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Thread: Building a New Accessible Home!

  1. #1

    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. #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. #3
    Senior Member JMILLER11's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    new baltimore, mi
    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. #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. #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. #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. #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 at 05:25 PM. Reason: ADD MORE PICTURES

  8. #8
    Senior Member Sh0rty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    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. #9
    Senior Member Foolish Old's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Florida Keys
    Quote 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.

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  10. #10
    Senior Member Lois's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Oak Ridge, NJ USA

    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)?

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