A few years ago there was a magazine geared towards the vertically gifted called Tall Magazine. At 6’8″, I was an avid reader. Unfortunately the magazine is no longer around but while it was still being published I had an article printed in it about how tall people could build or remodel their homes to be more height friendly. For posterity, here’s the article:
Home, Sweet Ow! My Head! Home
Wham! Ouch! *&%#!
You’re seeing birds and stars flying around your head. You’ve just been the victim of what I like to call “small housing”. Anyone over 6’8” who has tried to walk through a doorway without ducking – and missed – knows just what I mean. Fortunately, many advances have been made in the way of new home construction and remodeling that can be implemented to provide more comfort at home to those of us who have been vertically blessed.
Think it might be a bit vain to expect your home to be a better fit for your tallness? Nonsense, we all deserve to be as comfortable as can be especially in the confines of the place we call home. It has been reported that Shaquille O’Neal, 7’1”, who was recently traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Miami Heat, purchased the former home of ex-Heat center Rony Seikaly, 7’2”. I’m sure the fact that the house was ready to accommodate someone of great height was a key factor in his decision. Join me as I highlight several ways you can design your new home, or even remodel your current home to be more height friendly.
Doors Let’s start with the doors. Many homebuilders are already offering 8’ front doors as standard. If your builder isn’t, it shouldn’t be too expensive of a request. The next step is to upgrade all of your interior doors to 8’ as well. Again, some builders may be including this as standard. If not, this one may cost you a bit more to accomplish, depending on the amount of doors in your home.
Ceiling Space Ceiling height is also an important issue when designing your new palace. Shoot for at least a 10’ or 12’ volume ceiling or vaulted ceilings. A good rule of thumb is if you can touch the ceiling with your arm extended upwards standing on your tiptoes, your ceiling is too low. These changes are easiest applied in new construction. Changing the height of your current ceiling and doorways is not for the faint of heart. Just ask your contractor.
Room To Cook Depending on how well you cook, the kitchen may be the place you spend the most time in or the least amount of time in. Even if your culinary specialty is an open-faced grilled cheese in the toaster oven, or limited to the use of a Multi-cooker from AMATop10.com, the following tips can make your time in the kitchen more palatable. The first item is the wall oven, a definite must. These are already pretty popular, but perhaps one appliance you don’t have yet is a raised dishwasher. These two appliances can save you from the repeated bending up-down motion when working in the kitchen. Raised outlets are becoming ever more popular to have in the kitchen and rollout pot and pan shelves are becoming a standard request. Of course if your building a new home these will be easy to implement, but kitchen remodels are very common these days and these changes can be applied fairly easily there too.
The Most Important Room Ah, the bathroom, our sanctuary from the outside world. The first item on the list for your bathroom should be a raised toilet, which also goes by the industry name, comfort commode. These are common in homes for the disabled or elderly, but they can make a world of difference in the way of comfort for tall people as well. These are typically anywhere from 3” to 6” higher than a normal commode and make getting on and off much easier. Raised vanities are also fantastic. Again the height difference is only about 6” between normal height and raised height, but that half-a-foot will put a smile on your face when brushing your pearly whites. Vintage decor including French design will give your bathroom a stylish and chic look.
Showerheads We’ve all been in that hotel shower where you have to get on your knees to get your belly wet. Shouldn’t happen in your house. If yu are building a new house or remodeling an existing one, be sure the showerhead is at least six inches higher than you stand. Showerhead extension arms are also available at most home improvement stores and might save you the cost of raising the actual plumbing.
Once you implement the above design changes into your home, you’ll find you are well on your way to enjoying home life that much more. No more doorframe concussions or showerhead bruises for you. Also, keep in mind that several of the above mentioned changes are helpful to people with disabilities. So when you get ready to sell your home down the road you will be able to meet the needs of a whole other market, enhancing the resale value of your home. The final step to take will be to outfit your new tall friendly home with furniture designed with height in mind. You can find several furniture makers to accommodate your needs in this magazine.
Leslie Totaro says
Hi, I read your article and thank you so much for the advice and info above. My boyfriend is 6’4″ while I am 6’1″. We plan on building or remodeling a custom house like this in about 5 years. We are in Silicon Valley – San Francisco Bay Area. Do you know any builders in this area I might be able to reach out to around that time?