Our house, just the way we like it!
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!