Writer. Speaker. Educator. Designer. Consultant.
I built this company in 1993 to assist private homeowners & design-build professionals around the country achieve state-of-the-art solutions for kitchen and bath designs.
Our specialized expertise in universal/accessible design sets us apart from any other design firm you'll find in our hometown of Brookfield, CT. We provide solutions that support your living needs and express your personal style. These specialists will develop harmonious kitchen and bath solutions from the many complex and diverse components and options available. Whether you're a builder, architect, or homeowner, this award winning organization will help you create the one-of-a-kind space that training and experience is uniquely able to provide.
At a point in my career and life in general when I was asking if I could hope to make a difference in the world, I turned the focus of my kitchen and bath design work to people with disabilities. A past client, now friend and advisor, encouraged me to put my love of people and of creating these two types of spaces together. It was my grand scheme that I would work with each client as I had been, establishing the needs and parameters of the project, and creating a kitchen or bathroom that more than accomplished the goals. The difference would be that the client's needs would be non-traditional. The design team would include medical advisors, and the results would be not only beautiful and new, but newly open to the client.
One of my first projects was a bath remodel. The goal was to enable the client to transfer independently and to do so into a tub, rather than a shower. The day the job was complete, I received a call from the client thanking me and telling me that she was celebrating her first bath in 15 years. I was hooked. Most of us have to make a living, but not all of us can have the joy in work that I have found.
While my clients with disabilities were growing in numbers, I continued to work with builders, architects, and referrals from previous clients. I learned that much was possible using the same lovely parts and pieces that had always been a part of the package, but they had to be used in non-traditional ways. I learned that many of the things I designed to support or give access to a client with a disability would also improve the space for an able-bodied client. In fact, I learned that the question to ask clients was what they wanted of a new space, not based on what they already knew a kitchen or bath could do, but on what they wished it could do. Aha! My focus need not be people with disabilities to the exclusion of others, but improved flexibility and access for all clients. What a concept! Of course, that concept is universal design, and so I entered, through the back door, into the world of believers in universal design.
Where We Are Today
We still have such a long way to go, but we are building momentum. Whether an ideal to work towards or an attainable goal, universal design is gaining attention. It should be our objective that one day every designer of space or product will consider universal design principles just as integrally as the other elements and principles of design. We will no longer need a name - we will simply acknowledge as quality only those creations that respect the diversity in people.
- Advanced degrees/education in design and education
- Certified Kitchen Design/Bath Design
- Teacher/Speaker for the national Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA)
- Repeat award winner, NKBA Design Competition
- Award winner, Best in Seniors Housing, NAHB
- Multiple Universal Design award winner, AIA, Easter Seals, Century 21, National Endowment for the Arts, National Building Sciences Museum
- Author of Universal Kitchen and Bathroom Planning (McGraw Hill) and Gracious Spaces (McGraw Hill)
- Frequent design columnist and national speaker and television spokesperson
- BS in Interior Design
- Designs featured in Builder Magazine, This Old House and Sunset Magazine
- Seniors Housing Design Award
Our Philosophy: Universal Design
Born out of efforts to improve access for people with disabilities, Universal Design incorporates concepts that improve function and access for every household member and guest with regard for varying age, size and abilities.
A part of every project we design, universal features improve function and flexibility in any space or product, with respect for differences in age and ability.
Our team of recognized leaders in the field of Universal Design respond to the changing needs of your household over the life-span of your home.
Our Process: Hands On Help
Our award-winning design team will work with you to clarify your needs and translate the complex, diverse components and options available into a cohesive plan for excellence.
Can be tailored to your needs, whether you are a home-owner or a realtor, or a large or small builder or remodeler, an architect, a manufacturer, or a community-based service organization.
Our Clients Include:
- Home owners
- Home builders and Remodelers
- Architects and Developers
- Government and independent agencies
Articles & Publications
The Hartford Courant, Wednesday, October 18, 2000 - One Design Fits All, by Robin Stansbury (pdf)
Home - December 1999/January 2000, Home, page 133 (pdf)
Seniors' Housing News - Universal Design for the Active Adult Home, Fall 1999 (pdf