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Building a New Accessible Home!

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  • Building a New Accessible Home!

    My wife and I are finally going to get out of our rip off apartment and are currently in the process of building our home. My wife and I designed it ourselves and it is going to be completely accessible to me. I can't wait to actually be able to use the sink, pantry, and otherS, not have to squeeze through the doorways, and have an actual roll-in shower. I would love to have any suggestions that any of you might have during this process, especially if you've been through this before.

  • #2
    Hire an architect

    I know this adds cost, but a knowledgeable architect will have suggestions that never occurred to you. Of course, knowledgeable refers to "barrier-free" design. Do not defer to your wife's aesthetic wishes unless they are also fully accessible to you. The areas in question are the kitchen, laundry room, closets, etc. Make sure that you are able to perform all essential functions independently, or depending on your disability, with minimal assistance. You never know when you will be by yourself due to illness, family emergencies, etc. Since you don't state your age, consider what your function will be 20 or 30 years down the road. Make provision for that person instead of who you are now. It is easier and cheaper to do these things now than retrofit them later. Finally, if you or your wife are gainfully employed, check with your local VR office about paying for ramps, lifts, or stairglides. If you work, you will need them to get to and from work. If your wife works, you will need them to do "homemaker" chores to free her to work. BTW, if you receive SSI or SSDI benefits, you are automatically financially eligible for VR services despite your income. Just be prepared to state your case as I have suggested above. Good luck.


    • #3
      Congratulations! I haven't yet, but one day hope to, build myself. One thing you may have already planned on, but I notice makes a big difference is hallway width. Tight hallways are a pain and will eventually get marked up.

      Keep us updated and hopefully post some pics as you go.


      • #4
        Congratulations!!! I had my home built almost 20 years ago. Tasty is absolutely correct. Think about the long term and aging. When I built my home I was able to stand step over the little curb in a shower and sit in a chair. Even though I was able to do that I still had my shower built as a roll in and good thing I did. It gets difficult as we get older. Also this may seem small but I have pocket doors for for my bathrooms. They are great and you don't have to worry about a 3' door coming in and out of the bathroom. This may sound silly to the average person but when you put your toilet seat in think of which way is easier for you to transfere. Left to right or right to left. The place of the commode can make a big difference when it comes to transferring. Same for where your window will be in bedroom for placement of bed. The first 20 years I had carpeting. Terrible for wheelchairs. I switched to hardwoods. Easier to manuever and keep clean. Especially if once in awhile you become incontinent with bladder or bowels. I also had a small mud room put in at the entrance to the house from the garage. This was great because I use it as a first floor laundry room AND a place for me to wipe down my chair on those snowy or muddy rainy days, not to mention for ab's also. In my kitchen all my lower cabinets have roll out drawers. This is great not just for you but ab's as well. No back straining reaches. I'm sure I will think of more. When I do I will post. Congratulations again and you will love it.


        • #5
          i just went through this process and I am a building designer myself. Please feel free to inquire at will!
          C5-6 - 22 years


          • #6
            Here's a few pictures of the one I'm going to build. I can design or draw a house if need by anyone. I can give you a 3-D view of your whole house. Contact me if anyone is interested in it.


            • #7

              5' x 5' Shower and Front view. I'm trying to build as cheap as I can and spend more money on the inside. The front side faces a hill side.
              Last edited by tigger74; 01-09-2007, 05:25 PM. Reason: ADD MORE PICTURES


              • #8
                tigger74 that ramp to basement thing looks sweet. How long would it have to be? I have an elevator in this house and it is a pain in the ass and not always dependable so I don't go downstairs when I am alone. I am looking for ideas for my next place and never thought of something like that.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sh0rty
                  tigger74 that ramp to basement thing looks sweet. How long would it have to be?
                  The length of the ramp is determined by the vertical distance between floors and the slope of the ramp. ADA calls for a 1 to 12 pitch for ramps. This may be gentler than you need, but it's a good starting point. Eight feet between floors is another good ballpark figure. So, using the above, you would need a ramp 96 feet long. To comply with ADA you would also need a flat 5 foot resting platform every 30 feet. Total length of 111 feet.

                  "We have met the enemy and he is us."-POGO.

                  "I have great faith in fools; self-confidence my friends call it."~Edgar Allan Poe

                  "Dream big, you might never wake up!"- Snoop Dogg


                  • #10
                    Thanks all and a question for Shorty

                    Thank you for the great ideas everyone, especially tasty, Cara m and tigger74. I'm keeping a folder of pictures and ideas with the hope of some day building an accessible home.
                    Shorty, why is the elevator a pain (besides being unreliable which is obvious)?


                    • #11
                      Sorry for the delay guys I've had a long day. I appreciate your suggestions and info. I attached some pictures for you guys to see, although they are a couple of weeks old. I'll also tried to scan my floor plan for you guys to check out.

                      You will notice that I decided to add a third car garage, this is so that my wife can pull in the smaller third garage, while I pull in large garage and have room to pay down my ramp.


                      • #12
                        Thanks everyone. I decided to do the research myself and have designed the house to be "barrier-free", especially in the kitchen, laundry room, bathrooms, closets. I also designed the front exterior of the house. Then took my plan to the architect to draw it up professionally. It's really cool to see the house go up and be brought into fruition. My wife just basically gave her input up on the general style she likes and aesthetic wishes that have no effect on accessibility. Actually, she had some great accessibility of her own. We are actually about 2.5 months into it and am now trying to decide on a ceiling lift. I started a post about ceiling lifts here:


                        Tasty, you also mentioned vocational rehab paying for a ceiling lift? That would be fantastic. I will definitely be contacting them because the VA will not pay for ceiling lifts anymore. Do you think they would pay for an automatic door opener? Any tips on how to get this done with vocational rehab/Center for independent living would be appreciated.

                        By the way, I turned the big 30 yesterday! Oh No!


                        • #13
                          Happy Belated Birthday!!!

                          Your new home looks and sounds great! Don't forget to post more pictures ~ thanks!


                          • #14
                            I just find that I don't use the elevator, I would prefer everything on one floor. I have had one person stuck in my elevator so as I said I won't use it unless I know someone is here. atleast if it was a ramp I wouldnt have to worry about the cost to fix it when it breaks down or the worry that it will break down. Its a lot to maintain the elevator (could just be the type I have) I feel the cost was way more than it is worth.


                            • #15
                              We are getting ready to build also. My daughter already has her land. She wants a log house and since I am going to travel for a while and hopefully end up somewhere with a fulfilling job, I am thinking of adding a garage and then a mother in laws efficiency on the end of the garage. She wants a master bedroom on the second floor for her but otherwise I think I am going to go ahead and make everything accessible for later years. A spiral staircase is a must have for her as well but I am going to go ahead and make everything on the ground floor wide.

                              Anybody got experience or own a log house? There are a couple of local builders with good reputations but I am still hesitant. It is a big project for one person...LOL

                              The houses in this thread are beautiful...
                              T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

                              My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown