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My diary: Building a new home

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    Clipper, how fortunate that your father can supervise! My parents built a home, what a nightmare. My stepmom wanted it handicap accessible because Dad's getting up there, she used to be a nurse and thought it prudent. She hounded their quite excellent builder every day. I wind up in a chair, and guess what? Can't get in the front door or the bathrooms. Just a few oversights of just a few inches...

    C5/6 incomplete, injured Aug. 2000
    Does This Wheelchair Make My Ass Look Fat?


      Looking Good Clipper [img]/forum/images/smilies/smile.gif[/img]

      Best Wishes when you move in, and Good Luck!

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        Progess report: The exterior is coming together nicely, and the interior work continues. We have spoken with a variety of sub-contractors in the past two weeks as wiring and plumbing work begins.

        The drawing below is one half of the kitchen. The builder uses a firm that takes the architect's drawings for the kitchen and bathrooms and specifies specific cabinet arrangement. After some tinkering, these are the final designs. There's an entrance to the kitchen on the left, through the dining room, and another via the great room. The area above the cooktop opens into the great room.

        I don't use the kitchen much, as I am not a cook and have no plans to be. Therefore, the key elements were pantry access (left of the refrigerator), drawers, refrigerator, microwave and a small workspace. You can see the microwave in this drawing. Just below the microwave is a pull-out "bread board" to make loading and unloading easier. This is built atop a lowered countertop (30 inch clearance) with room to roll underneath. I will not be using the cooktop, so it remains at standard height.

        [This message was edited by Clipper on 12-02-03 at 10:46 PM.]

        [This message was edited by Clipper on 12-02-03 at 10:47 PM.]


          This drawing shows the opposite side of the kitchen. No accessibility adjustments here other than the type of hardware used on the cabinets. I tried to keep resale in mind while realistically assessing what features I will use.

          [This message was edited by Clipper on 12-02-03 at 10:49 PM.]


            Updated exterior photo. The siding color is a primer, not the real deal.


              Hey Clipper! Nice place you're building there, but, geez, I'd sure re-think your kitchen plans somewhat. Hey I know you said you don't cook much and don't plan to, but things may change, you never know. (They did with me) Even if you never do, I'm afraid you're being to concerned about resale, you seem to be putting that ahead of your own needs. (I also did that at my last home) [img]/forum/images/smilies/rolleyes.gif[/img] I was to damn worried about when I went to sell it, and didn't lower my cabinets and counters enough.

              You even leaving your cooktop at regular height, because you don't use it. Huh, your having this beautiful new home built for you, obviously you don't plan on moving out anytime soon, but you WON'T using your cooktop? [img]/forum/images/smilies/confused.gif[/img] Like ever or what? I hope your sink counter is lowered, it doesn't say.

              It also appears you are only giving yourself a tiny space beside the microwave to do everything. One roll under counter? What about your coffee pot, or can opener, toaster, etc, you are so going to wish you made "YOUR NEW HOME" - "CLIPPER FRIENDLY" You have an opportunity of a lifetime to build yourself a beautiful kitchen with accessibilty & the functionality that anyone in a chair would dream of. Geez, you're having to use a chairlift as it is, make the rest of your home as accessible as possible.

              I hope you don't take offence to what I'm saying, I'm only speaking from rollin around for 20yrs and fiquring out little things along the way. Please Clipper, think of yourself here, for today & down the road a few years, this is "YOUR HOME", we have enough challenges to deal with, and our homes shouldn't be one of them. [img]/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif[/img] (especially when we have a choice)

              [This message was edited by Monkeygirl on 12-03-03 at 04:07 AM.]


                Clipper, I was looking at the second kitchen sketch showing the sink and dishwasher. You know, it wouldn't be a big deal to modify the cabinet under the sink to make it a roll under set up.

                The bottom of the cabinet could be cut out and the toe kick could be added to the doors. The doors could be rehung on tracks like they put on entertainment centers for the TV cabinet. That would allow you to keep the look of the original cabinet. You could open the doors and slide them back out of the way while working at the sink.

                You might also consider a pull out cutting board to the left of the sink that would give you a lower work surface next to the sink for prepping vegetables and the like.

                That modification wouldn't be very hard, either. I have a couple of ideas for that if you're interested.

                Edited to add: if you don't already have this planned, look at in-cabinet ovens which open to the side like a microwave oven. This will make removing a hot turkey or other dish much easier than with a pull down door. They're even great for ABs so it won't have a negative impact on resale.

                [This message was edited by weekender on 12-03-03 at 01:20 PM.]


                  OMG! Clipper I looked again after weekenders post, and saw your sink. You can't leave it like that. You have to be able to drive under it with swing around room at a proper level, not only accessibility and convienience but a safety issue too. Hopefully we're just jumping the gun and you guys just haven't started the plans on that section of your kitchen. Oops if you haven't, bad idea if you have.


                    Thanks for the replies, Monkeygirl and weekender. I appreciate everything you've suggested. Please keep in mind two things:

                    1) I am C5/6 complete, 14 years post.
                    2) I have owned my own home (condo) for 7 years.

