Joe Williams is an evangelist for the “totally accessible home.”
As CEO and founder of Dallas’ Elevating Systems, Williams has spent 25 years helping clients easily get to every space in their homes and plan for the future with residential home elevators.
“I have seen a huge increase in demand, due mostly to the needs of an aging population,” he said. “In areas where ‘building up’ is prevalent, having a totally accessible home has become a necessity.”
“Building up” is happening all over the DFW area, from Park Cities townhomes, to Frisco estates. Many of those people build their dream homes with the goal of living there for years, if not decades. With age can come mobility issues, and stairs can be not only difficult, but dangerous.
Adding a home elevator adds a luxurious, stylish feature that can increase a home’s value and assure total home accessibility for years to come.
Williams didn’t start off in the elevator business—he went to a trade school, then became the sales representative for a large durable medical equipment firm in Dallas. In addition to the usual items such as walkers, wheelchairs, and motorized scooters, they specialized in accessibility products, such as stairway chair lifts.
“With the advent of ADA legislation, we expanded into wheelchair lifts for schools, churches, and businesses,” Williams said. “It was a natural progression to offering home elevators to fill our clients’ needs.”
Williams saw an opportunity in 2003 to start his own company, and Elevating Systems was born.
“I see an ever increasing demand for our products,” he said. “We work closely with architects and builders, as well as end-users, to assure the home can be fully utilized for years to come.”
As we’ve noted before, home elevators range from budget friendly units in the $20,000 range that give mobility-impaired homeowners a sense of independence, to ultra-luxury systems upwards of $100,000 that add a dose of pizzaz to a trip down to the wine cellar. Williams has them all.
One thing Williams is quick to note: it’s simpler and less expensive to install an elevator during a home’s construction, rather than trying to figure out where to fit one later. In order to be ADA compliant, most elevators need a five-foot-square space, about the size of a small walk-in closet.
“It’s easier to work with a builder during construction,” Williams said. “No matter how good the builder is, he may not be paying attention to the center line of the home.”
Williams says he’s seen the way a home elevator can change a prospective buyer’s perception of a house on the market.
“I was recently contacted by a real estate agent regarding a large home being marketed that does not have an elevator. The input from prospective buyers has been, ‘where could we put an elevator?,’” he said. “So an elevator certainly opens up the market for resale as well. We intend for our company to continue to serve the needs of our generation for many years to come.”