How we do it.

Our focus on Design for All Ages and Abilities helps people stay in their homes during all stages of life. Shelter’s expertise in Design for All has been inspired by real life experiences and informed by years of designing new homes and renovating existing ones. Throughout our practice, we focus on creating livable environments. In that spirit, we are passionate about creating homes that support our aging population and disabled members of our communities.

Good design can support the way we live. Good design can keep us safe and comfortable in our homes throughout our lives. Many types of disabilities develop as we age, each appearing at a different rate and with a different degree of impairment for each of us. Low vision, diminishing hearing, loss of balance, reduced range of motion, and decreased mobility change the way we live in our homes. Shouldn’t homes be designed to allow us to age in place?

We consider access, safety, ease of movement, and usability when we design spaces for all ages and abilities. We also strive to keep these spaces beautiful and delightful, which are chief characteristics of all Shelter projects. We hope to help our clients feel empowered and autonomous as long as possible in their own homes.


Seven principles guide the design of products and environments that may be used by people of all ages and abilities.

  • Equitable Use
  • Flexibility in Use
  • Simple and Intuitive Use
  • Perceptible Information
  • Tolerance for Error
  • Low Physical Effort Required
  • Sized and Spaced for Approach and Use

Many considerations play into design for all ages and abilities.

  • Zero Threshold
  • Wide Doorways
  • Level Transitions in Flooring
  • Open Floor Plans
  • Main Level Living
  • Lever Door Handles
  • Grab Bars
  • Raised Toilets
  • Multiple Height Counters
  • Roll-Out Shelving
  • Task Lighting

Our ideas are tried and true.

We have designed projects that abide by the principles and considerations of design for all ages and abilities. Ask us about these projects:

  • 5ive
  • Kelley-Roy
  • Mroceck
  • Egbert
  • Sticks & Stones
  • Ellingson
  • Postelwaite

Design for all ages and abilities.

Design for all ages and abilities is an emerging field of thought and practice. Everyday we are learning about the products and approaches that enhance the work we do in this area. We have collected some thoughts about the topic, available here. We are also on the lookout for information from our friends and clients about this field. If you know about a great resource or have a personal story to share, reach out using our contact form!

Design for All Consultation

The Design for All consultation is an onsite meeting with an architect or interior designer from Shelter. We will assess challenges to accessibility in your home, brainstorm opportunities to create more livable spaces, and sketch renovation options if needed.

To schedule your Design for All consultation, just call us at 612-870-4081 or email us  and tell us about your project.

2-hour onsite consultation $350.00 for learning about your lifestyle, assessing challenges to and opportunities for accessibility in your home, brainstorming possibilities, project scoping, and ballpark pricing.