15 Solutions To Improve Your Home During Its Construction Or Renovation

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Winner of the  Universal Design Awards in Germany.


I take you to France, next to Chantilly, to visit this house whose project management team won the Universal Design Award in Germany in 2009.

The Universal Design AwardsHave two categories. One is a competition with a jury of professionals, the other is a jury of consumers. In 2009, this project won the competition in both categories.

Universal Design Awards in Germany

Universal Design Consumer favorite in Germany


This detached house is located on a plot of 2000 m² in the Chantilly forest next to Paris .

Surgery :

The accommodation dates back to the 80s and has an area of ​​about 200 sqm . This renovation project is the result of a collaboration between Mr. Jean-Yves Prodel , consultant in Universal Design and Mr. Stéphane Du Bois , architect.

Quote from the design team Mr. Jean-Yves Prodel and Mr. Stéphane Du Bois  :

The primary objective of this project is to facilitate the psychological and sociological changes that all people are likely to encounter in life. And with the products that one finds in the trade, it is possible to design a beautiful home that will adapt with age and new technologies .

This house originally had a narrow corridor that served the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and toilet. The project consisted of rethinking the ground floor into a more open space including a kitchen with a central island overlooking the dining room and the living room . The private areas  : bedroom, bathroom and toilet have been enlarged for better circulation . The second bedroom has been replaced by an office with a 4-meter long bay window in the east and the construction of an extension of 100 m² has completed the project to accommodate a swimming pool with spa, a garage Double and a studio upstairs. The location of a future elevator is provided in advance for the studio.

The electric heating system has been replaced by a geothermal heating system . And the whole house benefits from an electrical system in home automation KNX (Light, safety, opening, heating, communication).


The main access of the house is through an electric gate with a surveillance camera , inserted in one of the pillars. The opening of this one is done by a system of digicode and home automation . The height of the mailbox was chosen in order to be accessible whether sitting or standing . The route from the street to the door of the house, is done by a gentle slope , in asphalt,   less than 5% without rises .

 Outside lighting:

The use of exterior crepuscular cells , directed towards the ground, for exterior lighting avoids any glare. This controlled system is programmed on a PC dedicated to the whole house automation system . It is also designed to work on I-Pad.

 Interior lighting:

The focus was on maximum natural lighting through large windows and roof windows . The entire interior lighting system is managed by home automation .

 Entrance :

The door is opened by remote control with color keys (intuitive use). The entrance door, made of solid wood, is composed of 2 magnetic suckers and a semi-circular handle   (ease of use). The adjoining wall has a window that provides natural lighting and allows to identify visitors from different heights. Installation of bay windows without bump between the exterior and the interior.


View on the kitchen

Creating a central island , whose use can be both sitting and standing . On one side there is a sink, an induction hob, a built-in BBQ and an extractor hood. On the other side: a wooden worktop with electrical outlets for the use of household appliances. The system for closing the storage is done by touching. The other worktops are made of Corian®.

 Electrical Installation :

The electrical outlets are located at  40 cm from the ground , the switches at 100 cm and those dedicated to home automation at 140 cm .


The bathroom and toilets . Have sliding doors which makes it possible to gain space in a non-negligible way and great ease of use. In addition, special attention has been paid to the choice of door handles for their ergonomic quality.

Bathroom, sanitary and spa:


The bathroom has a walk-in shower with a height-adjustable folding seat from Pressalit Care® and a hanging washbasin . The whole bringing comfort of use and feeling of security . The sanitary surface of 2.40 m² has toilets hanging 50 cm from the ground and a wash hand. The wall adjoining the toilets integrates in its structure a discreet and very aesthetic horizontal support bar. The spa basin accommodates an IGAT 180 seat allowing any type of swimmer to enjoy it.

 Automation :

  • Exterior and interior lighting
  • Motorized shutters
  • Security system

Challenges and objectives:

Chantilly-vue extérieur winter

The main challenge of this renovation has been to make the most discreet possible, see invisible , the facilities that allow a person to live independently and as long as possible in a dwelling.

The project had to respect certain key constraints for the customer:

Project Constraints:

  • Being aesthetic
  • be accessed
  • Physical demand reduced to a minimum
  • Be economically affordable
  • Be easy to use and intuitive
  • Offer equality and independence for all ages
  • Being environmentally friendly

The principles of universal design and sustainable environmental solutions have been fully applied , whether in the choice of materials or in the choice of products in order to achieve this ambitious objective.

Space and light:

From numerous and large openings on the outside allow a maximum amount of natural light. Associated with the decompartmentalization of interior spaces , the result is spacious .

Flexibility of use:

All ceilings have openings in the event of new wiring.

Universal design features

  • The electric gate
  • Magnetic suction door
  • videophone
  • Home automation switches with color icons
  • No jump at access doors and bay windows
  • Outside level less than 5%
  • Doors of 90 cm
  • Sliding doors
  • Sliding closets and easy access
  • Spacious kitchen in suspended island
  • Glazed bay windows
  • Washbasin and wc suspended
  • Italian shower
  • Grab bar wc integrate with the design
  • IGAT 180 seat for swimming pool

Characteristics of sustainable environmental solutions:

  • Vertical Geothermal
  • Magnetic water softener

Project management team:

  • Architect: Stéphane Du Bois , realization and follow-up of renovation works and extension-home automation .
  • Consultant: Jean-Yves Prodel , design ground floor in 3d of the kitchen, toilet, bedroom and bathroom. Universal design consultancy for the entire renovation.


  • KNX Home automation system
  • IGAT 180 seat for swimming pool
  • Corian worktop®
  • Pressalit Care Folding Seat

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