Accessible Design Solutions

Objective and Professional 

Consultation for your "Forever Home"

Accessible Design Solutions

Accessibility Specialist in St. Pete, St. Pete Beach and Tampa Bay Area

Accessible Design Solutions offers professional and cost effective expert guidance for clients' and their families facing challenges following a traumatic injury and/or other progressive medical conditions including the normal aging process that affect the ability to safely access and function at home.

Experienced Occupational Therapist and Certified Aging in Place Specialist

Mary Carol Peterson is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist and also an Occupational Therapist with over 30 years of extensive clinical experience that included evaluation and prescription of durable medical equipment in the home setting to maximize independence and safety in all aspects of activities of daily living especially in the kitchen and bathroom. Mary Carol’s functional assessment of the client and her understanding of the scope of medical conditions plus their impact on both of the client's current and future function in the home will ensure a great outcome. She can offer solutions to address everything from facilitating the clients’ entry to the home, to cooking and to ease personal care in the bedrooms and bathrooms. 

Mary Carol received her Occupational Therapy degree from the University of Minnesota and her CAPS certification from the National Association of Homebuilders.  

Accessibilty Collaboration for Guaranteed Results

I will work with your chosen professional remodeler or builder to ensure safety, affordable accessibility solutions and the best outcome based on your current and future needs. Today you can preplan and modify your home to accommodate a changing lifestyle by incorporating universal design concepts, products and services.   

The photos on this page were taken at a new construction project  by Strobel Design Build in St. Pete and featured no threshold entrances outfitted with drop sweeps to keep the critters out, an accessible kitchenette and a beautiful bathroom featuring a roll-in glass shower enclosure with a linear drain and hand held shower. The photo gallery has many more too!

For more ideas, see my FAQs and Accessibility Safety Checklist. 

Please contact me for a FREE 1 hour in-home consultation and assessment

Home For A Lifetime FAQs

What is Aging in Place and Why Should We Plan Ahead?


You may be one of the lucky ones who does not have urgent needs right now but wants to plan ahead. Or you might be someone who has a progressive conditions like Parkinson's or MS that could benefit from a CAPS consultant to increase safety and independence. If you or someone in your family experiences a traumatic event like a fall, a car accident or a stroke that also may require changes.

 Aging in place means remaining in one’s home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age, income or ability level. It means the pleasure of living in a familiar environment throughout one’s maturing years and the abil- ity to enjoy the familiar daily rituals and the special events that enrich all our lives. It means the reassurance of being able to call a house a “home”for a lifetime. 

How Long Do You Plan to Live In Your Current Home?

If you are like the majority of Americans over the age of 45, you want to continue living in a familiar environment throughout your maturing years. According to the AARP, older home owners overwhelmingly prefer to age-in-place, which means living in your home safely, independently and comfortably, regardless of age or ability level.  

Click here to view NY Times Article on Aging in Place. It's GREAT!!

How Should You Modify Your Home To Plan For The Future?


To age-in-place safely, you will probably need to modify your house as you get older to increase access and maneuverability.These modifications range from the installing bath and shower grab bars and adjusting countertop heights to the creating multifunctional first floor master suites and adding private elevators.  


Who Can You Rely On To Help You Modify Your Home?

A Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) has been trained in:  

  • Unique needs of the older adult population. 
  • Aging-in-place home modifications.
  • Typical remodeling projects.
    Solutions to common barriers.  

Mary Carol is one of the  few CAPS professionals in the St. Petersburg Area and she is the ONLY one who is also an experienced Occupational Therapist.


Why Hire A Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist?


 CAPS professionals have the answers to your questions.They have been taught the strategies and techniques for designing and building aesthetically enriching, barrier-free living environments. The CAPS program goes beyond design to address the codes and standards, common remodeling expenditures
and projects, product ideas and resources needed to provide comprehensive and practical aging-in-place solutions. CAPS graduates pledge to uphold a code of ethics and are required to maintain their designations by attending continuing education programs and participating in community service projects.  

Why Hire Me As Your CAPS Accessiblity Specialist?

