For those of you who may live in modular or manufactured (mobile) homes, or are in the market for one, you can now get them all with universal/visitable design features such as level entries, wider hallways, lever handles, larger doorways, varying height kitchen counters, curbless showers, knee spaces at vanities, anti-scald controls, handheld showers, grab bars and blocking for them, extra space to maneuver in kitchens and baths, task lighting for various task including cooking, and easy to reach thermostats.
It doesn’t look as if they offer knee space for a wheelchair in the kitchen, 48″ electric outlets and light switches, adjustable height cooktops and sinks, pull-down upper shelves, etc., all of which are important for accessible design for someone in a wheelchair, or particularly short, but perhaps they can be added, or are on the drawing board for the future. This is certainly an excellent start, though, and some of these elements could probably be retrofitted after purchase, if need be.
And yes, the cute little cottage above is actually a mobile home, believe it or not – a double-wide. The kitchen below is also in one, although it clearly doesn’t show all of the universal design features. Click on the images to go to their photo gallery if you want to see more examples, or images of their modular homes.
Some manufacturers also offer high end finishes such as granite and marble, so you don’t necessarily have to sacrifice luxury just because you buy a home at this price point. I was in some mobile homes in my paramedic days that were nicer than many regular homes I’ve seen. Some also offer triple-wide homes, although I have no idea what universal design elements might be available.
Note: This is not an endorsement for this manufacturer, as I know nothing else about them. I’m just very interested that universal design features are now available for this kind of housing, and it’s likely that other manufacturers will follow suit, if they haven’t already.
I also don’t know if they offer formaldehyde-free homes, or if any manufacturer does. Formaldehyde at least used to be a major component in manufactured homes, so this very ungreen element could be an issue for a lot of people, both for those who are chemically sensitive, as well as those for whom green construction is a priority. Whether or not it would offset the advantages of the more universal design, if this chemical is still prevalent, would have to be an individual decision, although I certainly hope that these manufacturers are moving in this direction, as it’s the environmentally responsible thing to do.