Press Release:

Easy Living Home ‘Inclusive Design’ Showcase
In partnership with Habinteg Housing Association


The most demanding rooms in a modern home are the kitchen and bathroom. Designing these spaces to accommodate the needs and requirements of each member of the household is always a challenge. Add to this the flexibility required to accommodate the demands of different generations and the challenges of using a wheelchair and it is apparent that any design which can addresses all these issues must be extraordinary. Yet the design of two houses for Habinteg Housing Association, by interior designer Alison Wright are just the opposite – and this is why they are award winning they look - ordinary.

“So much design for disabled or older people ends up looking ugly because functionality overshadows the design.” says Alison, “The results can end up being stigmatising to the user by highlight their lack of ability. “

“It’s a difficult balance” admits Alison. “I disguise some of the functionality by using mainstream products, which work well on more than one level. In this way you can design-in different layers of support, which are invisible until they are needed. Using mainstream products can also work out cheaper than some disability products, making the design more affordable.”

In effect Alison demonstrates the ‘art of the possible’, how to make a home functional without compromising its good looks.

Challenged by Habinteg Housing Association to design the interiors of a wheelchair house and a multi-generational Lifetime Home, on their Westwood Park development in Bradford, Alison’s aim was to demonstrate how ‘inclusively’ designed mainstream products can be carefully combined to make homes fully accessible without compromising style. She worked closely with 26 UK manufacturers, who sponsored the project.

Chief Executive of Habinteg, Mike Donnelly said: “With the increase in interest in shared ownership we appreciate that more and more people want homes that are stylish and will maintain their resale value in the future. For us, Westwood Park is a demonstration of how high quality design can be brought to wheelchair accessible and Lifetime Homes.”

Baroness Chapman, chairperson of Habinteg and herself a wheelchair user said: “This is a bold experiment for Habinteg. We want disabled people to have the same level of choice that is available to everyone else. A great looking kitchen or bathroom is an aspirational thing; we want people to consider that in future every wheelchair access home or Lifetime Home should be designed to this standard.”

As a Director of Easy Living Home, Alison has applied ‘inclusive design’ principles to her work since undertaking research into how older people adapt their homes as their abilities change, during her 7 years as researcher at the world renowned Helen Hamlyn Research Centre. Now, along with her co-director, Occupational Therapist Kate Sheehan, Easy Living Home is offering their ‘inclusive design’ expertise to housing professionals such as occupational therapists, designers, architects, local authorities and developers as well as product designers and manufacturers, via their Easy Living Design Course, due to commence in Spring 2007.

“We all want our homes to look good,” says Alison, “but without inspirational examples to follow, it is difficult to know what to do, which is why we are especially grateful to Habinteg for making the Westwood Park houses available for us to demonstrate the ‘Easy Living Concept’.”

The cross-disciplinary pair are already creating waves as they challenge stereotypical attitudes to design for disability and the ageing population, with their award winning designs. They scooped a Kitchen & Bathroom Industry Award in February 2006 for their designs for leading bathroom manufacturer Armitage Shanks and last week were ‘Highly Commended’ at the International FX Interior Design Awards, 2006.

For further information please call Easy Living Home on 01477 544 446
or 07774 133 514 or email alison@easylivinghome.co.uk



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Easy Living Home is a trading style of the The Future Proof Home Company Ltd. Registered in England No. 4119641
Registered office address: Devonshire House, 60 Goswell Road, London EC1M 7AD