Over the past 30 years, Divco Custom Homes has built an impressive portfolio of nearly 1,400 distinctive luxury homes across more than 60 Southwest Florida communities and neighborhoods.
The company’s commitment to excellence has made it the recipient of numerous Sand Dollar Awards and Pinnacle Awards from the Collier and Lee County Building Associations and its commitment to customer satisfaction has also earned it the Diamond Builder™ and Elite Builder™ awards.
According to Foster, custom home building is one of the most demanding areas of the construction industry and modern Universal Design principles provide solutions to persistent architectural problems.
“Divco has always prided itself on staying at the cutting edge of design and construction,” said Alan Foster, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Divco Custom Homes. “One of the things we have been most excited about over the past few years is expanding our Design-Build philosophy to a new level, recognizing the importance of Universal Design, a way of maximizing home access and livability for everyone, regardless of age or capabilities.”
“Everyone in the family may be able-bodied before the construction of their dream home,” said Foster. “But an unexpected accident or illness can create mobility problems, visual and auditory impairments, or cognitive decline that alter the dream. Spiral staircases and balconies with sweeping views are only a dream if they are accessible for everyone in your family.”
Five decades in the making, Universal Design is one of the most important concepts in modern architectural theory and practice.
According to The Center for Universal Design, the term means creating spaces that meet the needs of all people — young and old, able and disabled. From the arrangement of the rooms to the choice of colors, many details go into the creation of accessible spaces. Traditional architecture tends to focus on accessibility for people with disabilities, but Universal Design is the philosophy behind accessibility.
“No matter how beautiful, your home will not be comfortable or appealing if you cannot move freely through its rooms and independently perform the basic tasks of life,” said Foster.
“For example, in terms of American architectural history, WWII vintage era homes could not be adapted with wider halls, wider doors and first floor bedrooms to suit the needs of its residents as they age. This led to the rise in assisted living.”
Like any successful idea, Universal Design has evolved and improved. Today, Divco Custom Homes is at its forefront, introducing clients to the latest luxury residential solutions for their current generational needs and allowing them to plan decades ahead.
“We design and build environments that are usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for large-scale adaptation or specialized design,” said Foster. “Our Design-Build approach utilizes Universal Design to the full extent of its possibilities. It is not a question of simply lowering counters or of having hallways 4 feet wide. It goes deeper into the architecture of the home.”
Physical Therapists have a phrase called “Activities of Daily Living” (ADL). Universal Design addresses this.
Designing and building Walker/Wheel-chair accessible showers where one can just roll in is basic and simple and benefits everyone. Able-bodied persons have nothing to trip over and those with a special needs re-gain the simple dignity of accessing a shower unaided.
“In Park Shore, we designed and built a shower with a special side wall recess for shampoo,” said Foster. “What was not obvious was that its placement was specifically designed so that it would also serve as a shelf/handle so the users could stabilize themselves.”
On a larger scale, allowing multiple generations to live under the same roof with maximum privacy is a key factor for the modern home buyer in Naples.
This can be accomplished by integrating larger, private independent living spaces into the floor plan. An extra middle bedroom can be designed as a living room with access to a second master suite, essentially creating greater flexibility and privacy within the home. At any time, it can easily be re-configured to its original bedroom function.
To help homebuyers, Divco recently updated its design studio at its headquarters to provide a single location for the majority of their interior and exterior design and selection needs.
“Divco Custom Homes’ building process is based on very close interaction with our clients,” said Foster. “The Design Studio is integral to the process by allowing the customer to immediately experience many of the materials available to them in their new home and to envision how Universal Design elements may be utilized.”
The new Design Studio is all about customer convenience. It has been planned in minute detail. The comprehensive array of selections provides enhanced opportunities for discerning customers in one facility.
Anchored by a conference area, featuring a large interactive high-definition big screen, customers are able review a wide range of available products for the customization of their new home.
“The interactive component is invaluable,” said Foster, “Customers can peruse multi-media options for not only the interior, but also the outdoor living spaces. This includes outdoor kitchens, pool and spa designs and landscaping features. Universal Design features can be considered at every possible level.”
Adjacent to the conference area are a series of spaces and alcoves featuring a wide range of samples and displays from colorful floor and back splash tile, granite/quartz counter tops, carpet and hardwood flooring to faucets, plumbing and bath fixtures and custom cabinetry in countless styles.
“Universal design is not only functional, it can be beautiful,” said Foster. “At Divco Custom Homes we pride ourselves on giving our customers the home that fits their needs perfectly.”