While Jackie Millea was a young designer, her career path took a profound turn, prompted by an unexpected event: Her father became a quadriplegic. Quickly, she realized that even a single stair represents a barrier to people whose mobility is impaired due to age or disability. Ever since, Jackie has considered it her social responsibility to design beautiful, functional spaces that accommodate and welcome anyone — and can remain livable throughout a person’s life.
Jackie has carried that commitment forward as a founding partner here at Shelter. In our portfolio, you won’t find a newly constructed residence without a zero-threshold entrance. Our homes also all accommodate single-floor living plans with accessible bathrooms.
In 2016, Jackie found a new, innovative way to further incorporate accessibility within design. She created Millea Living, a firm that produces residential daily living aids (DLAs) — such as shower benches and bed rails — that help people maintain independence at home after age, injury or disease has diminished their abilities and added potential danger to everyday tasks.
Years of assisting her father helped Jackie recognize that most DLAs are poorly designed, with little regard for aesthetics. They can make a home look — and feel — like a hospital, leading owners to feel embarrassed and others to feel uncomfortable around them. Millea Living DLAs feature on-trend designs with a choice of finishes, so buyers may personalize pieces to suit their style preferences. The products meet specific needs of people who buy them, yet they’re also appealing, timeless pieces of furniture that can serve multiple purposes. This encourages continued use rather than discarding of the products after their original owners can no longer use them.