Urban NW Homes Builds for Aging in Place | The Columbian
Local home builder Jerud Martin knows his client base. While Urban NW Homes builds for all age groups, their “age in place” designs are popular for clients thinking ahead about their later years.
“We’re seeing a lot of clients downsizing who maybe have lived in a larger family home type or residence with two levels. These are usually empty nesters who are approaching retirement and realizing they don’t need the square footage anymore but want certain amenities of a house,” says Martin, co-owner of Urban NW Homes.
Urban NW Homes designs one-level homes built without any stairs or trip hazards.
“You can literally walk from the sidewalk in our communities right out to the back patio without lifting your feet for any steps,” Martin said. “We build for the comforts of one level living with no steps.”
“I tell people that if you have a surgery that limits your mobility you can rehab in your house much easier and much better compared to a typical tract home that’s designed without much thought to that,” he said.
But there’s a lot more to “aging in place” design than just a one-level home.
“You might think an accessible home would look strange but we mastered these types of homes so well that people don’t even notice unless they’re told what to look at,” Martin said. “Our bathrooms have a little more room between counters and walls so you can turn around with a walker or wheelchair. We do a curbless sunken shower in the majority of our homes, so you can walk in or roll in without a trip hazard.”
For other bathroom features, Urban NW Homes can build accessible, multi-use vanities with future plumbing modiﬁcations in mind.
“What we at Urban do a little bit differently as a standard is at the framing stage we will build with future needs in mind for adding grab bars and modifying plumbing so that you can turn on the shower from outside without getting wet,” Martin said. “The impact on the home is far less than ripping out walls to do modiﬁcations.”
Other aging in place design features which Urban NW Homes offers as a standard is increased hall width and door width, and more room between counters and islands in the kitchen. They even consider smaller details such as levers on doors instead of doorknobs which are easier to operate with arthritic hands.
Urban NW Homes has been building homes around here since 2008. In the beginning their focus was “building green.”
“We started green building before it was a cool thing to do,” Martin said. “We started with an energy efﬁciency focus. Now we use healthier products for ﬁnishes that don’t off-gas as much as standard sourced products.”
“What separates us from other builders is that we build to a National Green Building Standard,” he said. “NGBS is third-party certiﬁed, not self-certiﬁed. It is the most stringent standard for green building. We like inspectors and multiple eyes on the project all along, not just at the end.”
Overall, Jerud Martin describes the homes he builds as “healthy, comfortable, energy efﬁcient and sustainable, with aging in place design.”
Urban NW Homes builds communities of homes in Clark County as well as custom homes on private lots throughout Clark, Cowlitz, Skamania Counties and in Portland. Right now their newest communities with lots and homes available are Urban Pointe, The Cedars by Urban, and Urban Downs.
Urban Pointe is located in a quiet section of Northeast Vancouver. It’s the only Urban NW Homes community that is a custom home community, and it also has the largest lot sizes at 10,000 square feet. The large lot sizes give the 17-lot community an intimate feel.
The Cedars by Urban is in Brush Prairie next to Cedars at Salmon Creek Golf Course. This community offers premiere golf course living on spacious lots. The Cedars currently has available lots lining the golf course as well as move-in ready homes.
Located in Ridgeﬁeld, Urban Downs is another brand new community with a focus on one-level living. Ridgeﬁeld is one of the most desirable areas in Clark County and notably one of the fastest growing cities in the state.