Converting a regular home to one that is fully accessible for someone with mobility issues may make discerning homeowners worry about the final aesthetic appeal of the home. Everyone wants their house to be safe and comfortable for all family members, but they also want it to be attractive. Don't worry: it's possible to have it all with a little extra planning.
Exterior Accessibility Ideas
Consider making the ramp leading into the home gradual, using decorative railings or building stone or brick planters on either side. This will make it look like a part of the landscape design as well as make the ramp easier and safer for use because the slope will be less steep than many direct ramps. Installing in-ground lighting along the sides will create a decorative feature for after dark as well as increase visibility while on the ramp.
For the doorway, threshold mats are available in several colors and give the appearance of a basic doormat. These mats are designed to be trimmed to specifically fit the width and depth of the doorway, slope slightly for easy entrance, and have an adhesive backing that helps them to remain in place.
Kitchen Design Ideas
Luckily, many popular kitchen designs also work well for accessible kitchens. Separate cooktops and ovens work easier than a single unit because the oven can be mounted slightly higher to make it easy to access. The cooktop can be installed into the counter with no bottom cabinets so the chair can fit easily into the space for cooking. Refrigerators with freezers on the bottom are a good option because it makes it easy to use the freezer. Islands make it possible to have additional storage space so eliminating upper cabinets is not a concern. Plan rounded counter designs to make the travel route flow easier and avoid sharp countertop corners. Install deep sliding drawers rather than cupboards that make it simple to access even the items tucked in the back.
Updating the Bathroom
A fully tiled bathroom with a center drain and large, open shower stall makes it easy to get into the shower without the worry of water leakage. Low mounted, handheld shower heads and shower chairs or a slip-free built-in bench should be included. Bathroom sinks should be narrow for ease of use with lower drawers included on either side of the sink but open beneath so the chair will fit in comfortably. Eliminate bathroom closets, but install a low, long cabinet with smooth sliding drawers for storage. The surface of the cabinet can double as a roomy bench that can be used while drying off and dressing.
Accessible homes are a necessity for many, especially as the baby boomer generation continues to age. However, not everyone wants to give up their pride in the beauty of their home just because their needs require those changes. Luckily, manufacturers, contractors, and designers are becoming more accustomed to pairing accessibility with beauty, and there and many design options available for every room of the house. If you'd like further advice or ideas or if you want to schedule an appointment to have your home inspected for ideas, contact a representative from a company like R+D Architecture.