Better Living by Design

Everyone is getting older, however very few of us actually plan for it. Whether it is our finances, our health, or our home, we tend to procrastinate. If for health or other reasons you need to change your living situation, Better Living Express offers a standard set of cottage and addition plans that can be delivered quickly. Every one of our plans is based on Better Living Design. Better Living Design is design for all ages. Whether you are 5 or 85, Better Living Design removes barriers for all ages and combines beauty with functionality.

The phrase Better Living Design was conceived to help identify products that conform to the principles of Universal Design. Universal Design recognizes that there is a wide spectrum of human abilities and is based on seven principles. Everyone, even the most able-bodied person, passes through childhood, periods of temporary illness, injury and old age. By designing for this human diversity, we can create things that will be easier for all people to use. Most of what we describe as handicap or disability comes from the very design of the buildings we live in. In a perfect world, all residential buildings would be built with Better Living Design.

Whether you are seeking to upgrade your home to remove barriers or that of a family members, each of our standard plans incorporate the seven principles of Better Living Design. Our designs provide you with the benefits of accessibility and ease of use without the clinical or institutional look found elsewhere.

Principles and Guidelines of Universal Design and Better Living Design

1. Equitable Use

The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.

2. Flexibility In Use

The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities

3. Simple and Intuitive Use

Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.

4. Perceptible Information

The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.

5. Tolerance For Error

The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.

6. Low Physical Effort

The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.

7. Size And Space For Approach And Use

Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation and use regardless of user’s body size, posture or mobility.

Better Living Express is focused on providing a living environment that meets the current needs of the resident and easily adapts as the residents needs continue to change. We offer three distinct Care Levels which come standard with the features to meet specific group of needs or abilities.

  • SeniorCare – This Care Level is perfect for individuals that need to remove the barriers that typical homes have in place. It incorporates Better Living Design concepts and features include: barrier free bathrooms/showers, wide hallways, accessible kitchens (per plan), lever door knobs, easy use switches and outlets, and enhanced lighting.
  • MedCare – MedCare is customized to meet the specific accessibility needs of the resident. Walk-in tubes, hoist systems, walk way lighting, additional grab bars, soft flooring, etc. are specific items that can enhance the usability of any cottage or addition.
  • MemoryCare – The MemoryCare Care Level is designed to support the needs of those with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Items such as visual cues, soft flooring, containment support, and additional safety enhancements are provided.

Better Living Express developed these Care Levels and incorporated them into a set of standard plans for both Additions and Cottage. These plans have been reviewed and enhanced by noted designer and author, Lisa Sandlin.


Standard Plans

Additions – Our standard set of addition plans has been designed to offer an option to enhance virtually any home-style. We offer wide, narrow, and even L–shaped additions. The roof styles are evaluated for each site and can blend naturally with the existing home. We work just as hard to make our additions a beautiful enhancement to the exterior of the home as we do on the interior to support the resident.

Cottages – When zoning allows, we have developed a standard set of cottages that offer great exterior lines and comes in one and two bedrooms plans. Our one bedroom plans make efficient use of space and offer the convenience of a full kitchen. Two bedroom plans offer the extra space needed for guests or for a live-in caregiver when needed.

Custom Design

Our flexible design and construction process allows us to modify our standard plans or even review your own custom plan for construction. When you build with Better Living Express, you get our expertise built right in. Contact your FACS Advisor to learn more about customizing your plan.

FlexAssist™ Bathroom

In today’s homes, the biggest barriers are often encountered in the bathroom. At Better Living Express, we have designed a unique bathroom that offers flexibility and ease of use… all this combined with beautiful design. Our FlexAssist™ bathroom removes virtually every barrier and eliminates the institutional look typically found in accessible bathrooms. The FlexAssist™ Bathroom is the standard in our standard plans!

Lisa Sandlin

Better Living Express engaged Lisa Sandlin to review and enhance the plans for our collection of suites and cottages. Lisa’s inspiration for working in the field of design was fueled by her grandmother’s situation and the difficulty she experienced while trying to age-in-place as her health began to decline. Lisa enrolled in the School of Architecture and Interior Design at the University of Cincinnati with the mission to learn how to design homes that empower us and support our needs throughout a lifetime.

Teaching is Lisa’s passion, she has taught design at both the University of Cincinnati and Miami University (Ohio). By educating her clients during the design process, she collaborates with them to create houses that work now and will continue to meet the changing needs as life progresses.

Lisa is the author of the book “Houses That Work for Life!” and she maintains an active design consulting practice. She can be contacted at