Wheelchair-Accessible Small Home

A closer look at the Pool Module, here shown beside a Double Storey House. The planter at the front is ideal for tall shrubs and other plants, for a curtain of privacy if desired. The deck space beside it is big enough for two loungers and a side table in between them. The deck space at the far end is ideal for a dining table, big enough for 10, great for barbie dinner parties. And the border of the pool is wide to serve as seating so guests can sit and mingle all around the pool. Yes, I’m a lousy cook and it’s a Small House, but I still dream of gatherings with friends and family when I dream of a dream house 🙂

I decided to try designing a Small Home, using SketchUp, the 3D design software. My SketchUp skills are pretty rudimentary, but what the heck, I thought. Just give it a go, and if I’m stuck with something I don’t know how to do, just give it a quick Google search to see if that leads to help.

Why a ‘Small House’?

I’ve been fascinated with the Tiny House movement for some time now. I just love the idea of how having minimal living space will greatly benefit the environment by us acquiring and consuming less things, and generating less trash. Having fewer possessions also means spending less to maintain fewer things, which means more time and money for more fun and meaningful experiences, like travel, for example.

However, apparently what constitutes a Tiny House is a residential structure under 400 sq.ft (37 m2) which I feel is too small to accommodate the usage of a wheelchair comfortably. The bigger-than-tiny ‘Small Houses’ which are considered to be between 400 sq.feet (37 m2) and 1,000 sq.feet (93 m2) would be more suitable in size. They also offer the amenities of a typical house, like a ‘more regular-sized’ kitchen for example, while still offering the option to live in a smaller space than the average typical home.

Why a Wheelchair-Accessible House?

Why not? I’m not a wheelchair user or personally know one, but I’ve always felt that if you’re going to build a house, you might as well make it wheelchair-friendly. It’s not just about being inclusive. Even if there are no wheelchair users in your household, the extra space already incorporated would always be appreciated by anyone, wheelchair user or not. The space can always be configured to different needs.

And if you ever want to sell it, not only are you offering a more readily-viable option for wheelchair users, as the seller you also benefit by having a wider market to pitch the house to. As long as the space and general layout are there, the wheelchair user may only need to modify or add a few things. For example, a ramp long enough for a gentle enough gradient, to lead to an entrance door that had been put in a location precisely with that possible future ramp in mind.

Single Storey House. Length 15 metres (49.2 feet) by Width 4 metres (13.1 feed). Area: 60 square metres (646 square feet). Dimensions exclude ramp and deck area, which are 1.5 metres wide (4.9 feet).

The Single Storey House features 1 double bedroom and 1 bathroom, both with space for the wheelchair user to manouvre around. The same space consideration is also given to the kitchen and living room.

I don’t have the internal layout to show here because I came up with that by arranging furniture and fittings from SketchUp’s brilliant 3D Warehouse. But then I’m not sure whether I’m allowed to feature them here on my WordPress post and other social media like my Instagram. So I’ve decided to slowly make my own furniture like I did the house, along with bathroom and kitchen fittings. Nothing fancy or complicated because frankly I lack the skills, but just simple basic forms to serve their indicated function in their selected dimensions: ‘chair’, ‘dining table’, ‘toilet bowl’, etc. I’ll probably make another post or simply update this one when I’m ready with the internal layout.

(*Update: I’ve done all those things and an internal layout! Here’s the link to that post. And I’ve also now done a flood-resistant version of a wheelchair-accessible house. Here’s the link to that one.)

This is the ‘Pool Module’ : (consisting of Pool + 2 Deck areas + Planter) It’s 3.6 metres wide (11.8 feet). The pool is 8 metres long (26.2 feet). The substantial border of the pool is because my idea is to have it serve as seating all around, for like guests to sit around if there’s a party or whatever. It’s 30 cm wide (just under a foot), so that leaves 7.4 metres in length (24.2 feet) by 3 metres in width (9.8 feet) for the internal of the pool.

Single Storey House shown with Pool Module
Double Storey House. The upper floor features 2 double bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms.
Double Storey House shown with Pool Module

The following gallery is a series of combination pairings that share the Pool Module. I especially like the middle one featuring one each of Double Storey and Single Storey houses. I’m visualizing the Single Storey one being used for in-laws, visiting guests, even adult children who have come back to live with parents (in this economy!) or as an office. The perfect home office for the Covid19 nightmare times we are in right now.

And when things get better (Things gotta get better, right? Please, God), it can even be a showroom for the merchandise of your home business. Or a space to hold classes, whatever is it you teach. So many different uses.

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The Single Storey or Double Storey house, or any of the combo pairings above, is also ideal for holiday chalets or resort villas. Wouldn’t it be grand and so cool if the hospitality industry have such accommodations, or more of them, with the wheelchair user in mind?

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I’m going to improve this design as I go along, as and when I have the time. I need to create the furniture and fittings for the internal layout, and I’m excited to see how to put in more Art Deco-inspired touches, starting with the windows and sliding doors for sure. And that ramp definitely needs to be longer so it can be less steep.

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3 thoughts on “Wheelchair-Accessible Small Home

  1. Pingback: Internal layout of wheelchair-accessible house | Wandering at night

  2. I admire that you jumped into using a new computer program in order to make these designs. I agree that smaller is better for all of us. And making everything wheelchair accessible is another way of planning for the future as well — we never know who might end up needing to use one…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for the lovely compliment! Cheers.

      And what you mentioned would be a wonderful thing to have in the future, all or most residences being wheelchair accessible. As you pointed out, we never know, haha! In the meantime, it’s great the residence is wheelchair friendly to any visitor who uses one, that’s such a nice thing to have.

      Like

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