Accessible Living: Combining Fashion With Function For Those In Need

Style is not sacrificed for those who need specialty ramps and bathroom appliances. (Photos courtesy of Todd Brickhouse)

For nearly four decades, Brickhouse Design Group has designed and provided construction management for accessibility for thousands of clients who need mobility modifications within their homes. From architectural drawings to interior design, Todd Brickhouse Accessibility Associates have helped clients to live independent, empowered lives by taking the guesswork out of selecting the right providers of mobility products and services to meet accessibility needs. Todd Brickhouse serves as the president and architectural designer for Brickhouse Design Group, where he works with other architects to come up with designs and implement work based through contractors.

“I don’t have a background in architecture. I was actually a biology major and worked in the prosthetic field for many years,” he said. “I made artificial limbs for years as a prosthetist. Then I met a young man who had recently bought a medical supply business. For 11 years, we cofounded and ran the first home in the country that was set up for people with disabilities so they could come in and see how they could live with the help of different products and appliances.”

The ability to help people with physical, visual and audio impairments and disabilities went so much further since the inception of Brickhouse’s model home in 1982. As a designer, he felt that beauty and style shouldn’t be compromised when installing products that are not appealing to the eye. Cutting out the middleman, Brickhouse works directly with the client’s insurance company, easing their mind throughout the entire process. His business is an unusual one with a niche market, but it’s all about customer satisfaction, whether the customer is 8 or 80.

“We come up with a design and submit it to the insurance company for their approval. Some of our clients are very involved and very specific in what they envision,” said Brickhouse. “It’s definitely tough and tugs at your heart and you just want to improve people’s lives and situations and make their life simpler because they would much prefer to stay in their home than live somewhere else.”

For his personal taste, Brickhouse prefers subway tiles as well as shades of gray paints for cabinetry and he will do his best not to make spaces cold and institutionalized-looking. When it comes to necessary equipment, Brickhouse likes grab rails for customer ease and will contrast the colors if the design if for a client who is blind or visually impaired. Showers with low drains to eliminate water quickly, built-in sinks that are easy to clean and handheld shower heads are easy ways to make bathrooms more accessible for the owner.

“Depending on what your disability is, I try to make the look as aesthetically pleasing as possible. We have customers that like the classic look and others who prefer the high end style,” said Brickhouse, adding that people want to live comfortably in their homes and won’t be ashamed of having someone use their facilities if it looks less threatening.

The firm takes personalizing appointments a step further by offering interior design charts for the deaf and blind and having sign language interpreters or those who need other services available to assist in a consultation.

“I love what I do and I’m very fortunate that I can make the quality of life better for people and their families and try to do it with style because you have to be cognizant of giving people options,” said Brickhouse, acknowledging the role he has played in revolutionizing the handicapped home design industry. “If you were disabled, how you would want your home to function?”

As for garnering attention for the company, Brickhouse puts out a monthly newsletter and gains clients through word of mouth. His track record also speaks for itself.

“It’s very rewarding when you are working with individuals and providing solutions for them that change their lives,” he said.

Brickhouse Design Group is located at 8 Joan Lane in Massapequa Park. For more information, call 844-894-3315 or visit www.brickhousedesigns.net.

Jennifer Fauci
Jennifer Fauci is the former managing editor of Long Island Weekly, Anton Media Group's award-winning special sections and Anton’s local magazines. Her passion for literature, travel and the arts lend to the unique content in her publications. In her time at Anton, she has received first place in the Folio Awards, second place for the NYPA awards and is the recipient of six PCLI awards.

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