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Accessible Home Showcases Design

Veteran receives house made to accommodate his aging mother

Home Matters Design Challenge


Walter Moody, right, presents his accessible house to his mother, Mary Moody, 77, who uses a walker and a wheelchair. Moody, a veteran, was awarded the home in a Home Design Challenge contest.

Only 1 percent of all houses in the U.S. are adequate for people to age in place. Army veteran Walter Moody, 55, now has one that is. He is the owner of a home in suburban Memphis, Tenn., remodeled as part of an effort by AARP, AARP Foundation, Home Matters, the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation and the Home Depot Foundation to showcase how a home could be redesigned for all ages. 

Architects and designers competed in a challenge to create an attractive, adaptable and affordable home design. The winning design, by IBI Group/Gruzen Samton, was incorporated into the Memphis house, whose title was transferred to Moody. He was chosen from a pool of qualified veterans.

Moody was living in a walk-up apartment and needed a place that could accommodate his 77-year-old mother, who uses a wheelchair and a walker. His new house has wide doorways, movable walls, no-step entries, a curbless shower, raised flower beds — all features that make the house livable for people of all ages and abilities.

“We view housing as the linchpin of well-being. It’s what drives our support for innovative designs that reshape the future of housing,” said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president of AARP Foundation. "We wanted to come up with a home that would stand the test of time for independent living.

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  • Design Challenge Home

    Curb Appeal

    The Home Design Challenge remodel of this suburban home in Memphis, Tenn., includes zero-step entries into the home, which lessens tripping hazards and allows easier access for wheelchairs and strollers. The large windows allow lots of light to enter the home and the raised flowerbeds make them visible from indoors. 

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  • Home Matters Design Challenge

    Kitchen Upgrade

    The home's old kitchen, right, was updated, left, with cabinets and drawers that have easy-to-grasp D-shaped pulls and handles rather than knobs The flooring is smooth with wide space between counters to allow for ease of flow between work surfaces. 

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  • Home Matters Design Challenge

    Now We're Cookin'

    The remodeled kitchen's appliances were upgraded with large information displays that offer simple and convenient functions.

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  • Home Matters Design Challenge

    Lighter Touch

    Expanding the windows and painting the walls white allows for more light to enter Moody's redesigned home, left. Furniture is arranged to allow for clear, wide passageways.

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  • Home Matters Design Challenge

    Perfect Temperature

    A programmable thermostat, left, makes it easy to regulate the home's temperature in both summer and winter. 

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  • Home Matters Design Challenge

    Room With a Mulitpurpose

    The new design, left, uses a combination of moveable walls which can change the entire floor plan of  the home as needed to accommodate multiple families living together, a caregiver moving in or additional bedrooms when necessary.

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  • Home Matters Design Challenge

    Shower Power

    A rise to get into a shower, right, can cause falls. The new shower, left, has a no-step entry and an adjustable showerhead so the occupant can use it when seated or standing.

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  • Home Matters Design Challenge


    A double vanity with two sinks, left, at different levels is good for young families with kids, as well older adults or handicapped people. Widening the doorway of the older bathroom, right, also allows for easy access to someone who is wheelchair bound.  

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