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2009 Livable Communities Awards

Green Lake Residence

Category: Architect-designed home: Adaptable design can accommodate multi-generations under one roof


Echoing the meaning of the company’s name, "Zai”—Japanese for "lifespan"—this urban home can accommodate dwellers over many years. The 3,300-square-foot property includes a unit on the bottom level with a that can double as an in-law or caregiver suite, with a kitchen and bathroom.

The home also features three stacked closets that are framed, sized, and wired for conversion into an elevator shaft. But before an elevator is installed, mobile residents can easily travel the existing staircase, which hugs the closet space and includes sections of five to six steps with landings in between. Tread lights illuminate stairs to help prevent falls.

A wide clearance between the kitchen island and countertop encourages easy maneuvering, and a wall oven helps cooks transfer food to and from the room's open counter space. Such features as cedar deck and a radiant floor heating system offer eco-friendly touches. The home's open, multipurpose living spaces allow for changes in the floor plan as occupants age. And, universally designed entryways, which feature level thresholds at all exterior doors and lever door handles, make it easy to walk in and out.

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