Consider your future as well as present lifestyle

Designing and building for your present and future lifestyle has become a hot topic on Homeworks Construction CEO Jim Byxbee’s popular interactive Saturday morning radio show, “Build New Or ReDo.” Byxbee is now devoting a regular segment of the show to discussions on the subject with co-host Mike Buck and answering related questions from listeners on the air.

Byxbee, who is serving as 2011 president of the Building Industry Association of Hawaii, is shown in the photo (right) with Buck at the Clear Channel radio studio where the show is broadcast live on KHVH AM830 Saturdays from 9 to 10 a.m. Byxbee explains that “universal” or “lifestyle” design is sometimes confused with ADA design, which is regulated by the codes of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


“Designing for accessibility and convenience of people at all life stages could take disability into account, but shouldn’t be equated with just creating extra wide doorways or wheelchair ramps,” he says. “When we build or remodel for people who intend to continue living in their home, ‘aging in place’ as it’s called, or for people with young children, or families with older members, there are many different design features to consider. What may be right for one lifestyle may not work for another.”

Byxbee offers several examples.

“If we build a custom home or remodel a house or apartment for a couple with an extreme difference in height, let’s say the man is 6-foot-4 and his wife is 5 feet tall, and we are installing his and hers sinks and vanities, we would build them at different levels but in such a way that they could be changed back to equal levels should the owners decide to sell.

“We’ve also designed bathrooms to accommodate very young children in a family … the special junior-size fixtures can always be replaced later. For families with elderly members, we often build a second bathroom with a walk-in shower and grab bars, which require special blocking behind the walls. Non-slip flooring should always be installed in bathrooms, regardless of the age of the users.


“For clients who have concerns about accessibility in the future, which is the case with owners of hillside houses or houses with two or three floors, we actually create a space where a lift or elevator can be added later.

“When a couple planning a family builds a house, they should child-proof it at the same time, particularly with specially designed gates and fences around decks and lanais. People with dogs also need to consider what types of fences, gates and walls will secure their pets, and hardwood floors in the house will probably not be a good idea.

“A lot of this is simply a matter of common sense and good advance planning with the project coordinator you’re working with. It’s much more cost-effective to build these lifestyle features into the new or remodeled home now, rather than later.”

Since Byxbee founded Homeworks Construction 15 years ago, the company has designed, built or remodeled hundreds of homes ranging from affordable to luxury throughout Oahu and won many awards. Homeworks has been consistently ranked as one of the nation’s Top 500 Remodelers by Qualified Remodeler magazine.


Multigenerational homes have become a Homeworks specialty and account for a high percentage of the company’s projects.

“We invite anyone contemplating a multigenerational home or interested in learning more about designing for their future as well as present lifestyle, to call us at 955-2777 with their questions or call me direct at 864-5519. Names will be kept confidential if we answer the question on the air,” Byxbee said.

Contact: 955-2777 / 864-5519