A few years ago, I invited a couple to my home for dinner so that we could discuss plans for the new house they wanted to build. The husband had used a wheelchair for years, ever since an automobile accident at age 18. My 20-year-old home is not barrier-free, and it was an eye-opening experience to try to help him up the front steps and then watch him navigate our narrow doors and hallways in his wheelchair. The real moment of truth came after dinner, when he asked to use the rest room. Fortunately, the door to our first-floor bath was just wide enough that I didn’t have to resort to a chain saw.

That evening taught me in a very personal way the challenges that a wheelchair user faces. I decided then and there to build homes that all of my customers could use and enjoy, regardless of their age or physical ability.

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