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Hooper-Cahill Design, LLC



Before Alzheimer's

Dad and Allie dog!

Happy Father's Day Dad!

BLOG #1 - June 2019


I miss you dearly! We all miss you!


For years, my 5 siblings and I watched you struggle with Alzheimer's Disease, and towards the end of your life with Parkinson's Disease -- a double whammy. The doctors' said that you were some kind of genius for holding it together for so long. Of course, Mom, your caregiver for years, had a lot to do with helping you stay healthy and balanced during your most difficult times. And, you were surrounded by love -- incredible love. I believe that helped a great deal too.

Photo Credit: M. Cahill


I had just started design school as a non-traditional student when you called me with the news of your diagnosis. I knew right then and there what type of designer I wanted to be, a designer who helps people with special needs. At the time, I didn't know to pursue my wish. My goal -- to better peoples' lives by designing more accessible, safer, and comfortable living environments for them. I wanted to create environments that work for, and with, the client, not the other way around. I watched you struggle unnecessarily with your environment. I've always wondered, "Why do we have to live in as-built environments that do not fit our needs and how can we change them for the better?"

So, thank you Dad for being a wonderful and inspiring father in more ways than you know. I hope Hooper-Cahill Design will make you proud!

Love this smiling face! John Hooper afte

BLOG #2 - August 2019


We want to keep our Dad home

for as long as possible!

Before Alzeheimer's

A Hole in One!!


Hooper-Cahill Design, LLC

Photo Credit: M. Cahill


After my Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer's the family agreed that we would help him stay at home for as long as possible. I immediately started researching modifications and presented my ideas to my Mom. She was fine with the changes as long as they didn't institutionalize her beautiful home, which they didn't.


In the home minor changes took place right away:

  • a second set of handrails were installed on the stairs opposite the first set to help my Dad get up the stairs more safely;

  • ambient light was added to the home to eliminate shadows;

  • clear walking paths were delineated throughout the home; 

  • A small ramp was installed from the kitchen to the garage to help ease the change in levels.

In time, my Dad could no longer walk up the stairs to get to the bathroom where the shower was located. We decided that the solution was to install a roll-in shower in the first floor half-bath. We called in a local contractor who had worked with my parent's on remodeling projects in the past. 

The As-Built plan the company provided is shown below. Luckily, the shared wall between the half-bath and the

laundry room provided an excellent opportunity to enlarge the half-bath for the roll-in shower. The laundry room would be made smaller, but it would still be functional. 


Of course, everything is easier said, than done. You just never know what you will find once you break down walls and start investigating an area you want to modify. One obstacle that had to be fixed to enable the install of the roll-in shower was the half-bath's concrete floor had to be dug up to accommodate the new plumbing for the shower. It was messy, but well worth the inconvenience in the end. 

At this time, I was working as an Interior Designer specifically designing for seniors in Senior Living facilities, but I was in Minnesota. I was available to consult with my Mom throughout the entire modification process using: FaceTime, Skype, e-mail, and phone. I was also available to communicate with the contractor and answer questions for my Mom. I have three siblings who live in town, so they were there to support my Mom too.


I believe that in the end, communication between all parties was the key to this project's success. As a family, we worked really hard to keep our Dad home for as long as possible. And, it worked! Our Dad was able to stay home a few more years in his own home, and he we all knew that he was safe and comfortable with our Mom. 


Prelim. Floor Plan

AS-BUILT done.jpg





Wall between Half-Bath and Laundry Room.
















SCALE: 1/2" = 1'-0"

Wall between Half-Bath and Laundry Room removed and new wall added to add roll-in shower.

Floor Plans reproduced with permission from Geurtze Builders, Delmar, NY


1. 12" x 12" slip resistant Porcelain Tile

2. 2" x 2" slip resistant Porcelain Tile

3. Granite seat (depth as needed for client)

4. 4" x 4" Ceramic Wall Tile (shower area)

5. ADA toilet (elongated bowl)

6. Ceiling light, vent, and heat element

7. Handheld shower head with diverter

8. Fixed shower head with diverter

9. Bi-fold doors

10. 36" wide door and opening to replace          2'-0" door and opening

Remote Control for Garage Door

BLOG #3 - October 2019


The 7 Principles of Universal Design

(I just had to write this because 

I Love Universal Design!)


Hooper-Cahill Design, LLC

Photo Credit: M. Cahill


In design school I was introduced to the 7 Principles of Universal Design. The broad definition of Universal Design is design that can be easily used, accessed, and intuitively understood by the greatest number of people regardless of age, disability, or special need. 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


One example of an universally designed product that most of us use every day, is the electric garage door opener. Invented in 1926, this device was originally created for people who struggled to open their heavy garage doors manually. Today, all people enjoy the benefits of the "universally designed" electric garage door opener.  

At Hooper-Cahill Design, LLC, I create successful design solutions because I incorporate Universal Design principles and practices in all of my projects. I design for people of all ages and all abilities and I am constantly on the lookout and researching new products and designs that I believe will benefit my clients. Just like the electric garage door opener, there may be a product out there that can benefit everyone, not just a few!





 Design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities. 



  Design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities. 




 Design is easy to understand despite user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or education.



 Design communicates info effectively to user, regardless of setting conditions or user's sensory abilities. 



   Design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidential or unintended actions.



Design can be used efficiently and comfortably with minimum fatigue.



 Design provides approp. size & space for approach, reach, & use, despite user's size, posture, or mobility.

BLOG #4 - November 2019



Happy Birthday Mom!


Photo Credit: M. Cahill


November is the "give thanks" and "be grateful" month.


On November 13, my beautiful Mother turned 90! My siblings and I are thankful, and forever grateful, that she is here with us to at this incredible milestone.


To celebrate our Mom, we decided to have a party -- it was going to be a small and intimate party. Unfortunately, when you are the mother of six children, have an abundance of grandchildren, and then a multitude of friends, the small and intimate party quickly turned into a larger and more lively event. Family and friends flew in from all over the country for the party (more like family reunion) on November 9. Our Mother loved it, and we all had a wonderful time visiting with friends and family that we hadn't seen in some time!


My husband, and our children were the lucky ones who got to stay at my Mom's house for the weekend. This gave me the opportunity to scope out the place and see if my Mom needed additional accessible modifications in conjunction with the modifications that were put in place when my father was alive (please see Blog #2 for more on this). 


During our visit my Mom and I talked about the future. We discussed modifications that could be completed now, or in the very near future. Things that we discussed: possibly purchasing a Murphy Bed for the first floor; or the possibility of putting a twin bed on the first floor like we did when my Dad was alive. She said she would consider both options for now. ( Mom is a very smart and she advocates for herself -- which is reassuring, but as we all do, she needs time to think about changes. I'm not sure how long it will take to make the modifications that we talked about, we shall see). 

I left that weekend feeling thankful, and grateful that my Mom is who she is -- smart, pro-active about her health, aware of her limitations, and even though she is stubborn at times she will listen.


I also felt a sense of relief because I know she has a great support system: great neighbors, my two brothers, one sister, my wonderful sister-in-laws and brother-in-law, and her two sisters who all live nearby. Of course, I can't lie. I will always be on the lookout to make sure she is safe in her home. I just can't help myself! 


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