The demonstration house is based on the ‘design for dementia principals’ previously developed by Dr Rob McDonald and Bill Halsall at Liverpool John Moores University. By refurbishing a Victorian terrace, the design of this demonstrator house mimics the likelihood that any adaptive home would not be a new-build. It also provides a visual showcase from which to improve communication around the growing issue of adequate housing for aging populations; something which has previously been fragmented and minimal.

Design principles showcased in Chris and Sally’s house differs from that of most of the existing standards in that they typically focus on the care sector, rather than the domestic environment.

Through both the demonstration elements of Chris and Sally’s Home and in creating a research platform this project has identified certain parameters that should be considered when adapting existing homes for dementia.

A multi-disciplinary team of academics, researchers, and design professionals, with backgrounds in health, building physics and architecture generated the information that supported the following identified parameters:

1.Entrance way (accessibility)

2.Line of sight / layout


4.Colour / texture






10.Heating / cooling / ventilation

11.View to green


Each parameter is ranked as ‘poor’, ‘average’ (in relation to Part M of the Building Regulations, or equivalent) and ‘best’ practice which will serve as a practical guide to all.

Chris and Sally’s converted terraced house features alterations to a number of these parameters. This includes:

  • Clear lines of sight (open-plan) and colour-coded paths through the home to help guide people towards each specific room.
  • Increased natural lighting – proven to help people stay alert during the day and to sleep better at night.
  • Noise reduction features – to lower the chances of stress.
  • Simple switches and heating controls, in addition to safety sensors in high risk areas such as the kitchen.
  • Non-scalding faucets and rounded edge furniture to reduce injury risks.