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  1. #1
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    Building a non-standard house

    My wife and I are attempting to build a new house and we want to make the ceilings 72" high instead of 96" high because I am in a T10 complete in a wheelchair.

    Lending institutions will not lend us the money because this is not a standard house and will be hard to re-sell.

    Anyone have any suggestions...

    EM

  2. #2
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    Greetings

    Why would you want to build a 6' ceiling ?
    Is everyone in your life (Parents, siblings, in-laws, friends, relatives, rest of the world) all under 6' tall ?
    The cost difference isn't much and all standard stud lengths are 8', meaning you'll end up buying the same amount of studs for your home and cutting 2' off of each, which is far more time consuming.
    The bank is correct. If your home is not built to code then you will not be loaned money.
    At least that's how it works here in Canada.

    Paul

  3. #3

    No Offense, but......

    If I was your wife, over time I would feel VERY closed in with 6' ceilings. Maybe that's because I'm 5'8" tall. On the other hand, I guess it would be easy to change light bulbs when they burn out!

  4. #4
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    I want to be able to change my own light bulbs without to having to call someone else to do it for me.

    We also had one of our dogs die today--anyone in a wheelchair had any experiience digging holes from a wheelchair, or do I have to call someone to that too...

    EM

  5. #5
    Senior Member Scorpion's Avatar
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    Originally posted by em:

    I want to be able to change my own light bulbs without to having to call someone else to do it for me.


    You want 6' ceilings so you can change the lightbulbs yourself? Even in a wheelchair, 6' ceilings would drive me crazy. My suggestion, go with standard height ceilings and buy some of the new 5 year lights so you won't have to ask for help changing them for 5 years. Asking for help once in a while isn't so bad.

    Sorry to hear about your dog.

    ~Rus

    "We are not brave because we are free. We are free because we are brave." ~ Rich Ward (Stuck Mojo / Sick Speed)

  6. #6
    Senior Member Scorpion's Avatar
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    The more I think about it, the more I think this is some kind of a joke.

    Em, if it's not a joke, I'm curious to know what your wife thinks of 6' high ceilings. Couldn't she change lightbulbs for you?

    ~Rus

    "We are not brave because we are free. We are free because we are brave." ~ Rich Ward (Stuck Mojo / Sick Speed)

    [This message was edited by Scorpion on December 02, 2001 at 05:43 PM.]

  7. #7
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    No--it's not a joke. It's not a joke that my little girl wanted to know who was going to bury her dog because her daddy can't. It's not a joke that my wife had to get the tractor and find the dog because her husband can't get into rough areas anymore. What's a joke is all this crap about paras and quads being independent...

    EM

  8. #8
    Senior Member Scorpion's Avatar
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    Originally posted by em:

    No--it's not a joke. It's not a joke that my little girl wanted to know who was going to bury her dog because her daddy can't. It's not a joke that my wife had to get the tractor and find the dog because her husband can't get into rough areas anymore. What's a joke is all this crap about paras and quads being independent...

    EM
    Em,

    I'm sorry that I perceived it might be a joke.

    But paras and quads can be independent. I've lived on my own since 1995, and I'm a quad. But guess what, I have to ask someone for helping changing a light bulb in my ceiling. Big f*ckin' deal. I also need to ask for help dusting where I can't reach, for helping me get to my van if it's snowing, etc. etc. etc.

    Look, losing a dog is terrible, I know. But just because you can't bury your dog doesn't mean you can't be independent. Independence doesn't mean you don't need help from anybody in the world. When you were able-bodied, did you do everything for yourself, never asking for help with anything? Did you never call a plumber? Did you never take your daughter to a doctor when she was sick?

    Em, SCI f*cks with your ego, your self-image, your masculinity and your self esteem. But, in my humble opinion (a C-6 quad for 11 years), I feel the need to say this: If you want a house with 6' ceilings (the average able-bodied male stands around 5'9" by the way) so you can change the light bulbs all by yourself, I feel you're missing the big picture, bro. You're a T-10 para, and that sucks big time. But you've got a wife & daughter who love you. You've got more physical ability thsan a lot of people with SVI. I doubt anybody is going to think you're less of a man because you can't change a lightbulb or you can dig a hole to bury your dog. If they did, they'd be schmucks.

    I'm sorry if my post sounds rude, but the reason I thought your post might be a joke is because I couldn't figure out why someone would be so selfish that they want a house built that would be uncomfortable for just about everybody else, but great for him, because he could change the lightbulbs without actually having to swallow his pride and ask for help.

    Nobody on this planet gets through life with no help, and while it's tragic that you broke your back and now have to have more help than you ever thought you'd need, your life isn't over. There's always someone worse off than you, and asking for help changing a f*ckin' lightbulb seems pretty trivial when there are a bunch of people reading these boards who have to ask for help getting a drink of water or a bite to eat.

    So, forgive me for thinking your posts in this thread were a joke, but between seeing punks post messages just for kicks or just to insult someone, and the hard-to-believe notion that 6' ceilings are a good idea, I was skeptical. I've seen a lot of pranksters online over the years, so I'm sometimes jaded.

