Field interviews were conducted with seven clients with disabilities for the purpose of developing design guidelines for apartments suitable for independent living. Analysis of these data generated six factors that were highly valued and felt to contribute to the success of these individuals' venture into community living. Control appears to be the central construct and to subsume the other concepts: safety/security, accessibility/mobility, function, flexibility and privacy. These findings are presented and discussed here as a working model of environmental control. These ideas are suggested as hypotheses which would need to be tested and refined further before being used as a model to guide clinical interventions.