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Friday, 10 August 2018

Adapting the home

When we bought our current house, back in 2015, we knew it needed a couple of things doing urgently. The bathroom was completely unusable for me, so that had to be replaced before we even moved in. We got a stairlift fitted pretty quickly too. The rest was always a bit of a middle to long-distance dream.

Most of the spring was taken out with a major rebuild of the downstairs of the house. The main aim was to make the kitchen accessible but we wanted to really make better use of the space too. It's just as well we got on with it when we did! Now Neil is back to commuting to and from work every day, I need to be able to cook independently and safely, and the recent renovations have allowed that to happen.

The kitchen

Our kitchen was quite small and the entrances were too narrow for a wheelchair. There wasn't enough worktop space and I couldn't stand for long enough to prepare food anyway. So here's what we did...

1. We knocked through into the dining room to make one big open-plan room. It's now a lovely L-shaped room with plenty of space and fully wheelchair accessible.

2. We included one lowered worktop. We also bought a spare wheelchair for in the house. So now, I can sit and prepare food in comfort, wheeling myself between the fridge, cooker and work prep area.

Picture of lowered section of worktop with food ready to prepare and wheelchair

Picture of worktop with potatoes ready to peel and chop

3. We splashed out on an oven with a retractable door. This makes it much easier for me to get things in and out safely.

4. We went for a hard-flooring option. Actually, it's vinyl, but not like the 1970s lino that I imagined. It looks really clean and modern. It's hard-wearing enough for wheeling over and for Liggy to run around on.

The toilet

Our downstairs toilet was not dissimilar to the sort you get on an aeroplane. It was tiny and really difficult to get in and out. So we built a new utility room, with a toilet at one end. Again, it's fully accessible in my chair, though I often don't need to wheel in.

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