We are currently working on plans for a new home. Our son is not yet in a wheel chair but if the day comes when he needs to be, we have decided we are going to be prepared. We have included 36" doorways, larger washrooms and special shower, reverse brick molds and no carpet. Is there anything else someone might suggest? Has anyone built and then wished they had done something different? Are there any little things that are easily overlooked? Any suggestions would be appreciated.
Thank You.

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We are also looking at building our son Maxx is just turned 7.
Here is our wish list.
However costs will weed out the list.

no (zero) step entry with a max. 1/2" threshold to enter house
energy efficient and healthy
keyless door locking system
indoor pool sauna steam room separate building ($$have to dream)
Drain in garage to wash chair
fold down shower seat or integral in shower
Shower light is a vapor resistant fixture
Many swinging doors are substituted with pocket doors.
universal/ accessible second bath
in floor heat
The electrical circuit breaker is located in the laundry rm. or garage with the uppermost circuit breaker not higher than 5'-0 above the floor
Windows with views have sills not higher than 3'-0" above the floor. windows are specified with low-E glass
Light switches and all mechanical operating devices are not higher than 4'-0 above the floor
natural light and incandescent and low voltage, energy efficient lighting
The electrical outlets are not lower than 2'-0
window assistive operating products
Casement windows allow for easier opening or easy open window system
Ease of rolling on the floors low carpet or hardwood floor.
Media room
Ability to roll under all sinks. Full extension drawers in kitchen and bath cabinets.
Ability to safely use every appliance in the kitchen and laundry room
Front door and doors 3.0 or more
power front door
peep" holes at 2 heights and/or door sidelights for guest viewing.
Wet bath?
Bathroom roll in shower also 6 foot turn radius drain in corner not middle
6 turn radius bathroom
Grab bars
bathroom tiled everywhere
min 42 -48 inch hallways
Handles on door not knobs
x10 light switchs or rocker switches are low 30-42 ?
bathroom adjustable sink? Wall mount sink?
12-15 off wall toilet tall toilet?
Future shaft for elevator 5x5 closet? designed with removable floors electrical to handle elevator
covered  front porch. The surface is flat and a min. size of 5'x 5
pathway walks that are 4-0 or 5'-0" wide.
Kitchen 4 foot island in parts roll under
in-floor radiant heating systems
stairs strait wide (for lift)
kitchen computer desk
infrared sensors in faucets
remote door switches and TV monitor/intercom systems
American Lung association certified
Geo thermo heat and cool
Lift transport system bed to bath?
double doors ?
double door entry to house?
We are doing the exact same thing! I am sure there are great resources out there, but I haven't looked yet. We have not broke ground yet; we are still awaiting bids for subs. I will let you know if I find anything good! Luckily, our contractor has done tons of handicap rehabs for the state.
Wow Jack and Terry! You all have it down!! Eventually, we will have to build to. I would say our time frame is around 2 to 3 years ( my son is 10) before we will need to have an accessible house. I think I will print off your list and keep it for future reference.

OK, Rick forgive me for being a little a"dumb" on this, but what do you mean when you say " reverse brick molds"? Not sure what that's all about.

Thanks, Kristi
We are adding on and remodeling our existing home this summer. Ours plans were just finished and we are about to submit for permits. I'll probably be posting a lot on this topic over the summer as we go through the process. I'll try and upload our first floor floorplan and how we laid it. We have it so that our son's room is on the first floor with an accessible bathroom ajoining and our room is also on the first floor close to his. We have three other kids and they will all be on the second floor.
Hi Rick, 1 year ago we built an accessible home. The best thing we did was put an elevator in that will take our son to all 3 levels. We made sure that every door to every room in the house was accessible. We put in rocker light switches, and intercom so that we can hear him when we are asleep in our room (all the way at the other end of the house). We took out every hall way and put in wood floors. We have flat ceilings throughout so that as the need arises we can install a lift that will carry Carson throughout the house. We made his bathroom fully accessible by installing a huge roll in shower/steamer that has removable faucets so that he can shower himself; grab bars and portable shower seats. He does not have cabinets under his sink so that when the time comes he can roll all the way under. We added a ramp along with stairs coming in from the garage so that it works for everyone. We made sure that we had a huge flat driveway so that Carson could ride his scooter around with all the kids and not deal with hills to climb. Double front doors make it easy for him to go in and out to sit on the covered front porch. We installed a hot tub just out side the basement doors and it is a breeze for Carson to get in and out. We wanted to make sure that he could get everywhere in the home with ease. Our kitchen has an island along with a wheelchair height counter attached to it so that Carson and his friends can sit there with ease. I hope that everything we did to this house will be a waste but until the day we cure these boys, this was the best investment we ever made. I would love to send you pictures if you would like, or if you are ever in UT we would love to give you a tour. As of yet we have not regretted anything.
Make sure the living room area is pretty large that is where we have the most trouble. We thought we had made it large enough and in fact it is just barely enough room.
Others have given great feedback - but my main things are:
Ensure room for turning circles (Dusty's new Invacare wheelchair is 44 inches bow to stern!);
Wood floors (hardwood and distressed because they will get more distressed!);
If you do an elevator make sure it is big enough!
When it is time to have a wheelchair in the house nuke all the rugs and get a handyman to come in and do paint repair every few months!
Wow, this is great. We have been wanting to remodel too if we can gather enough money together. My question is, how expensive are elevators? We are deciding to put in a chair lift so we have to make sure the stairs are wide enough. Any thoughts for those who have done this already? I would so appreciate it. Thank you.

Kari Schultz
Two strange things people suggested to me when we built our house were:

power outlet in the closet with a shelf to charge wheelchair battery. This has been very handy for all his remote control cars, etc. We also put four plug outlets (instead of two) everywhere and more then is standard.

Will your son be a chef or will it be easier on mom to have a "normal" kitchen? What will a teenage boy use? We only have counters, cabinets and the microwave at adjusted levels & access.

We finished our house almost 3 years ago when Jack was 5 and have not "tested" it on a daily basis yet. We have had friends over who have "tested" it and so far so good.

We did put carpet in the house, knowing that it would be something we would replace eventually. Because of the open floor plan, the house is already an echo chamber and wood/tile floors would make that worse.

Ang :)
Wow, this is great. We have been wanting to remodel too if we can gather enough money together. My question is, how expensive are elevators? We are deciding to put in a chair lift so we have to make sure the stairs are wide enough. Any thoughts for those who have done this already? I would so appreciate it. Thank you.

We are working on a limited budget as well and I am determined not to go into debt to do this. My husband is a carpenter and we have some family/friends that know how to swing a hammer so we are doing all the labor ourselves. Here are some of the things I have done so far:

- Instead of hiring an architect I did my own research on accessible houses and did the floorplan design myself (I have a design background so that helps).

-I hired an architectural graduate student who had access to a CAD program to do the mechanical drawings for the township permits.
* Floor Plan
* Front, sides and rear elevations
* Foundation plan with walkout details, if applicable
* Window and door sizes and placement
* Cross section detail

- I have been finding lots of building materials from Craiglist and some on ebay. Craiglist is better though. Look under free, general, materials and barter. You would be surprised what people just give away because they just want it out of their garage! You have to consider your gas cost to get it (especially now) so the price has to be cheap or it's not worth the drive. I try and find things as close to home as I can. Look under barter also. I am into gardening and bartered some of my perennials for 50 brand new cement blocks (for our foundation) last week.

- Often times in the loading dock area of Home Depot or Lowes you will see piles of lumber or other things that are sitting there on the islands. Check it out - they are not always sitting there for pick-up. They put things out there that are slightly damaged, wood is a little warped or something for a substantial discount. I bought a huge pile of lumber yesterday that was slightly warped for half price.

- check out deconstruction companies, material salvage companies, and the local Habitat for Humanity home centers in your area. Their inventory changes every day but you can get put on a list to call when something comes in that you are specifically looking for.

- try and find state resources to help with some of the cost.
I even came across a used residential elevator on Craigslist. There is a link on the ad for the company that makes it but in case the ad disappears I attached a link below to the company.


Thanks for all the suggestions. We received the preliminary drawings from our architect last week and will change a couple of things based on some of your suggestions. We are building a 2000 square foot rancher with (I hope) a finished basement. We are going to forego the elevator option and just make sure the stairway down to the basement is wide enough to allow for some type of lift in the future. We actually have twin boys but only Andy has DMD. We have their bedrooms side by side with a large pocket door between them, this way they can be together but still have their private areas when they get on each others nerves. The reverse brick mold that I mentioned earlier has something to do with the way the foundation is poured. It means that we will not require any ramps in or out of the house, flush entry from the garage into the mud room and flush exit from the home out onto the patio. The rest of the plan is wide open concept. This home is being designed around Andy's needs but I think it is very important to not forget the rest of the family. We are including a large basement bedroom for our 14 year old daughter ( a real cool teen pad). Myself I get an office and my wife a large walk in closet and an ensuite with jacuzzi tub, everyone needs their getaway places. At this point we have only purchased the lot with an agreement to commence building on or before June 1st of next year. This is nice because it give us one year to tweak our plans and talk to a number of different builders. We are going to be prepared but I pray that the accessible features we add to this home will never be needed until I am in need of a wheelchair as an old old man. Thanks again for all your ideas.

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