Special design of the LIFEhouse.

If you want to live in a lake house and live there for a long time, you might take a look at the LIFEhouse. This special concept house has just opened in Newport Cove, a waterfront community on the Chain O’ Lakes. The LIFEhouse is a home for all ages, designed to be especially safe for those under age six, over 60 and everywhere in between. It offers universal design features that make everyday living a little easier and that can accommodate more people for a longer time in their lives. Builder New American Homes calls it “a home for ALL of your life.”

The home was built in collaboration with the internationally renowned Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDEA CENTER), which is affiliate with the College of Architecture at the University of Buffalo, part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system.

It is a 2,000 square –foot living laboratory of a safer home that is more user-friendly for a wider range of people.
Susanne Tauke, owner of New American Homes, said that IDEA Center experts (architects, engineers) took a standard Newport Cove house plan and “tweaked” it to make it adhere to universal design principles.

“It makes sense to design accessibility into every home ,” she said. “Too often this means an ‘institutional’ feel. The goal of the LIFEhouse is to provide an attractive, stylish, yet easier-to-live-in house .”

From the outside, the LIFEhouse appears as a charming cottage. Tucked into the landscape and front porch design is an unobtrusive bricked ramp ready to accommodate those who might have issues with steps. Another plus is that the ramp makes moving things in an out of the house easier.

  Far from ordinary : The LIFEhouse at Newport Cove on Bluff Lake looks like an “ordinary” lake cottage, but special features inside and out make it unique. Throughout, special features like a kitchen where everything can be reached whether standing or sitting, are built in to the home . The LIFEhouse design helps residents of all ages and all abilities enjoy the home for more years of their lifetime.

The front door is 42 inches wide. There is no “step up”. Also making the ranch home accessible is an interior elevator that stops on the first floor, the garage and the finished lower level. The kitchen has a contemporary trendy look, yet it meets universal design satandards. The appliances – dishwasher, cooktop, oven, refrigerator ,microwave and warming drawer – are all within reach where a person is sitting or standing. The space is exceptionally well-lit with over cabinet, under cabinet, celling, pendant and natural lighting. Faucets, sinks and cabinets are compliant with the American With Disabilities Act (ADA).

Two of the three full baths serve those with special needs, while the third has many universal design features. The two accessible baths have double-bowl vanities with the bowls at two different levels, showers without curbs and with seats, multilevel faucets and comfort-height toilets, special lighting, memory niches and easy-to-use handles.

The doors, windows and cabinets, security features, green and low-maintenance materials all add to the home’s livability.

The house offers another 1,700 square feet to finished space in an English-style basement with ample windows. Here another bedroom and bath are available should the need arise. “This could be perfect for an elderly parent, an adult child coming home, or care-giver,” said Tauke, noting that the lower level is accessible via the elevator from the garage. A resident would not need to go through the main part of the home to reach it.

Corporate sponsors of the Newport Cove LIFEhouse include KitchenAid appliances, Kohler faucets and fixture Silestone quartz countertops, Pella windows, Sea Gull lighting fixtures, Leviton lighting switches, MidContinent cabinets, Carrier furnaces, Certaneed concrete fiber siding, M&S Tile and Stone, Home Technology System and PerfikDek decking and rails.

Newport Cove is located at Bluff Lake and Elime Roads in unincorporated Lake Country, just south of Anitoch on Bluff lake, one of the 10 lakes that comprise the Chain O’ Lakes. The community offers 67 single-family home-sites on 42 rolling acres. Forty percent of the development is open space, including an 8-acre waterfront park anchored by a community pavilion (with rest room and cooking facilities) and a marina with 100-plus boat slips. Home prices at Newport Cove start at $325,000.
The LIFEhouse, along with Newport Cove’s other model homes are open from noon to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday or by appointment. For further information, call Newport-cove at (847) 7262727or visit  www.newportcoveonline.com

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