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Should you sell the house and move, or stay and remodel?

Curbless shower wheelchair accessible vanity Universal Design bathroom by LEFF Design Build

Should you sell the house and move, or stay and remodel?

Consider the Remaining-in-Place approach to help you decide.

Also known as Universal Design, Design-for-All and Aging-in-Place, Remaining in Place is a design/build approach that ensures home environments will be safe, accessible and comfortable for everyone, regardless of age, size or abilities.


  • Makes sure elders can access rooms, use kitchen counters and maneuver bathrooms with ease and comfort.
  • Creates safe spaces for young children, highly functional privacy for teens, and reachable work areas for those with limited mobility.
  • Designs and builds flexibility into your home, whether your family is growing or you finally have the house to yourselves.

For LEFF, design and build to Remain-in-Place always means design that’s functional and beautiful. The very important functionality of Universal Design must also be warm, welcoming and aesthetically pleasing.

Any life stage is a good time to incorporate the principals of Remaining in Place, with design that accommodates needs as bodies change.

All generations benefit from Remaining in Place Universal Design.

Any life stage is a good time to incorporate the principals of Remaining in Place.

Questions to ask yourself and your family if you are trying to decide whether to sell and move, or remain in your home and remodel:

  1. Do you have a multi-generational family living together under one roof?
    • An elderly parent, toddlers and teens all have similar needs, from accessibility to safety.
  2. Do you love your current neighborhood? Does it have safe, walkable areas to shopping, schools or parks? Are you happy there, but your home is not fitting your families’ needs?
    • It’s much easier to change your home than it is to change your neighborhood.
    • Remaining-in-Place is a holistic approach that takes not only your home, but your neighborhood and lifestyle into consideration.
  3. Are you or other family members over age 55 (or will be in the next few years)?
    • Nearly 90% of people over age 65 want to remain-in-place as long as possible.
  4. Is anyone in your home having problems accessing the following areas:
    • Entry to home or other levels of the house, or the family room?
    • Easy and independent use of bathroom tub, shower or sinks?
    • Ability to safely prepare food on kitchen counters, or reach and use the stove safely?
LEFF construction universal design wheelchair ramp to home entry

The steep driveway made this home inaccessible to a wheelchair. The new ramp allows safe entry. When the landscape matures the path will be surrounded by greenery and flowers.

Next steps you can take to determine if Remaining-in-Place will work for your family:

Walk through your home. Using principles of Universal Design (Remaining-in-Place), you can evaluate your existing environment and discover which areas could benefit from this approach. Here are the Principles of Universal Design:

  1. Equitable Use:
    • The design is useful to people with diverse ages, needs, and abilities.
  2. Flexibility in Use:
    • The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
  3. Simple and Intuitive Use:
    • It’s easy to understand how to use the design regardless of age, knowledge, language or concentration level.
  4. Perceptible Information
    • The design communicates effectively to the user, regardless of the user’s sensory abilities (blindness, for example).
  5. Tolerance for Error
    • Hazards are minimized by the design (safety).
  6. Low Physical Effort
    • The space can be used efficiently and comfortably, with minimum fatigue.
  7. Size and Space for Approach and Use
    • The space provides plenty of space for approach, reach and usability, regardless of the user’s body size, posture or mobility (wheelchair access, counter heights).

Sign Up for our next LEFF Workshop! The Topic:

Universal Design: Making Your Home More Accessible, Safe & Comfortable For All
Presented by:
Dave Leff, CEO/President, LEFF Construction Design Build  and
Jeffrey R. Rexford, Senior Design/Universal Design Certified Professional,  LEFF Construction Design Build

Universal Design, also known as Remaining-in-Place (and Aging-in-Place) is a thoughtful design approach that is defined as “aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life.” When applied to living spaces, Universal Design can include everything from curbless showers, grab bars and lever-handle faucets for wheelchair users, to non-slip floors and low-counter-heights for children. Universal Design is design for all.

The first half of the workshop program, given by Dave Leff, demonstrates how the Design Build process results in more cost effective, efficient and less-stress remodel projects.

Jeffrey R. Rexford, a Senior Designer at LEFF and a Certified Universal Design Professional, will present the principles of Universal Design, and show examples of how they can be applied to your home to benefit your entire family.

LEFF has been presenting free workshops for Sonoma County homeowners for many several years….seats are limited, and they fill up fast. So sign up today!



Questions? Need more information?

We have 39 years of experience integrating sustainable design that enables families to live in their homes for generations. Give us a call at 707.823.4899 or email us and let’s talk about how we can help you and your family Remain-in-Place.

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