Going Up?

Residential elevator sales are on the rise.



Imagine having to move that cumbersome piano you just inherited up a staircase. You recently hurt your back, and the steepness of the steps makes for a precarious climb. How many buddies can you convince (i.e., bribe) to come over and help? Or, more likely, how much will you have to shell out to professional movers to get the job done?

The answer to both questions? Zero. If you have a home elevator, that is.

Generally speaking, when one thinks of a home elevator, "modest living" is not what naturally comes to mind. New innovations in technology and affordability, however, mean that you don't have to be Daddy Warbucks to put an elevator in your home. Home elevators have become an increasingly popular — and practical — trend in the homeowner's market. The affordability and convenience of installation is catalyzing the growth of the residential elevator market. In the last five years, home elevator sales have doubled, and the benefits of adding an elevator are plentiful. In addition to the element of extended luxury, they enhance mobility for the elderly or disabled, facilitate the moving of furniture across the house, and add up to 10 percent more value to a home. Nowadays, home elevators are more of a convenience than an extravagance, as 94,000 homeowners across the country found out last year.

American Access, now in its 11th year of operation, is the Mid-South's largest dealer and installer of residential elevators. They distribute elevators manufactured by ThyssenKrupp Access, the world's largest producer in this particular market. The vast majority of American Access customers go with the LEV, which takes up one-fourth the size of a staircase and looks like an unassuming hall closet from the outside. The LEV can be built into an already existed home or incorporated into a house under construction and is compatible with condominiums and two-story homes, in addition to multistory homes. The price of a standard, basic installation of a LEV is around $19,500, while the average installation, taking into account modifications, ends up at around $22,500. And an owner needn't stress out over the upkeep, either. A home elevator typically requires only two maintenance checks a year.

Worried that the addition of an elevator will bring an unwanted industrial intrusion into your living room? No worries. From an aesthetic end, there are now more than enough options for modification and alteration to address any concern a customer might have. With the LEV, for instance, cab options come in four varieties of a melamine finish: light oak, dark oak, champagne, and white. For those seeking a more natural appearance, birch, oak, and cherry are all options for a wood cab interior. Handrails can come in any of these wooden finishes, or one can steer in the direction of brushed and polished stainless steels or brushed and polished brasses. Ceilings come in the standard white melamine or, if preferred, solid hardwood and/or wood veneer to match the cab wall panes. The customer may also customize everything from the ceiling frames to the lights to the operating panel and call station. Another possible addition for a customer to choose from is the accordion gate, which, of course, comes with an array of modifications. With the plethora of options with which to dress up the cab, your elevator will blend in seamlessly with the rest of your home. 

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