Aging In Place

Aging in Place Remodeling Contractors in Northern VA

We hear it from our clients all the time – they want to be able to continue living in their current or custom-built home regardless of what time and age bring. Aging in place, also known as universal design, means homeowners can safely, independently and comfortably stay in their home regardless of their age or physical ability level. Universal design addresses the need to remodel existing homes and design new homes to accommodate a family’s lifestyle now and for the future.

We Offer Aging in Place Design and Remodeling

Aging in place has quickly been embraced by the building industry because the benefits to homeowners are so clear. Nothing can match the freedom and dignity that come from being able to stay in your own home, maintaining friendships and community ties that you’ve built up over the years.

At Foley, we believe the aging in place model is a great concept. If there is one thing our four decades plus of experience has taught us, though, it is that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all design process. That also applies to aging in place. Every family – and every home – is unique. Some homes have a first-floor master suite, while others have all the bedrooms upstairs. Some have ground level entries and others have wide steps and porches.


Choosing Universal Design

Universal design is about products and home areas that can be used by the widest range of people. Not everyone who needs universal design is elderly, but many people who are older when they start to think about remodeling using the aging in place concept. We believe the best time to consider universal design is from the very start, but if you’re remodeling an existing home it’s a good idea to start putting universal design elements in place in case before you or other family members develop significant health or mobility issues. Universal design:

  • Considers the needs of all users, including those with disabilities
  • Adds flexibility to home design, allowing a greater variety of people to access and use it
  • Creates designs that can be adapted to a wide range of users’ needs
  • Incorporates fixtures and furnishings that are more ergonomic
  • Plans ahead by developing lifespan designs

If you’re unfamiliar with what the aging in place model is all about, here are just some of the recommendations experts make and options you can choose from.

Aging in Place Design Options

While this list is not all-inclusive, it should be a good start to get you thinking in the right direction as you consider what design features you would like to have in either your newly designed and constructed home or for a renovation or remodeling project.


  • Low maintenance materials, such as vinyl and brick
  • Decks, patios, or balcony surfaces at no more than a half-inch below the interior floor level.

Overall Floor Plan

  • Main living area on a single floor, including a full bath
  • No steps up or down between areas on the same level
  • Flush thresholds
  • A 5 square foot turn space in living area, kitchen, one bedroom and one bathroom
  • Hallways at a minimum of 48-inches wide and well lit. Many experts recommend wider.


  • Accessible path to the front of the home and at least one no-step entry into the home
  • Non-slip flooring in entryway
  • Doorbell in accessible location

More Options

Interior Doors

  • 36-inch doors with levered hardware
  • Plenty of windows for natural light
  • Easy to operate hardware

Garage or Carport

  • Wider areas to accommodate lifts on vans
  • A ramp to the doorway, if needed; if steps, then handrails recommended

Kitchen and Laundry

  • Adjustable and/or varied height counters, removable base cabinets, and lower wall cabinetry
  • Base cabinets with roll out trays and lazy susans
  • Pull-down shelving and glass-front cabinet doors
  • Open shelving for easy access to frequently used items
  • Multi-level prep areas to accommodate cooks of different heights, including those in transport or wheelchairs
  • Seated work areas
  • Pull-out spray faucets and levered handles


  • Installation of grab bars
  • Curbless stand-up showers and lower bathtubs for ease of access
  • A fold down seat in the shower
  • Toilets that are higher than standard toilets or that are height-adjustable
  • Slip-resistant flooring in bathroom and showers

Electrical, Lighting, Safety, and Security

  • Light switches, thermostats, and other controls placed in accessible locations no higher than 48 inches from floor
  • Rocker or touch light switches
  • High-tech security/intercom system that can be monitored, with the heating, air conditioning and lighting, from a smart phone or tablet
  • Home wired for security and computers
  • Reduced Maintenance/Convenience Features
  • Easy to clean surfaces
  • Central vacuum
  • Video phones and an intercom system

Some families also like the idea of a separate suite or apartment for a future caregiver, or a “flex room” with bath that can initially be used by children, converted into a home office, and then later used for an aging parent.

Reduced Maintenance/Convenience Features

  • Easy to clean surfaces
  • Central vacuum

Design for Everyone

At Foley Companies, we believe your home should be designed and built for the way you live throughout your entire life, so we incorporate the latest innovative techniques with thoughtful design to create spaces that will meet your ever-changing family needs and lifestyle.
Our design team are experts at creating universally-designed homes that are easily accessible yet stylish and attractive. We have the design build experience that will ensure your near and long-term needs are met in a professional yet friendly way.

Whether your family needs universal design features now or for down the road, they are a good long-term investment for your home. Our aging in place design approach embraces the idea that universal design elements should be well-incorporated into the overall make-up of your existing home, reflecting its existing character and style.