New home builders, whether they use modular or off-site construction, rarely spend enough time talking about what their buyers want in the future. But that has to change.
Let’s start off with this – I am 6’ tall. Most things that are considered standard in housing don't work for me. Period. Look at my daily life and what I deal with on just two features:
What I have What I need
Bathroom Vanity 32” 35”
Outlets 12”-16” off floor 18”-24”
Why? Bending! Most people who design and build homes don’t think about product placement. If you’re going to put in outlets, switches, countertops etc. – why not adjust the few inches? Overall, it makes a difference in all lives no matter what the height. When a tall person must bend, the first thing they say after a few minutes is “my back is aching” If they don’t say it, they are thinking it.
When I say tall, I’m not talking about 6’ plus people. I’m talking about 5’8” and such.
When I was presenting at a builders’ conference a few years back, I started to talk about products, height, cause and effect and everything else that was thrown my way. When I asked “why” with the product placement I was quickly given the answer “because that’s what is on the plan and that’s what code is”
Code for outlets counts for the spacing in between each outlet and not the height of each outlet. Height for the switches is a suggestion and not a rule. I realized early on the building industry follows its pattern, and that pattern could maybe benefit from a new vision.
Let’s now go to the lowest seat in the U.S. – the commode!
The standard commode height from the floor is 15”. Do you realize that is 3” above a 12” ruler? Put another way, it’s 2” longer than my shoe! Here we go again – being tall at 6’ (72”) and having to sit down to 15” …has me saying a prayer and hoping my legs can get me back up every single time. Let’s look at that line of thought for a 5’8” (68”) or a 5’5” (65”) person. No matter what the height, you will find another telling you that the commode, our blessed toilet is too low!
OK, so let’s look at the Comfort Height commode. This commode is 17”-19” off the floor that gives another possible 4” in height from the basic standard. If this is all we have in height adjustment, then it should become the new standard commode in each dwelling.
Overall, I’m just trying to point out that your typical customer doesn’t mind the height changes as they will most likely never even know. But the customer or guest who will benefit from it should be handed your brochure that is pointing these features out! Not only the features, but the reason for its benefit.
Tip in marketing: You need to tell people what they need to know. It is then that they will turn around and ask you for it.
Valerie Jurik-Henry uses her speaking platform to inform industry professional and the consumer about The Ageless Home®
One home design thought for ALL generations of home buyers.
As an adjunct professor, Valerie has educated at Wake Tech College in North Carolina on Ageless Living by Design. She has also spoken at The International Builders Show as well as at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) about creating home design for all ages. Additionally, she has an Ageless educational class with AIA (American Institute of Architects) and, as of 2021, has a class “Ageless Living by Design” with NC Licensing Board for General Contractors to provide CE (continuing education) credits to industry professionals.