My husband and I are incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to have an accessible house built for us by our local high school's trade school. They build a house every year and have been building accessible homes for the past 4 years. Actually, they build for a non-profit foundation every year. We are the "client" of the foundation. We pay for land, supplies, and any work requiring a licensed contractor. It's a really great opportunity for us as we do not have a budget that would allow for us to build any other way. While it's been in the works for awhile, we were just given final approval. We are in crunch time to purchase land, finalize plans, etc before school starts in the fall. I've reread everything written on this site to get lots of great ideas. One thing I'm wondering is what is the ideal height for tables, counter tops etc? Our son is not yet in a powerchair, so I don't have anything to go by. I'd appreciate your input.
Thank,
Danelle

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Hi Danelle,

I studied a lot of ADA requirements while obtaining my BA in Interior Design many years ago so I think I can provide some information here.
All power chairs and wheelchairs aren't the same exactically although I suspect there is an average range for height in inches. Without doing a complete survey of these products I think it's safe to stick with ADA guidelines. Please keep in mind these guidelines can be tweaked to suit individual cases. But my (old) ADA states a minumum of 30" width clearspace (no lower cabinets) by 34" counter height off finished floor. This is for wheelchair access underneath counters to function in a kitchen. Normally standard height for counters is 36" off finished floor unless homebuilders have other needs. Personally, if in your shoes I would consider allowing for more than 30" width clearspace under counters since that seems kinda tight to me.

I would think that table heights should be aprox the same height off finished floor as counters. There are some ways to install counters that are mounted on a wall and motorized to move up and down according to changing needs, again with no lower cabinets to ground them. This is the optimal installation albiet costly.

Hope this helps a little,
cheryl
Thank you for your reply, Cheryl. That does help.

I guess I should clarify the counter tops. Mostly, I'm thinking about an area incorporated into an island that my son could pull up under and maybe a computer desk area. I'm also wanting a countertop (no undercabinet) in his bathroom (along with a wall-mounted sink. I just want to make sure I don't end up with them being too low. I will definitely check back out the ADA guidelines.
And a follow-up question would be, will my son be able to eat at a regular dining table? For those of you who have experience with power chairs, have you had to do something different than what you aleady had at your house? I'm guessing he'll use a tray at some point, but I'm wondering about when he's initially in a chair. It's challenging to look down the road and feel like I'm guessing at some of these things. That's why all of you are such a blessing.
Danelle
The counter height table was what we needed to buy for our son to eat at the table. He is in a Jazzy 1122 recline/tilt wheelchair and it's the perfect height for him. He is 17 and has been in the same kind of power wheelchair for many years. Until they came out with counter height tables and chairs it was difficult for him to eat at the table.I hope this idea helps!

Laurie Hoovestol
We had a cabinet built that held a fold down table that Justins chair would fit under. It was built by a local company and we stained it and my husband put it up. Justins chair fits underneath it. The space underneath is 36in high. I attached some pics

--Samantha
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