Accessibility Disability Life

My Wheelchair Accessible House Wishlist

5th September 2019

A few years before I met my husband, I wrote A LIST.

On it, I noted all of the things I was looking for in a partner, namely my forever partner.

I folded up the three pages, put them at the back of my journal. Planned to offer the list to the Moon, and see what happened.

Real talk, I ended up offering the list to my washing machine first, transferred from my journal to a sweater with pockets.

The list then resembled gloop, but I remembered what was on it.

On my first date with my husband, I swear, little things on THE LIST. That no one would know.

Neither did this first date dude. Because I wanted a second date.

These days, he knows about THE LIST. We’ve even added to it, crossed things out, laughed about it.

I believe if you write down what you want, the Universe/the Moon will work on it with you.

Photo by nousnou iwasaki on Unsplash

Even if the laundry gets it first.

And so, regular readers will know that we are looking for a house and planning to move back to the city.

There haven’t been any updates on that because we haven’t found one.

I’m frustrated by the one thing that makes an otherwise perfect house a no-go for us. Front steps, narrow bathroom door, more steps.

We tell agents what we’re looking for. They say yes, and we make trips. Useless trips. Because most agents don’t know what they’re saying yes to. Or they just want to get us in the door.

Well.

Kinda funny. Because sometimes I show up and I can’t even get through the door.

Then they speak to my husband and I answer. They learn some new phrases.

Level access. Turning circle. Other phrases.

‘Write A LIST,’ my husband says. ‘It worked before.’

It did indeed.

So here’s my list of things I’m looking for in a wheelchair accessible house. Our forever house.

No front steps. Nostalgic, but annoying.

Open plan. With the kitchen off the living room. Because walls are over-rated.

Wide doorways. Because my wheels are cambered. And I have friends who use wheelchairs who might need to get in to my house.

Main bedroom downstairs. Because I won’t sleep in the guest room of my own house. This one I’m flexible on if there’s a downstairs bedroom at all.

And how about a bungalow? Because who needs a second storey? Our current house is a bungalow. Our current house has issues.

If there is an upstairs, I’d like a stairlift. And a Jetsons style teleportation device, but that may be another post.

NO CARPETING. Because it’s like quicksand. And as for rugs, my house is not a slalom course.

An accessible kitchen with dropped counters that I can drive under, and cupboards that I can reach. A new kitchen won’t magically make me a good cook, but I miss washing dishes. Yes, Really.

A bathroom with a turning circle and transfer space. With no random platform steps.

A wet room I can drive into.

Paving around the house so I can get into the car and the garden. As it is now, I park at the top of a hill to watch my kid run around. I feel I should be wearing a visor and holding a clipboard.

No fitted wardrobes in the bedrooms so I can get around the bed and I don’t have to launch myself from the doorway.

More practical tips for a wheelchair accessible home are here in this article I found.

A spare room. For actual friends to stay. And room to write. Or a coffeeshop to go to. And write.

Built-in book shelves. Because I’m not doing with with getting rid of books over here.

I realize we won’t get a lot of these in a rental property, which is annoying. Considering a lot of rental properties are still built without basic access in mind. Which is illegal. And once you are renting, you can ask for reasonable adjustments.

But the forever home will be another one we buy, eventually, and can adapt, if needed.

Speaking of another house, I also made another list when I was younger. Yes, the DREAM HOUSE LIST.

That one was more about the people in it than logistics, but I do remember one thing:

Make it big enough we all have our own space, but small enough we don’t lose each other.

That one still stands.

I just hope it can sit comfortably, too.

What would be on your dream house list?

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19 Comments

  • Reply thatblogwherecheriemovestogermany 5th September 2019 at 3:21 pm

    I can’t even image the frustration of trying to find accessible housing. We are also house hunting. I have a few “must haves”, and you would think I was asking for the moon. My “must haves” are not really “musts or needs”,just wants. Even that is hard to accomplish it seems.
    Keep us updated on your hunt! Sending good vibes.
    Cherie.

  • Reply Nicole 5th September 2019 at 3:25 pm

    I think I mentioned to you that I made both a dream guy list and a dream house list. If not…as Anya would say, twinsies! 🙂 I’m not very woo-woo, but I am a firm believer in these lists. The dream guy list was before I met my first hubs, and what I learned from that was I wasn’t asking for the right stuff — live and learn. The dream house list was better. And it took a few years, but I managed to find a house that met *almost* all of my criteria. Here’s hoping your luck is similar if not better. The accessibility issues are a headache; my mom used to work in housing, so I’m familiar with what should be and hardly ever is. For instance, my parents are attempting to age in place, but if one of them ends up in a wheelchair, they’d have to move. Their house simply isn’t accessible, or reasonably adaptable. Mine is several decades newer, and thus is more accessible, but we’d need to make some changes too. They’ll still likely wind up in a nursing home if it came to that. Why can’t they just make the doorways a bit wider to begin with? The mind boggles.