I have been on both sides when it comes to the rehabilitation process. As an Occupational Therapist I helped people who suffered life chaining traumatic injuries gain as much independence as possible for over 30 years. But in 2011, just like that- I became a patient myself after being struck by a van while riding my bicycle at Ft. DeSoto. In a split second my life changed and I suffered a broken back, a fractured pelvis, a separated shoulder and leg injuries. Suddenly we had to modify our home so that I could be discharged. I know first hand how frustrating it can be to not be independent but with the help of my therapists I recovered. 

My mission is to work with you, your family, your health care professional (if involved) and your remodeler to offer cost effective solutions so that you can live at home safely and as independently as possible. 

To get started contact me for a free one hour consultation and check out my checklist on the next page. 

A Checklist to Help You

What Modifications Make Sense?

  1. The checklist below contains features you may want to consider for your next new construction or renovation project especially if you are a baby boomer! It is good to consider what is needed for others who may visit you and provides a quick reference for aging-in-place. Because this list is not comprehensive, it’s best to also consult with a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist like me! If you or a family member has a progressive disease or a condition with a sudden onset which impacts mobility, remember  I am an experienced Occupational Therapist too. Call me for a free one hour consultation in the Tampa Bay Area.
  2. Use this list to identify home safety, fall hazards and accessibility for all family members. 

Exterior Entrances and Exits

  1. How many steps are there to enter/exit front door? Garage?
  2. What is the condition of the sidewalk and driveway?
  3. What is the threshold height to exterior entrances/exits/ patio sliding doors?
  4. Are the house numbers visible at night and from the street?
  5. Is it easy to open/shut the door and use the keys?

Interior Doors, Stairs and Halls

  1. Are floors level at the thresholds between rooms?
  2. Are there stairs to other levels of the home? How many steps and location of handrails?
  3. Are there area rugs or other trip hazards?
  4. Are halls wide enough and free of clutter to maneuver safely? 
  5. What is the width of interior doors? There should be 32" of clear width. What type of handle?


  1. Are all sink basin, tub faucets and shower controls manageable?
  2. Can you safely access the shower and/or tub?
  3. Are grab bars or a tub/shower seat needed?
  4. What is your ability to reach paper, flush and stand/sit easily?
  5. What is the height the bath tub?
  6. What is the shower threshold height? 
  7. Is there a shower bench or chair in the shower? A hand held shower?
  8. Does the tub/shower have a non-skid safety mat? 


  1. Is there enough overall lighting and task lighting?
  2. What is the sink and counter heights? Are there multi-level work areas for cooks of different heights?
  3. Are shelving and storage easily accessible?
  4. Is there adequate counter space? Is there any open under-counters seated work areas?
  5. Is the cabinet hardware easy to grip and  pull?

Considerations for Appliances:

  1. Easy to read controls
  2. Microwave oven at counter height or in wall
  3. Side-by-side refrigerator/freezer
  4. Side-swing or wall oven
  5. Raised  or drawer dishwasher with push-button controls
  6. Electric cook top with level burners for safety in transferring between the burners, front controls and downdraft feature to pull heat away from user; light to indicate when surface is hot
  7. Front loading laundry machines

Other Key Considerations

  1. Is there enough storage and easy access to the items you use most?
  2. Are you able to turn on the TV, light of make a phone call from bed or chair?
  3. Can you easily turn all the door knobs in you home?
  4. Are you able to easily access the washer and dryer?
  5. Are you able to reach closet rods and hooks?  Can you open the bureau drawers?
  6. Are there sufficient outlets? Check location and height. Exention  cord hazards? Are there ground fault outlets in kitchen  and bath?
  7. Are there light switches at the entrance to each  room? Can you reach them?
  8. Are there smoke/CO alarms and a working fire extinguisher?
  9. Do the windows, exterior doors, patio doors open easy? Are the drapes easy to open?
  10. Are thermostat displays easily accessible and readable?


Contact Us

Drop us a line!

Better yet, meet in person for an objective consultation before you meet your contractor!

My mission is to help you preplan and modify your home to accommodate a changing lifestyle ensuring that you and your family are safe and as independent as possible in your "forever" home. Please call or email me to set up a consultation in the Tampa Bay Area.

Accessible Design Solutions

(727) 709-2258


Monday - Friday: 9am - 5pm

Saturday and Sunday: By appointment

Licensed and Insured