Handicap Access For the Boonville Cottage

About our cottage…OK…So we’ve met with the county planners, Building Department and Health Department of Mendocino County.  I have to say, as county officials go, these guys are pretty nice to deal with.  They all have gone above and beyond their call of duty to help us with this project.  That being said, we are going to have to revise our project and probably call it something else besides a “B&B,” or “One bedroom residence,” to make it fly.

One of the biggest obstacles is making the place ADA friendly.  (That’s access for people with disabilities act for those of you who are wondering.)  On first thought, this seems like a big pain in the arse.  We are going to have to change our plans to make everything more wheelchair friendly, which costs more money and time…and of course, effort.

BUT, on second thought, I love the idea of creating a space that is not only ADA friendly but chic and stylish, as well.  Both, my husband’s mother and my own mother were in wheelchairs a good deal of their lives before they passed on.  I think about how my mom struggled to make dinner for herself in a regular kitchen.  She almost burned down her home on two occasions because she could not see what she was doing on the stove while cooking.  She could not cut vegetables and fruits on the normal height cutting board, she couldn’t reach her dishes, or glasses and even the microwave was out of reach for her.  She usually just gave up and resorted to eating pre-made junk food, rather than trying to make her own meal.

The irony is that we could have made those adjustments in the kitchen, bath and hallway easily when we were designing my mom’s new mobile home.   I have to admit, there was some pride involved on my mom’s part that blocked our way.  She would never have approved grab bars near the toilet, or lower kitchen counters that are more wheelchair friendly, but I still, could have overruled her.  After all, I’m the one who designed the building for her.  Sad to say, I failed her miserably.  I should have recognized her gradual decline in her physical abilities, but I didn’t.

So, I now look at this cottage as a challenge and perhaps retributions for my errors in the past.  Although my mother passed away several years ago, I’m hoping that I can make things right, by creating a cottage that is totally handicapped-friendly, easy to move around in and without any compromise to making the whole place look chic and stylish.  Hey…even  people with disabilities like a little glam.

So, I’m scouring Pinterest, as well as the rest of the internet for cool looking bathrooms that are ADA friendly, kitchens designed around wheelchairs and rose gardens that people on wheels can enjoy.  I’ll let you all know how I fare.  More to come soon…


~ C

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