How to be smart and efficient with the footprint of your home in order to meet the needs of accessible design.
The following is a transcript of the video "Designing a home with accessibility in mind: A PCBC Conversation" :
Nigel: But surely there are some spaces that just aren't conducive to having a wheelchair, like if it's a galley kitchen.
Nigel: You're probably limited in how much space you can go on either side.
Beth: Oh, well, the great part of all of that is we have to get to do that through cabinetry. So if we do a higher toe kick, at say nine inches on the base cabinets, and it's six inches in depth, you do that on say, both sides of the cabinets that are, say four feet apart, you've now bought another foot. So the ability to be able to turn that minimum of five feet in that space allows you to be there and your cabinets did it. So maybe the counter is 18 inches or 20 inches deep on one side. The other side is 24 inches because you've got your appliances and such. You've got that space ready to go. So there's a variety of things that you can do within that space and the elements and it's about how you've installed it in the reach ranges.
Nigel: So let's talk about retrofitting in suburban locations versus urban. And Beth I heard you said that you did your house some time ago. Is it in a suburban location or was it in an urban location?
Susan: It was suburban.
Nigel: And so, what did you do in terms of thinking about all of these things, in partitioning space for how you live?
Susan: We did the wider doors just because I like the scale of them. We did the zero-barrier step-in bath. We did a bench in the bath. We have a decorative grab bar, but it is a functional grab bar, you know, our builder knew where to put that in for us. We actually put a balcony off of our master bedroom too because that's gonna be becoming very appealing to millennials. Anything that you can do bring in outdoor space indoors, it helps the quality of air, it helps the quality of light and, you know, just having that brings that wellness factor into the equation.
Nigel: I haven't heard anything about ramps. It's all about interior stuff. How do you incorporate a ramp into a house in an aesthetically pleasing way?
Beth: So outside, grading. So a 1 to 20 grade, so connecting to the sidewalk if there's a sidewalk to the home, doing a nice serpentine walkway coming up to the house that's all blended into the landscaping so it's not band-aided on afterwards, as here is my ramp. And that's the first stigma, I mean with universal design, it should be so seamless. You should go, "I don't even know what makes this house different, but look at how easy it is and how..."
Susan: It just looks like a beautiful sidewalk.
Susan: It's just landscaped beautifully.
Beth: It's all landscaped in. You have a plush threshold and in the door you go.
Nigel: Okay. So we're talking about retrofitting. There are some challenges, but you're basically saying you can work through them.
Nigel: So let's switch to new construction now.
Nigel: So if the builder doesn't want to put in all of these things...
Nigel: What should they be doing behind the walls to, maybe one day, be able to put those things in 5, 10...
Nigel: 20 years down the road?
Beth: To be adaptable.
Nigel: Even have somebody gets hurt?
Beth: Absolutely. Something, you know, life happens. We know that, right?
Beth: So life happens. So the most important thing is reinforcement in bathing areas and around commodes.
Beth: So having full reinforcement because you don't know when somebody's gonna need a grab bar to be able to support them.
Nigel: So that would mean plywood backer boards on the side?
Beth: Yeah, absolutely. So, and some showers come, you know, preassembled and have the reinforcement on them, and others you're doing a custom where the reinforcement's in the wall. So that should always be something that the builder is looking at to be proactive and sell that feature. Let the client know, "We've got structural integrity here for you, should that time come you need that."
Nigel: Okay. What else...