plan 2939-ES, whose details include specifications on optimal orientation to inhibit the harsh rays of the sun in the summer and benefiting from this passive heat source in the winter months while taking maximum advantage of the surrounding panoramic view. Learn invaluable ways to plan your landscaping to make full use of rain water, shade benefits of some trees and wind breaking characteristics of others.
Discover the best ways to make use of the ever increasing number of “recycled” construction materials and be assured that your contractor uses the best practices when it comes to recovering the inevitable waste materials from your project.
Environmentally Superior designs include details about construction methods using low V.O.C. (volatile organic compounds) and the installation of the best suited HVAC components to ensure a healthy living environment with optimal air quality and humidity management.
Details of how to reduce energy consumption start with the construction methods used for the foundation and extend to choosing the best appliances and appropriate lighting. Certified fixtures, such as an on demand water heater, can contribute to energy savings by limiting excessive consumption of this costly resource.
To enhance the aging in place aspect of this home, plan 2939-ES is designed for day to day living on the same level. The main floor boasts an entrance foyer, a kitchen with a movable island, a living/dining room complete with cathedral ceiling and place for a fireplace or wood burning stove. The master bedroom is complete with a private bathroom and a laundry area close by.
Another thoughtful aspect of this design is the 4’ wide hallway and a linear staircase that can be fitted with an elevator to access the second floor if need be to adapt the home for a mobility restrained occupant. The bathroom in the master bedroom can be fitted with all of the required security features in the event that this becomes necessary.

Discover 3240-ES, designed with the same concept in mind, we look forward to hearing your comments about this new trend in more livable homes!

May 31st, 2013
By Deb Villeneuve

In the near future, Drummond House Plans will be introducing plan models with the ES suffix


What does ES mean?

ES is short for Environmentally Superior.

We’re not just talking about the “green” respect for the environment as in the use of ecologically responsible materials and practices aimed at reducing the carbon footprint of the project but also the living environment within.


What makes a house plan Environmentally Superior?

From the choice of local suppliers to reduce transportation of materials, and the resulting use of fuels with the inherent damage to the ozone layer, to the use of salvaged materials such as recycled drywall and paint, giving them a second life.

Optimal ventilation systems, low VOC products are designed and enhanced insulation as well as orientation that takes advantage of the passive elements of the environment surrounding the home which includes plantings outside that respect the local weather conditions and water requirements to help take the burden off  of mechanical heating and cooling systems while adding to the natural beauty of the exterior environment and the livability of the interior environment.

An ES home includes planning for the recycling of the on site waste which is an inherent part of any building project.

But there’s more…

An ES design has not only today’s comfort in mind but also looks to the future with an adaptability of design that can evolve with the occupants’ needs over the years.

A three bedroom home may no longer be practical as the owner’s become empty nesters and the need for an enlarged bathroom may arise due to mobility issues. Hallways have also been designed to accommodate special requirements that may develop over time.

The Environmentally Superior concept has a global vision of optimization of all that touches the home owner inside and out, for now and in the future.


In the upcoming weeks, we will be posting these exciting new designs on our site and we invite you to share your comments or questions with us.


September 20th, 2012
By Vivian Martin

As we grow up, grow older or welcome new people into our homes, our needs as homeowners can change. A house that is designed, built or renovated according to the principles of universal design can help your home keep pace with changes in your family’s needs….and create a safer and more accessible environment for anyone who lives or visits there, regardless of their age or physical ability.

To help you make sure your is accessible to everyone, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers the following tips on what you should consider when creating or renovating your living space:

If you’re designing a new home or planning significant renovations, open-concept floor plans are generally more accessible than floor plans with smaller enclosed rooms.

Consideration should also be given to the location of each room. For example, it’s a good idea to keep the kitchen close to the dining area, and noisy spaces (such as a TV or recreation room) away from quiet spaces (such as bedrooms).

To make your home easier to access by people with mobility impairments, install a zerostep entry and make at least one half-bathroom accessible to someone in a wheelchair. You should also consider whether you need doors in all rooms and, where they are needed, and what type they should be. All main interior doors should have an opening width of at least 810 mm (32 inches).

If someone in a wheelchair, walker or scooter lives in or regularly visits your home, your hallways should be at least 1220 mm (48 inches) wide, with a turn-around space at all entrance areas, foyers and at the ends of hallways. Ideally, a path at least 915 mm (36 inches) wide should be provided into and through all living spaces.

When planning shelving or storage units, consider the different reaching abilities of your family members, as well as how those abilities might change over time. Adjustable shelves can always be changed as needed.

Lighting can also contribute to both the ambiance and safety of your home. To enhance safety, the lighting should be bright and consistent, especially along hallways and stairs. Permanent night-lights next to bedrooms and bathrooms can also be a good idea.

The choice of materials and finishes in your home will depend on your taste, budget and personal preferences. But remember that these choices may affect the usability of your home. For example, contrasting colours and textures in wall may help people with low vision identify primary routes and functional areas.

