One of the most-read stories on Remodeling’s website this spring said that Freddie Gray Jr., whose death while in police custody sparked protests and riots in Baltimore, was living off settlement payments from a lawsuit involving lead paint. The walls and windowsills in one of Gray’s childhood homes “contained enough lead to poison the children and leave them incapable of leading functional lives,” according to The Washington Post.

Gray’s lead-paint problems didn’t cause the uproar in Baltimore, but they do provide graphic reminders that what’s installed in a home and how it’s configured can significantly shape the quality of one’s life. This issue explores that connection in several ways, from profiles and advice about universal design to an examination of how home health could well become the next big trend in remodeling.

Bruce Snider, who served as de facto guest editor for our June/July issue (see table of contents), says that remodeling has always been “about making houses better fit their clients, in volume, flow, thermal comfort, views, and style, all of which clients experience through their physical senses.” The trouble, Snider says, is that most of the standards remodelers use apply to young, able bodies.

“Our aging client population requires a different set of standards relating to mobility, safety, health, and convenience,” Snider says. “The challenge is most clients aren’t aware of what they’re going to need as they age. That also represents an opportunity for remodelers who become well versed in these areas.”

Snider believes—and I agree—that remodelers need to learn how to create something that meets clients’ needs now but also will serve those customers as their bodies change. And over those years, we also want to assure that the products and systems we install enhance, not endanger, our clients’ health.

Read the cover story here