Got curb appeal? These 5 front doors rock w/ universal design

Got curb appeal? These 5 front doors rock with universal design

Curb appeal. It’s what initially draws someone to your home. It’s that look that get’s their attention.

Most of us want to return to a serene and comfortable home, and it all starts with the outside. But whether you live in a cabin, a historic Victorian or even a condo, Universal Design shouldn’t get in the way of your curb appeal.

Beautiful front doors, porches and yards can be found everywhere, and we’re always looking for homes that grab our eyes and reel us in.

Whether you are doing a major remodel or some gentle modifications, below are some of our recent favorite entrances that may help inspire you, and each one includes some Universal Design elements that create beauty and function for people with all abilities. Click images to enlarge

Curb appeal … enhanced

Harrell Remodeling Inc. – Portolla Valley, CA

This award-winning front entrance incorporates Universal Design into it’s gorgeous flooring and door. There is a clear, wide walkway to the front door with seating available if needed either to sit or set something down. The covered, well-lit entrance way also has a zero step entry, making a smooth transition into the house. What you can’t see? A wheelchair ramp that winds around the house and through the trees.

Karnak Pro Builders – Vancouver, BC

This gorgeous front door starts with a flat walkway leading up to a no step entry. A favorite of this design is the lighting not only located over the door and up the walkway but in the eaves as well. The wood door is a great color in contrast to the siding and walkway colors and has a wide width to make sure anyone may pass through it. The mailbox is low so anyone can reach it. The clean lines of the gable complete this front entrance, provide shelter and make us want to see more inside!

BC Custom Construction, Inc. – Oregon City, OR

We love this entryway design because it combines various elements such as stone, wood and lots of great color to create a serene and simple entrance. We love the large sconces that really bring charm to the design. The awning provides shelter for those who are entering and contributes to the symmetry of the home, which is complete with a no-step entryway, of course! This entry is the perfect spot for a stone bench for resting or setting something down while you open the door.

Kristi Spouse Interiors – Kirkland, WA

This home is just beautiful – but we love that it has a no step entry to boot! Easily seen house numbers, gorgeous lighting and a large double door make this entrance good for people of all ages and abilities. But the walkway adds a design element that really makes this unique. The landscaping compliments the house and makes it even more inviting.

Anthony Wilder Design/Build, Inc. – Chevy Chase, Maryland

We had to include this great house with fantastic lighting that brightens up every window and lights the way to the front door. (Notice the strip of LED lighting on the front walk.) A no-step entry and lever handle create easy access for people of all abilities. The glass “fence” and red door make the entrance even more striking.

So, there you have it; five homes with entrances enhanced by Universal Design that look amazing. Which one is your favorite? Let us know or share another on Twitter.


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Mark Hager About Mark Hager

By Mark Hager
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Mark Hager is an aging in place thought leader and advocate. He is the founder of, CEO of Age in Place Networks, a leading authority in the aging in place niche and a trusted voice for both consumers and business owners serving older consumers. Over the years, Mark has provided help for thousands of consumers, organizations and small businesses.


  1. would love to see more entry ways that are ‘retro-fitted’ for a Mid west home (often there is 2′-3′ foundation to overcome. This makes the zero step entry more of a challenge!
    Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

    • Mark Hager Mark Hager says:

      Gail … Let me see if I can find some examples for you. I’ll get back with you.

      • Sherry Miller says:

        I would like to see ideas with sidewalk with switchbacks or landings not a lift. In my community concrete works does not require a permit or inspection. bringing a small earthmover and raising the yard level might be preferable. Or a combination with a new dog leg porch wrapped from entry to side of house.

        • Mark Hager Mark Hager says:


          I have had this same conversation over the years with several homeowners, as well as with a few designers and architects. Getting the grade right and making it look nice seems to be the issue folks run into.

          I’ll see what I can do. Maybe we can find some good examples to post.


  2. Hi Mark – If you don’t mind, I’ll be happy to weigh in for Gail. There are a few options, and of course cost plays a part. For lineal feet walkway w/out a railing, you’d typically like to be at a 1:20 slope (similar to a sidewalk) so you need 20 feet to get up 12″ or 1′. That’s challenging to an appealing front yard if you need “switchbacks” and landings at each one, it will eat up an urban lot pretty quickly. You can be steeper for a portion of the rise in height if you include the railing, but again aesthetics come into play. There are other ways to accomplish this – for example with lifts, etc. – Here’s one (very high end) example… amazing stuff out there with technology these days! I hope that helps! 🙂 Cheers, Aaron

  3. Thanks, Aaron! I appreciate the great information. And, agree: a walkway with that configuration in a front yard … you’d need serious landscaping to make it look nice. Nice tip on that lift system; I’ve never seen that manufacturer before.

    Gail, if you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

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