When buying furniture, choose pieces that are sturdy and stable. If someone in your family has difficulty getting up from a seated position, consider providing at least one chair with a firm cushion, stable arm rests and a seat height of at least 450 mm (18 inches).

To improve the acoustic quality of a room and reduce background noises for anyone who is hearing-impaired, you can add “soft” elements to the room such as carpets, drapes, upholstered furniture and acoustic ceiling tiles. For people who are visually-impaired, “hard” surfaces such as ceramic flooring or metal paneling can help enhance reflected sounds and assist with orientation needs, make a living area more “acoustically alive”.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is the Government of Canada’s national housing agency. They help Canadians gain access to a wide choice of quality, affordable homes.

You can access our CMHC information through retail outlets and CMHC’s regional offices… or visit You’ll find a wealth of information on the website and it is constantly being updated.

July 7th, 2012
By Vivian Martin - Plan # 3276, The Tidewell – Plan # 3276, The Tidewell

Following a survey on our website with close to 500 respondents, consensus was a desire for available universal access or wheelchair-modified plans. We are pleased to unveil a second accessible plan. Accessible homes are not only for the comfort of the residents but also ensure visitability of the home, allowing enjoyment of the home by all!

Like plan 3275, it proposes easy access via gentle ramps at the front and rear and barrier-free thresholds. A sheltered rear 12ft x 18ft terrace is sure to extend the season for outdoor enjoyment.

Inside, the house is characterized by pleasing in-floor heating of the concrete slab floor, abundant natural light in the activities areas and 9ft ceilings throughout the ground floor. A dual-height kitchen island allows inclusive casual meals and kitchen prep areas. The bathroom is similarly appointed with dual-height vanities. Even the toilet and bathtub and shower have been carefully considered, allowing space for a wheelchair or walker and reinforced points for grab-rail support. All halls are 5 feet wide and wider doors facilitate access and movement in different rooms.

The key differences between this model and 3275: three bedrooms instead of two with bedroom one and two being larger, a larger attached garage and classical exterior rather than contemporary treatment. 

Barrier-free homes like this are exceptionally comfortable for all residents and sure to provide a home for graceful aging-in-place.

For full details on this plan, click here…

Looking for other Wheelchair Accessible,  or Single-Storey House Plans? Check our Accessible Design Collection,  Bungalow and One-Level Design Collection, or use our Advanced Plan Search to find homes with specific features.

Want to receive all of our newest designs directly by email? Create  a “New House Plans – Latest Trends” Alert  and be the first to see all of our new releases!

June 23rd, 2012
By Vivian Martin - Plan # 3275, The Aurora – Plan # 3275, The Aurora

Following a survey on our website and through the participation of nearly 500 respondents, we are pleased to introduce the first of two plans designed for people with limited mobility or confined to a wheelchair. This design in not only ideal for the residents but also allows the home to easily accommodate guests or visitors of all abilities.

A slight exterior ramp is aesthetically pleasing and a door sill set into the floor allows barrier-free access. This also applies to the back of the house where we find a beautiful sheltered terrace of approximately 18 ft x 12 ft.

Inside, this house is characterized by 5-foot wide corridors, and the particular care given to enlarge spaces and include widened doors for easy access and movement in different rooms. The interior also features a kitchen with dual-level bar for inclusive meal-times, an adapted bathroom with laundry included, double vanity and adjustable shower combined with a bath with lots of storage and integrated grab-bars. For further comfort, note the presence of heated concrete slab floors, additional care to the lighting of activities areas and 9 ft ceilings throughout.

For more details on this plan, click here…

Looking for other Wheelchair Accessible,  Single-Storey or Modern Contemporary House Plans? Check our Accessible Design Collection,  Bungalow and One-Level Design CollectionModern Contemporary Design Collection, or use our Advanced Plan Search to find homes with specific features.

Want to receive all of our newest designs directly by email? Create  a “New House Plans – Latest Trends” Alert  and be the first to see all of our new releases!

May 22nd, 2012
By Vivian Martin

Picking the best toilet seems like it should be straighforward — but it isn’t. Trouble is, there are many variables to consider. But at the end of the day, certain toilets tend to rise to the occasion. Terry Love, who is a plumber and plumbing blogger, loves his Toto toilets. Consumer Reports and Consumer Search, which is a meta-analysis of a whole host of reviews, also give props to some American Standard, Kohler and Gerber toilets. For the lowdown on the latest toilets, read on…

Some notes:

• Most of these toilets are low-flow or low-consumption (1.6 gallons per flush or less)
• Most work by gravity not by pressure, like the older toilets. Gravity mechanisms are easier to repair and more effective but are not a great choice for homes with poor plumbing systems.
• Many of these are available in either standard height or “comfort height”/ADA height, which means they sit higher off the ground.
• Most come with an elongated shape or a round shape (better for smaller spaces but I find less comfortable)
• Many have a special coating on the bowl itself to help prevent staining
• You can choose between two-piece toilets and one-piece. The latter are generally more expensive but easier to clean and may look more sleek.