    But I don't apoligize for my opinions that I've stated here. If you seriously think 6' ceilings are a good idea, I suggest you get some counseling and try and gain some perspective on things. I'd give my left nut to have the functioning of a T-10 para, to have a family, to be able to have a house built. Even so, I've got it better than a lot of people with or without SCI.

    Building an accessible home is one thing. Building a home sized only for people in wheelchairs or little people seems pretty selfish and short sighted to me. But that's just my opinion--I could be wrong.

    Again, I'm sorry for the loss of your dog. Mine died 10 years ago and I still miss her.

    ~Rus

    "We are not brave because we are free. We are free because we are brave." ~ Rich Ward (Stuck Mojo / Sick Speed)

    [This message was edited by Scorpion on December 03, 2001 at 12:02 AM.]

  9. #9
    Senior Member martha's Avatar
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    em, I think it's great that you even want to change your own light bulbs. Have you tried one of those poles with the choice of either suction cups or "grabbers" on it? I got one for our high ceilings and it sure beats having to drag out a ladder. It actually works very well.

    I'm very sorry about your dog. We lost the last of our "pack" recently and it did hurt my husband to have to watch me dig the grave and bury the big guy so I know what you're going through. They truly are man's (and woman's) best friend and their loss is like that of a family member. I'm sure the loss is exacerbated by your inability to help with his "arrangements". You have my sincerest sympathy on your loss.

    How recent is your injury?

    martha

  10. #10
    EM,

    I was just thinking that it might be short-sighted to build a house that is suitable only for a person in a wheelchair. You might one day walk or want to sell the house to somebody who is not in a wheelchair.

    Over the last four years, I have been spending a lot of time looking at and thinking about designs that are not only more aesthetic but more practical and inexpensive than conventional houses. We used some of these design principles in the W. M. Keck Center. For example,

    1. Lighting.
    • Natural light. If possible, use natural lighting through a skylight or windows. For example, use upside-down window shades. These are the simple spring-loaded and string-drawn rolling shades that are mounted on the bottom. You pull shades up rather than down or sideways. This allows natural light to come in the top and having the shade half way up will give you privacy.
    • Reflected light. Avoid ceiling lights. Instead, use halogen lights on stands, and point them up to reflect off the ceilings. These halogen lamps are usually cheap, can be readily replaced, keeps the upper walls and ceilings uncluttered. They also provide attractive reflected bright light with good energy efficiency.

    2. A table-top universe.
    • Put all light switches, power plugs, controls, etc. at tabletop level. This is good for everybody. Also, having all the electricity at one level makes it easier to plan the wiring.
    • Set all surfaces at a sit-down tabletop level. Most people work better seated anyway. Set up islands that can be used on multiple sides. For example, a kitchen with a central stovetop/oven combination is better than stacking it up on a wall.
    • Leave the underneath of the table-top spaces open instead of filling them with built-in cabinets. Leave spaces underneath sinks and kitchen tables open. This way, a person in a wheelchair can fit legs underneath the space. The spaces are easier to clean, cheaper, and you can roll portable rolling cabinets into the space as needed.

    3. Storage.
    • Use built-in storage closets that are big enough to roll-in (walk-in)
    • Low cabinets along the walls. The tops of the cabinets can be used as book shelves, sitting spaces, or for propping up your art and books, and other works of art.
    • Use rolling cabinets for storage.

    4. Centralize into the middle of the room and allow path all the way around the island.
    • Put tables, work areas, kitchen island, shower, etc. in the middle of the room. Avoid putting things up against the wall.
    • Round corners off the tables and surfaces... this gives you more room for the wheelchairs to go around but allows the similar amount of working table-top space (we use U-shaped lab benches in our center).

    5. Doors and windows
    • Use sliding doors with low friction rollers hung on a railing. The railing can be set at a slight angle so that the doors tend to move open, into the wall with minimum effort. These doors are also advantageous because they save a lot of space, the doors are hidden when they open, and they do not require a door threshold.
    • Use windows that open outward using a crank. This is much better than windows that people have to stand and have strength to pull up or down.
    • Set the windows sills at a low level (this is good for looking out and the window sills can be used to place things or as seats for people).

    6. Eliminate obstacles.
    • If the stairs and steps are already built-in, a cheaper way may be to raise other parts of the apartment/house to the same level.
    • Eliminate or reduce unnecessary walls.
    • Use low-friction carpet or fake hardwood floors to reduce the amount of effort needed to roll the wheelchair around.

    7. Transparent and movable furniture.
    • Use glass-walled cabinets, refrigerators, and storage cabinets (this reduces the need to open doors to see what is inside them).
    • Use rolling chairs. This way you can easily push them out of the way.
    • Use light furniture so that they are easier to move.

    8. Electronic
    • Use a LCD projector for your computer and television. Project the image on a wall. While it is more expensive than a television, a projector is more flexible, takes up less room, has a larger and higher resolution image, and can do both computer and television. Most projectors can also be switched from one mode to another wirelessly with a single button push.
    • Go wireless for all your communications and control needs... wireless headphones, computer network, wireless telephone, wireless light switches and controls, etc.. Wireless is now cheaper than built-in wiring.

    Wise

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