Creekside Companies Owner Takes Pride in Building Universally Accessible Homes
By Dan Chalk
Through most of his 27 years as owner of Creekside Companies of Hudsonville, home builder Doug Butterworth has put his Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist and Lifetime Design certifications into practice.
Creekside Companies builds homes that are universally accessible and that meet the current and potential future needs of their occupants and visitors. This includes zero-step entry.
“We try and build everything with zero-step entry, basically,” said Butterworth, whose certifications are through the National Association of Home Builders. “If there is another level (in a house), we try and put elevators in when we can.
“It’s not just for the occupants; it’s for whoever wants to visit the home,” he continued.
“They call that ‘visitability.’ The home will always be adaptable and will be able to have somebody come and visit who is in a wheelchair and those types of things.”
Creekside clients don’t always initially grasp the need for zero-entry home design, Butterworth said, but the need generally becomes clear to them within a short time.
“Most of them say they don’t need (zero-entry) because they really don’t understand it or they’re afraid of their house looking too sterile or institutional,” he said. “But you can’t really tell it’s zero-step until you (take a closer look)… It’s virtually unnoticeable.”
And feedback from clients, Butterworth said, affirms his company’s conviction that universal accessibility is an essential quality of a new home.
“I can tell you that people who are (initially) able-bodied and have become disabled, they’re my biggest cheerleaders,” he said. “I’m (currently) building a house for somebody who has run into some health issues. They’ve come to appreciate what they can and cannot do.”
Another recent client had suffered a stroke and has benefitted from the accessible features of the new house that Creekside built for his wife and him.
“In their previous house, he could hardly get around. His wife came to me and said, ‘I cannot believe how much of a difference this house has made in his demeanor and his entire outlook on life,’” Butterworth said. “ (The house) was designed for freedom. That’s what makes these homes special. They’re all special for us. We’re building the American dream.”
Testimonials like these remind Butterworth of why he got into this business in the first place.
“When somebody tells me that the house is actually performing better than they expected, it’s just kind of cool,” he said. “Obviously, building somebody’s home is a pretty important undertaking, and we thoroughly enjoy it.”