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Our house, just the way we like it!

Wheely_love_livingWheely_love_living Member Posts: 8 Courageous

Hi, I’m Sandra. I’m married to Craig who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2007 and following a massive relapse almost 6 years ago, we have been adapting to life on 2 wheels! I have an Instagram page where I share (and often overshare) our passion for contemporary accessible living; showing everyone that an adapted home doesn’t have to look like a nursing home or an institution. 

A few years back, before Craig was a full-time wheelchair user, we decided to future proof our home. We had been living in a ground floor flat, so single level living didn’t feel strange to us when we started our search for a bungalow. What a nightmare that was, they were few and far between, expensive and the rooms were tiny! 

It was important to find a friendly place (with a local pub) as we wanted to be a part of the community. We eventually found somewhere that we knew had potential to extend and would allow us to put our own stamp on. Our plan was to keep the bungalow as a 2 bedroom but increase the size of the master bedroom to allow for the wheelchair and add a wet room. We decided to extend the living space and make it fully open plan. 

Craig had a fantastic Occupational Therapist who visited us at home to suggest initial adaptions, and she also put us in touch with the social worker who investigated funding. Understandably, we funded the cost of the extension however we were able to secure some funding for the wet room and a ramp to replace the front steps. 

Being addicted to Grand Designs and similar home shows, we had an idea of what we wanted. However, we did our research on Pinterest for more inspiration which we shared with our architect, who then recommended a builder. 

I can’t tell you how important it is to find the right builder, even if they are not the cheapest. Ours was amazing and went with our crazy ideas, although there were many eyerolls along the way! We didn’t feel awkward about telling him if something wasn’t quite right and asking him to make changes. He would even do his own research and make suggestions. 

Our first job was getting the outside ramp completed. We decided against 60ft of metal in the garden, and the council were happy for us to make up the difference had they installed this. Craig wanted it curved, to take away that GP surgery look.  


After completing the extension, the next job was the wet room. We basically drew the size of the wet room out on paper on the floor, then we played about with the layout making sure the wheelchair had plenty of room to turn. We love the bench, it’s a polystyrene structure that is then tiled over. Much safer than a shower seat. 

Due to the drop at the back of the house, the garden was quite inaccessible, so we decided on a large decked area that is accessed with bi-fold doors. The decking we went for is a composite which not only has a better grip, but so easy to maintain. 


Along the way, we have found little home hacks that work well for Craig. From contemporary grab bars placed very strategically, to the ring doorbell where you can answer the door using your phone and automated door lock that you just click a fob. 

Craig has developed a severe hand tremor in recent years, so smart home technology has given him some independence back. All of our lights are on timer and can be used through voice control, as are our electric blinds. 

You can follow Sandra on her Instagram page

What’s the main thing you struggle with around the home? Have you made adaptions to your home that were helpful to you or your loved one? Let us know in the comments below! 

Replies

  • Wheely_love_livingWheely_love_living Member Posts: 8 Courageous
    Great advice 
  • April2018momApril2018mom Member - under moderation Posts: 2,882 Member - under moderation
  • Chloe_ScopeChloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,662 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you for writing such an interesting and informative piece @Wheely_love_living!
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  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing Team, Community Team Posts: 7,940 Scope community team
    Really interesting @Wheely_love_living. Thanks for sharing with us. :smile:
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  • AilsAils Community champion Posts: 2,268 Disability Gamechanger
    A lovely home you have @Wheely_love_living.  I wish you and Craig years of happiness in it!  Thanks for writing such an informative post.   :)
    Winner of the Scope New Volunteer Award 2019.   :)
  • Wheely_love_livingWheely_love_living Member Posts: 8 Courageous
    Thank you so much, it was my pleasure! 
  • Valerie57Valerie57 Member Posts: 9 Listener
    We weren't allowed a council bungalow, they brought in a new rule anyone who owns their own home doesn't qualify. We were quite angry by this so I had a word with our councillor.to cut a long story short we had an occupational therapist come and assess my husband,they put a wet room in and a stair lift in for us. A lot of the time nobody tells you what your entitled to, but help us out there..your home looks fabx
  • nmcmurdonmcmurdo Member Posts: 6 Connected
    I love the 'Bench seat'  When we did our extension to get a downstairs bedroom/wetroom, We also did away with a step at the front door, only to have the O/T say 'do you know we have spent £400 on handrails over the past 5 years on you'.
    We used my redundancy money and savings to pay for the extension, although I was supplies with a shower seat!
    The designers were excellent, putting socket and switches at wheelchair height, as well as double rails in the wadrrobe.
  • Snowflake56Snowflake56 Member Posts: 33 Pioneering
    I have just moved into a bigger home after struggling for years in a very small terraced house,the extra room has made a difference to my stress levels,trying to manoeuvre around my old house was really difficult. I really love the work you have had done on your beautiful home,hope your both enjoying it immensely,now to take some inspiration.
  • pollyanna1052pollyanna1052 Member Posts: 1,999 Disability Gamechanger
    Love the pictures and details of the bungalow!
    We moved into our true bungalow  30 years ago. I was able bodied then, with no inkling of what was to come!
    We had 2 daughters aged 11 and 16 at the time. so my handy hubby and bro-in-law installed  2 loft rooms. Later we added an en suite shower room.

    Move on to when my mobility was lost. Hubby built a ramped deck to the rear conservatory and added french doors...this is my access in and out of the house. the main side door is inaccessible.

    6 years ago an OT came and saw what a struggle I had in the tiny bathroom, when my carer needed to be with me.

    We decided to lose the downstairs spare bedroom and make it a wet room. The DFG guys agreed to fund it. A year on, no money was available from them. So we took out  9k bank loan and had a swish wet room, which I called Hollywood, made. It has black sparkle wall boards, a vertical black radiator and a huge shower area.

    My bedroom doorway was widened and I`ve got ceiling hoists in my lounge and bedroom.

    It`s a bit tight going from bedroom to conservatory and I must slow down as I have damaged some walls and other fittings!

    It`s home and warm and our`s. 
  • Wheely_love_livingWheely_love_living Member Posts: 8 Courageous
    Hi there. Thank you all for your kind comments and I'm glad if these can provide any inspiration! It's so difficult to find contemporary fittings to support, we just decided to design them ourselves! 
  • Adrian_ScopeAdrian_Scope Testing Team, Community Team Posts: 7,940 Scope community team
    Thanks for sharing this @Wheely_love_living. Just want to say that your home looks amazing. Very jealous!  :D
    Senior Community Partner
    Scope

    If you have a few minutes to spare, we'd appreciate your feedback on our online community.
  • Wheely_love_livingWheely_love_living Member Posts: 8 Courageous
    Awe thank you very much! 
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