Home Elevators: A Rising Trend

Among the nicest things my grandfather did for my grandma was to have a house elevator installed. They dwelt in a two-story house with all the main living room and bedrooms on the upper floor. My grandma was frail enough that getting upstairs from their principal entrance on the ground level was a daunting task. My grandparents weren’t wealthy individuals, and their house wasn’t large — maybe 1,800 square feet. However, my grandfather knew just how much she wanted to remain in her house, so that he put one in. Now that’s love!

That was about 35 years ago, way before aging in place became a common term. People have always looked for ways to remain in their houses as they aged, but with all the Baby Boomers’ influential numbers and recent cheaper innovations in engineering, home elevators are getting to be an extremely desirable amenity. And as loudly as my knees creak when I come down my staircase, I think one of these is definitely in my future. Now I need to choose out my elevator music. Maybe a particularly schmaltzy worthy cover of a Barry Manilow tune?

Elad Gonen

Have a load off your feet and ride up in fashion. This slick elevator seems as good as any you’d find in a modern apartment building, but if you have one of your own, why not personalize it with art and a place to sit down?

In rather broad terms, there are 3 chief kinds of elevators. The first is hydraulic. It takes up quite a bit of space in your house and requires a machine space for the equipment that runs the elevator. If your home is a brand new construction, then it is a bit easier to plan the space required for that type of elevator.

Landmark Builders

I enjoy the way the designer utilized paneling and a stunning wood door to combine this elevator with the home’s decor. A contemporary convenience doesn’t have to look strange in a conventional space.

The second kind of elevator is referred to as a grip elevator or MRL (machine space –not as ) elevator, and as the name suggests, it does not need a separate machine room. It works by slipping up and down a track with a counterweight. If you are retrofitting, then this kind is a better bet. It still needs additional space above the top of the elevator to house the equipment that runs it.

Pangaea Interior Design, Portland, OR

Pneumatic Elevator Tube

The pneumatic elevator is the third kind and the latest innovation. This giant freshwater tube using a separate tube inside for your cab functions with atmosphere pressure, pretty much like these deposit tubes at the lender drive-through (though, thank goodness, you don’t whiz through really that quickly ). The 37-inch-diameter tube could be set up with no need to build a rotating shaft or a machine room, so in the event that you need an elevator at an existing house, this may be the one for you. It needs no machine room, since the pump box that runs the elevator is only 11 inches tall and the same diameter as the tube.

Although you don’t have to build a rotating shaft, therefore this is a pretty easy thing to install, you need to have wide enough doorways to find the tube in your house. It needs a 39-inch-wide opening to undergo, and many doorways are approximately 36 inches or less.

Watch a wealth of technical data about pneumatic elevators here

Phil Kean Designs

So just how much does an elevator price? Well, that’s a tricky question. As you can see there are a couple of types, and it makes a difference if you are putting one in through new construction or whether you are retrofitting an existing space. The genuine elevator itself can run $15,000 to $25,000, which doesn’t include the cost of constructing a rotating shaft or a machine room or jogging electrical.

V & Company, Fine Builders

The price tag is also influenced by the number of floors served and the choices you choose. You could go with a very small, simple fashion, as in the photograph above, or…

Landmark Builders

… you can opt for rich wood paneling, stone, mosaic, mirrors, grab bars — and let’s not forget lift music. Yes, a few of these come with the ability to pipe .

Another important add-on is a telephone. Since we don’t always carry our mobile phones about with us when we’re in the home, I feel any elevator must incorporate a phone for emergencies.

The total price to put in an elevator can easily arrive in about $100,000 in the event that you have to retrofit and opt for lots of whistles and bells.

Dan and Hila Israelevitz- Architects

You might create a gorgeous, wood-clad central shaft wrapped with stairs. This elevator shaft is so well designed that it functions as an attractive architectural element, as beautiful as it is functional.

This layout seems like it had been a part of the original home program. If you are attempting to obtain a place in an existing home and don’t wish to make it look just like you crowded an elevator inside, consider building a shaft along the outside of your home with all the doors opening to the house. A 6-foot from 6-foot addition may be sufficient, and it would allow you to preserve the look of your interior.

Canyon Design Build

Aging in place is not the sole good reason to have an elevator. This home includes a garage on one degree and also a ravine between it and the home. This elevator is connected to the back of the garage, and a walkway crosses the ravine. Without the lift can you imagine the increase from the garage to carry groceries in?

Scott Allen Architecture

Many luxury homes make the most of precarious property. This house is built on a cliffside. What you’re taking a look at is not their yard, it is a green roofing. The lift takes you down to the home. Pretty slick!


If you are building or remodeling your home now and would prefer an elevator , then think about building the shaft now. It doesn’t have to be wasted space until you’re ready to put in the elevator. This tiny office space sits at the lift shaft of this home. When the owners are ready, the desk will come out and an elevator will proceed in.

Pangaea Interior Design, Portland, OR

Elevator Music (At Its Worst): The Elevator Troubadours: MP3 Download – $8.99

If you’re still having a hard time trying to choose what songs to play that will truly be elevator-esque, give this album a listen… at least as long as you can stay awake.

Tell us Can you have an elevator or strategies to place one in? Tell us in the Comments section.

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