  • Reply Danni Ever After* 5th September 2019 at 3:43 pm

    I’ve got the dream guy & his ideas of a dream home are very different than mine lol. At this point I’m thinking condo/co-op, minimum of 2 bedrooms, good light & a balcony for a potted herb garden. I’d murder for 3 bedrooms & a doorman, but we’ll see. I just want our first place to start.

    • Reply Lorna 5th September 2019 at 3:45 pm

      Co-ops are good for writing material.

      • Reply Danni Ever After* 5th September 2019 at 3:53 pm

        As long as Bronxie is with me all is gravy (but yes just seeing his building, for sure!)

  • Reply You Can Always Start Now 6th September 2019 at 10:58 am

    I made a list for when I was looking for a home. Location and natural light were crucial for me. I didn’t want stairs either. Ended up in a lovely condo that is one level and no stairs to the front door so you could visit me.

    • Reply Lorna 6th September 2019 at 11:53 am

      And we could have a silent reading party bingeing Louise Penny.

  • Reply Ninja 6th September 2019 at 11:05 am

    Our apartment was built with accessibility in mind and would meet many of your wishes, except for adjustments in kitchen and bathroom areas (I think). A solution to wardrobe space may be found in walk(roll)-in closet. All doorways are 1 meter wide, is that wide enough? Same for the elevator. Garage underneath with wide space, ramp to front door downstairs, paved area around building. Shitload of cafés, no front steps to those. So… come over and buy my house. 😄
    Seriously though: Universe, cough up and get Lorna a house!

  • Reply Beth 6th September 2019 at 4:27 pm

    I am a firm believer in the power of making lists! I do it all the time. I’m hopeful you will find the perfect place that meets at least a good chunk of the things you wish for! I know the right house is out there for you!

  • Reply Eli Pacheco 7th September 2019 at 8:39 pm

    I have a longer list of what should go in my pita than in my dream house! But that doesn’t mean I don’t have wishes:

    1. A bay window, with a cushion to lay or lounge in it (and a cabinet below for blankets and pillows.)
    2. A one-room top level with windows all about for writing and snacking
    3. A lot of storage for snacks. A LOT.

    I love your list. Wouldn’t it be cool to see a manufacturer MAKE a home like this??

  • Reply debrapurdykong 8th September 2019 at 6:35 pm

    I really like your list. After many years, my hubby and I will be building our dream house in about two years tmes. We’re in our sixties, so our desires have changed a lot since we first out first home in our early 30’s, but your list has given me some great ideas, like the fact that I need to start making a list 🙂

  • Reply trentalor1138 9th September 2019 at 4:37 pm

    This is a great insight on what challenges are faced while being in a wheelchair. Thanks for the great read.

  • Reply Navigating Baby 15th September 2019 at 9:33 pm

    I hope you manage to find the right property for you and your family. This was an interesting read which made me think about how little changes can make a big difference #DreamTeam

  • Reply lindahobden 18th September 2019 at 9:47 am

    I would add to the house dream list – gut feeling . We visited many houses looking for our forever home too …. we moved last year into a house that ticked all our boxes on paper but it wasn’t “right for us”. We moved again last week into a house that needs a lot of work interior wise but once finished will tick our boxes BUT even in a state, the house oozed homeliness and even the children commented on how homely it felt! That confirmed to me that this house is finally our forever home 😊

  • Reply Ellen 18th September 2019 at 12:47 pm

    I hope you find your DREAM HOUSE. Accessibility shouldn’t be so difficult, but it sure is.

  • Reply Rachael Stray | https://rachaelstray.com/ 18th September 2019 at 5:58 pm

    I’m all about the lists too. My husband ticked off everything on my list. I still curl my toes with cringing when he recalls how I actually said NUMEROUS times on our first date “well that’s another thing ticked off the list” urgh who says that?! Anyway five years on we are still going strong. I really hope you get your house soon and you tick off your list!!

  • Reply Carol Cassara (@ccassara) 18th September 2019 at 10:21 pm

    Itis so important to help others see what we can not. In fact, that’s what all great bloggers do! Thank you for the education today.

  • Reply Ellen Best 19th September 2019 at 5:21 pm

    I have taught myself to show Gratitude to the universe. You do it, as if you already have the things you are thanking it for. Then I made a poster/mood-board of what my forever home would be like and my forever man and forever life. I have the man the house and the lovely life. It worked. If I would like anything it would be a new kitchen. I am nit asking because I am more than happy (after 30yrs of not). I hope you find where your happy house is, because it is there you just need to find it … or let it find you xx

  • Reply Milja 25th October 2020 at 9:25 pm

    Several points on that list are nowadays obligatory when building in Finland, for the sake of accessibility. I now live in a 60’s house, and my in-laws were forced to move from here because this was built before the regulation came into place.

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