                    My new design is based on the way I use my current kitchen, my functional level and the way I would like to use my new kitchen. I gave the entire area considerable thought.

                    Cooktop: I originally planned to have a lowered electric cooktop with front-mounted controls and a smooth surface for sliding things on and off the burners. The area below the cooktop would allow me to roll underneath. But then I gave it more thought. I don't cook. I really don't want to learn to cook. Manipulating pots and pans at my level of injury does not appeal to me. I've never - not once - even wanted to use my current oven/cooktop. So, realistically, I can't see myself using the cooktop in my new home, either. I opted to go with the current setup, which requires a downdraft so that the sight lines into the great room are not obstructed by a hood. To me, for my use, this is the absolute best option.

                    Countertops: There actually are two lowered countertops with roll-under space - one by the microwave and another that is not shown in the current drawings (added today). I don't use appliances such as coffee pots myself, primarily because of functional reasons. In my current kitchen, I use the microwave only. I want to be able to heat things up, prepare small meals, access the fridge and pantry. Again, my decisions are based on my needs - past, present and future.

                    Sink: This is still under consideration. I've gone back and forth a zillion times. I probably will decide to make the modifications as suggested by weekender, although I must stress that my kitchen sink usage now is zero.

                    Oven: We looked at the various side-opening ovens and decided against one for two reasons: I had great difficulty opening the door, and I knew I'd never use it.

                    Simply put, I'm not a kitchen person and never will be. The kitchen is a very important room in terms of resale. I've had a lot of people review my plans, and the vast majority of able-bodied folks have said that lowered work surfaces would influence their decision to buy. I asked them to be brutally honest, and they were. The kitchen is not an important room to me personally. This is a very individual decision. It will be as accessible as I need it to be. My current home has given me a lot of insight into what I want in my new place. I've read books on accessible design and toured models.

                    Thank you both for your excellent ideas. They have been very helpful, and the "final" final design will reflect your input.


                      My husband does not cook, never did, never will. The only modifications we made were to eliminate the island (can be added later) and we also put the microwave at desk height. He can reach the sink sideways and the only dishwashing he does is to rinse a glass and put it in the dishwasher. Our pantry is next to our side by side refridgerator (ice and water dispenser on the door is favorite feature) We did double doors (french) to the pantry which has been easier than sliding or a large single. Pull out drawers in the lower cabinets have been very helpful. If you can swing it a double oven is a wonderful feature and would provide one at a lower level.



                        I was impressed by the vast amount of information you folks have described here...

                        We are in process of deciding between adapting and building. I'm more inclined to building... One of the companies I work for builds homes and my boss just told me today he would build one for us. His general flexibility is one of the great pros. Yesterday, I just got to see the house they finished up and were showing at the Parade of Homes. It's not build as wheelchair accessible, but I saw that most of the doorways were wider that usually and I just fell in love with the master bathroom - plenty of space. There is lots of space in the kitchen, I really like the idea of two drawer dishwasher that pull out.

                        Now my only question is, did you guys just go to the internet and found a floorplan you liked and had it adapted to your needs?

                        We are still in process of looking for property, so we are definitely in the beginning stage.

                        Good luck with your house Clipper, it's looking great!




                          Originally posted by krajaxa:

                          Now my only question is, did you guys just go to the internet and found a floorplan you liked and had it adapted to your needs?
                          In my case, this particular house had already been designated for this particular lot. We were given the opportunity to alter the plans, although we couldn't do anything that would change the "footprint" of the house. The inside was fair game. We had to pay architect fees to do this (less than $5,000). Building from scratch would have been too costly and too much of a headache, in my opinion.

                          Below is a photo of the sink I have selected for both of the full bathrooms. It's a Murro Wall-Mount Sink made by American Standard. It measures 21 inches wide (15.5-inch bowl width, 22 inches front to back (13.5-inch bowl) and 5 inches deep. I'm also getting the pictured shroud/knee contact guard. American Standard has a nice feature on its Web site that allows you to search for ADA compliant sinks such as this one. My current bathroom sink also is an American Standard, but it's a bit too institutional-looking.


                            Clipper, it does indeed sound as if you have thought things through very throroughly. I hope the remainder of the building process goes smoothly for you.


                              Just a warning about pull down shelves...

                              We had these installed in our upper cupboards to allow more accessible storage space but they are pretty much impossible for me (C 7/8) to use. We even removed one pneumatic ram to make it easier to pull down, but it's still very difficult. Also two of them are above counters with cabinets at the base so I can't get close enough to pull them down anyhow. An OT reccomended them and they sounded great bt in reality they aren't appropriate for me (maybe good for a para).

                              "Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow"
                              ~ Anon
                              Emily, C-8 sensory incomplete mom to a 8 year old and a preschooler. TEN! years post.


                                Below is a photo of the cooktop that we considered. It's made by Dacor and has an even surface. The best feature is the touch top -- no pressure needed to activate the controls. I tried it out at a store and found it very easy to use, though quite pricey. It's a good alternative if you have little or no finger dexterity.