*Update 28th December: Using the cool ‘scenes’ function in SketchUp gave me the idea to make a YouTube video about this house. 🙂 The lovely music is ‘Beyond’ by Patrick Patrikios, from YouTube Audio Library.
House structure only, excluding stairs, porch, lift and balcony extension: length 15 metres (49.2 ft), width 4.7 metres (15.4 ft)
A further width of 1.8 metres (5.9 ft) to cover stairs, porch and lift.
So, for the total floor area it’s 15m (49.2 ft) x 6.5m (21.3 ft). That’s an area of 97.5m2 (1050 ft2)
Besides being flood-resistant, four other features I’ve incorporated are:
Let’s face it, the last one is not just for wheelchair users but for the rest of us as well, and not just when lugging home heavy groceries! 🙂
Layout of First Floor
A closer look on the rooms on the first floor. Click to enlarge.
Layout of Rooftop
The Rooftop Plans below feature the location of the rainwater tank, raised-bed vegetable garden and the pavilion with solar panels fitted on its roof. Click to enlarge.
The rooftop is accessible to wheelchair users with the lift. It also features sitting and dining areas, plus cooking appliances, in short perfect for parties or just relaxing. Just rearrange the furniture and add more chairs as needed, and don’t forget the barbeque grill! The kitchen counter and dining table can double up as counter space for gardening work.
A couple of months ago I decided to try designing a wheelchair-accessible Small House using SketchUp, the 3D design software. I posted about it here in WordPress. I did both a single-storey version, sized 83 sq.metres (about 890 ft2) and a double-storey one. This post is about the internal layout of the double-storey one, featuring 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. As I wrote in the previous post:
Why a Wheelchair-Accessible House?
I think that if one builds a house, might as well make the layout and size of rooms wheelchair-friendly to make it more inclusive.
Even if there are no wheelchair users in the household, the extra space incorporated will be appreciated.
In the meantime, the extra space can be configured to different needs.
As for the size, I started off drawing a single-storey Small House, which is a residential structure that is considered to be up to about 1,000 ft2 (93m2), as featured in the previous post. The double-storey house featured here is about 160 m2, so it’s not considered ‘Small House’. To recap, in any case:
Small Houses, bigger at between 400 ft2 and 1,000 ft2 (93 m2), would also offer the amenities of a typical house, like a ‘more regular-sized’ kitchen and bathroom.
The single-storey version of the house featured here would be 90 m2 (about 970 ft2). This includes the ramp outside. An additional small single bedroom or study can also be added where the stairs would be in the double-storey house.
I did a double-storey version for additional bedrooms. I’m thinking that, even if the wheelchair user is single and lives alone, an extra bedroom might be useful or even necessary if he or she wants or needs a live-in carer.
I did not feature the internal layout in the previous post because I had arranged it using furniture and fittings from SketchUp’s wonderful 3D Warehouse. As I’m not sure about permission issues regarding featuring them in my post here, I decided to play it safe and draw my own furniture and fittings instead. Just some basic designs. It took me a long time, especially the kitchen appliances. An hour here, a few hours there, but I’ve finally done it.
First, some points on the changes to the external look of the house.
Windows and sliding doors were changed to look more Art Deco since that is what inspired the design of the house.
Ramp is now longer. With research I now know better about standards such as a 1:12 slope, for safer wheelchair use.
The above meant having to reduce the number of side access doors, from two to one.
House structure only, without ramp: length 15 metres (49.2 ft), width 4.7 metres (15.4 ft)
Ramp and its top landing deck: width 1.3 metres (4.2 ft)
Pool Module (pool, decks and planter): total length 14.5 metres (47.5 ft), width 3.6 metres (11.8 ft)
Pool only: length 8 metres. (26.2 ft)
The ground floor consists of a double bedroom, bathroom, sitting area and kitchen.
Here is a closer look at the ground floor which is wheelchair-accessible:
The upper floor consists of two bedrooms, both with ensuite bathrooms as well as balconies overlooking the Pool Module below.
It’s been very interesting doing this. For the next house, also with Small House proportions, I’ve set my mind to drawing a flood-proof house, what with global warming, rising sea levels and the increasing incidents of hurricanes.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.