Read more on which toilets are receiving favorable ratings…

March 1st, 2011
By Vivian Martin

People who inhabit and visit the houses we live in come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from infants to seniors, with various ever-changing abilities and skills. As we grow up, grow old and welcome new people to our homes, our housing needs change. A house or dwelling that is designed and constructed to reflect the principles of universal design will be safer and more accommodating to the diverse range of ages and abilities of people who live in and visit these homes.

When Should You Consider Using a Ramp?

A ramp can be used to overcome changes in level, either on the inside or outside of a home, as an alternative to using stairs.

A ramp is ideal for people who are having difficulty negotiating stairs for various reasons, be it the need to carry heavy objects between levels, move a child in a stroller, or because of a disabling condition. Providing both stairs and a ramp at changes in level will allow people to choose the option that best suits their needs, resulting in a flexible and more universally accessible design.

Ramps are particularly useful for overcoming changes in level up to about 760 mm (30 in.), from the ground level to the level of an entrance for example. Using ramps for greater changes in level requires a great deal of space — which may or may not be practical. If you are faced with a big change in level, installing a lift or residential elevator may be a better strategy than constructing a ramp (see Accessible Housing by Design — Lifts and Residential Elevators). The physical and monetary costs associated with both options should be fully explored when deciding which option will accommodate the greatest number of users.

Ramp Design Strategies

There are typically two strategies used for ramp design: a landscape approach and a structural approach.

Landscape Approach

This approach incorporates landscaping, gently sloping walkways and grading to overcome changes in level (see Figure 2). A safe path with a gentle slope can be built without railings (unless there are abrupt drop-offs on either side, or users need them), resulting in an integrated, low-key design that does not look like a traditional ramp.

The landscape approach is generally limited to smaller changes in level.

Structural Approach

The structural approach involves building a ramp structure — usually using wood-framing construction (see Figures 3 and 4). This results in a more noticeable structure, although its visual impact can be minimized through creative design, landscaping and finishes.

The most common ramp configurations are:

  • Straight
  • Switch-back 
  • U-shaped 
  • L-shaped 

Angled ramps may also be used, but remember that the start and finish of the ramp must incorporate a straight approach. Curved ramps are not recommended as they make steering a wheelchair, walker or scooter very difficult. In some cases, depending on the length of the ramp, landings may be required as resting points.

Read the full CMHC fact sheet on ramps for design considerations and construction options for adding a ramp to your existing property or new home. 

(Source: CMHC – About Your House – General Series)

February 16th, 2011
By Vivian Martin

I love to hear about building material innovations. With that being said, I also tend to wait until the pros have had a chance to work with and evaluate the pros and cons of new materials. In 2010, a new tile substrate called Kerdi-Board from Schluter Systems was introduced to the North American market. This product may very well change the way ceramic, porcelain and stone tiles are installed, especially in high-moisture areas.

Kerdi-Board consists of a core of rigid structural foam sandwiched with a waterproof and felted membrane. When combined with the system adhesives, seam tapes and drain systems, potential water damage to the underlying structure is virtually eliminated. Available in thicknesses from 3/16” to 2”, it cuts with a knife, is light in weight, impervious to water and insulative. The 2” thick Kerdi-Board can even be used to build partitions, benches and tub surrounds. It almost seems too good to be true and if it did not come from a company with a strong loyalty in the tilesetter world, I would be skeptical.

New materials only become mainstream when they boost installation efficiency and cut down on installation costs. A lot of DIY folks get sticker shock when they see the price of Schluter products but the pros know that they can be confident with their installation and long-term performance. The product is light, strong, cuts quietly and dustlessly, prevents movement of water and water vapour and provides thermal insulation (great for steam showers).

kerdi-board shower application

At this time, I could not find Kerdi-Board in any of the big box stores in Canada but tile specialty shops carrying Schluter products can have it ordered in if they do not already stock it.

If you have any comments on this product or if you have pictures of this product in use, we would love to share it with our readers.

Thanks for visiting the DrummondHousePlans Blog!

October 27th, 2010
By Vivian Martin

This bathroom has an interesting contemporary style. What may not be obvious at first glance, however, is that this is a wheelchair-friendly space.

The sink is designed with clearance underneath to allow a wheelchair to slide under it. The towel rack also works well for someone in a seated position. Notice the cabinet on casters along the back wall. This keeps the storage unit out of the way when not needed.

The cupboard along the left wall is also wheelchair friendly. Shelves inside can be reached from a seated position, and a mirror on the inside door provides the opportunity for grooming from a seated position.

Most people think of “handicapped” bathrooms as functional but unattractive. However, as our population ages, manufacturers are responding with products designed for accessibility that are also inviting. Notice that this bathroom is also versatile, working well for someone standing as well as sitting.

Many people are now designing their homes with the goal of aging in place – having the ability to grow old while staying in their homes. Others are prepared to bring parents into their homes. A bathroom designed for someone with limited mobility is an important feature to help ensure that you or family members will be able to continue to safely stay in your home.

You may follow other bloggers participating in the Bathroom Blogfest on Facebook or Bathroom Blogfest on Twitter.

Article Credit: Dolphin Carpet & Tile Blog


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