When I had my accident I was living in a side split home whose design results in multiple levels and in our case 4 including the finished basement. We decided to stay as the neighbourhood was close to stores and restaurants. Our neighbours were very supportive and the cost of reality fees and taxes for moving would be significant.

We decided on a small addition that would hold an elevator to move me up and down a floor. Due to costs we eliminated access to the basement. Possibly a stair lift will added to the basement in the future. The elevator is wonderful with automatic doors. We had a large ensuite bathroom that was in need of updating so it was gutted and a large roll-in 2 person shower was added. I am able to roll under one of the sinks. And of course a new toilet. The accessible toilet was too tall for my commode so it had to be promptly replaced.

We added a ramp out to our double garage and backyard deck. We removed or widen some interior doors. I can not get into our laundry room due to its design. Double hinged hinges were added to many doors to maximize the opening. We did nothing to the kitchen as the cupboards were already low as well as the gas stove top. We moved dishes to the cupboards below the counter which everyone loves. We have a center island with a small lower eating area which I use for food preparation and some meals. The stoves were already low so no change was required. The ones in the videos below are great.

Another major reason we didn’t change the kitchen is that my chair can go up and down. A expense well worth the investment.

We were also very fortunate that our contractor was able to get some of the materials and labour free. We still managed to spend over $200,000.

Resources & Videos

Universal Design Living Laboratory by BraunAbility
National Award Winning Universally Designed home
Chris Aalders has a universally designed home.
Built 25 years ago this home was and still is very accessible and was ahead of its time.
This video shows the modifications made during the construction of a home to make it wheelchair accessible.
House Modifications/wheelchair-friendly.
Great video on changing an older bungalow to an accessible home.
Universal Design AARP award winning residence
Geoffreys House Modifications
This new home for 45 Calgarians with limited mobility is made possible in part by generous donations
New Accessible Home Tour - Australia
Building a Barrier Free Home from Lot upwards