16 September 2009

Virtual Happy Dance

We moved into our new bedroom last night. The remodeling project we started last December has finally produced an accessible bathroom, and a bedroom I can get into without having to calculate the width of the doorway to the nearest angstrom. We're not done yet -- in fact, I guess we're still a couple of months out -- but progress is being made.

We moved here 3 1/2 years ago, from a house about a mile away. In our previous house, there were always stairs between where you were, and where you wanted to be. When I started having trouble getting around, that began to be a problem. It would have been possible to make that house accessible, at great expense, but it would never have been convenient. So we moved here.

This house is on a single level. We knew we'd have to make some modifications. The two concrete steps up to the front door would have to go. Getting in the front door required negotiating a very lumpy threshold and then making an immediate 90° turn to avoid smacking into a wall. Doors were kind of narrow, but that's a relatively easy fix. There was a bizarre 2 foot wide, 6 foot long hallway (we called it the habitrail) between the master bedroom and the door to the master bath. I still have no idea why that was there. But we knew we'd have to tear out the master bath to repair some rot anyway, so what the heck.

When we moved into this house, I could still walk, kind of, using forearm crutches, but I mostly used a wheelchair indoors, a scooter outside. I could still get in and out of the bathtub by myself, although I didn't feel particularly safe doing it, and shower without help. Fortunately we planned the remodel to accommodate someone who was more disabled than I was at the time.

We worked with an architect who is in a wheelchair himself, as a result of a spinal cord injury. His design preferences are somewhat different  from ours, but when it comes to adapting for a disability, he totally gets it. The planning/design process took almost exactly 3 years. We went through several iterations, but I'm glad we did it on paper instead of after we started to build.

So far, we've moved the front door, and built a ramp to it. We have an accessible bathroom, with a wall-hung sink that I can reach, and a roll-in shower. There are pocket doors into the bedroom and bath. There is more to do yet; we need to get the living room reassembled, sheetrock and paint and stuff. Of course, this whole thing cost way more and took way longer than we expected, but we're likin' it. We're likin' it.

1 comment:

  1. Zoom - sounds great! Must be very exciting for you.

    We were lucky that the bedroom/bathroom are on the same level as the LR, DR, kitchen and such. Only 1 small step to get out of the house, we put in a bridge between the house and garage, with a ramp down to the patio, so Skip can get around easily.