For many of us, a dream home is just that. A remarkable and amazing place in our minds we escape to in our daydreams. Building it would be an exciting thing to do but somehow, it all seems a bit too unreal to achieve. As we grow older and our needs change, this prospect may feel even more unfeasible. Surely, ‘dream home’ and accessibility can’t exist in the same sentence! Or at least, that’s what we think.
Many people have been able to achieve the dream of creating a beautiful, distinctive home that still caters to their needs. And, as you’ll find out shortly, they didn’t need to compromise on style to do this.
Having a home that is accessible and comfortable to live in is so important as we age. A space that allows us to move freely in our own way has enormous long-term emotional and physical benefits. But prioritising mobility doesn’t mean you need to forgo a stylish and pleasant living space.
Here are 5 fantastic examples of accessible homes that show it’s entirely possible to create a home that’s both stylish and accessible.
Mike and Linda’s eco-friendly oasis
This couple has their son architect Olly Bray to thank for this one. On top of being environmentally kind and futureproof, Bray’s design took into account his father’s multiple sclerosis.
The reverse-level design provides more accessible bedrooms on the ground floor while the upper open-plan living space takes advantage of the area’s breathtaking sea views. The installed lift allows Mike to move effortlessly between both floors. Glass doors provide access to the terrace without steps or a change in floor level.
Breaking barriers with Ian and Thea
Architects Thea and Ian place their daughter Greta, at the centre of everything they do. So when it came to designing a better living space that would cater to her needs they were set on breaking all barriers in her way.
Known as the Ramp House, their home is designed over two levels. Only having a limited amount of land made it a challenge for the family to design a single-storey home. The couple didn’t want to create a difference between them and Greta by installing a lift, so they connected both levels with a ramp for everyone to use. That resulted in a unique, contemporary space the whole family could love and appreciate. The BBC features their story here.
Just one storey for Pennie and Charles
Low maintenance was key for retired partners Charles and Pennie who also wanted an accessibility-friendly environment for their daughter, a wheelchair user and frequent visitor.
They gave Strom Architects the commission to create a stunning minimalist, single-storey living space. Characterised by roomy corridors and spacious open-plan living, the property is fully accessible. Level thresholds blend seamlessly with outside space to provide a living experience that connects with nature.
A forever home Mark and Jordanne’s
With a baby on the way, Mark and Jordanne were keen to find their ‘perfect forever home’. As reported by the Telegraph, they found it in a David Wilson Homes development that was also able to accommodate double Paralympic bronze medallist Mark’s accessibility needs. While the home already boasted such features as well-positioned power sockets and light switches, the company was more than happy to install extra additions such as a stairlift and ramp leading to the back door.
Lara and Dieter’s open-plan dream
At the bottom of her garden, Lara found the opportunity to create a more user-friendly living space that would better cate to her needs. Along with her husband, Dieter, they used a building plot at the back of their former garden as the foundation for a new contemporary home. They focused on bringing in as much light and space as possible, avoiding problematic features like narrow corridors altogether. Kitchen countertops are low enough to reach via wheelchair and there’s also a lift to help Lara descend to the lower level.
We hope the above homes and their stories inspire you to improve upon your own home. If you’re still concerned about the cost of such modifications, here are some pointers for making things more affordable:
Install wooden flooring – Simply changing your floors from carpet to wood will allow you to move more effectively if you use a wheelchair. Doors and passageways can also be widened or walls removed to create a more open-plan environment.
Use hoists and rails – One of the most affordable solutions for making your home easier to navigate are rails and hoists. You can affix these to any wall to enjoy more comfort and flexibility in moving around. They come available in stylish metals and finishes so they can still blend in with your space.
Try out these ideas in the bathroom – Here are a few affordable ideas for items and features you can install in your bathroom for improved accessibility.
Use technology – One of the most simple and most cost-effective improvements you can make is by making your house smarter. With the right system in place, you could operate items remotely, lowering cupboards and surfaces to your required level and turning appliances on and off remotely.