As David and I designed our timber frame home, we wanted to think forward to a time in our lives when we might not want to climb up the stairs to our bedroom…or maybe when we could no longer make that trip. However, it was important to us that we kept the footprint small, so building up rather than out was the best option. So we worked with our designers to make sure that the first floor would be accessible if we happened to be wheelchair bound.
Making the hallway (all five feet of it) wider than required and all of the doorways 34″ or greater meant that we could get around with ease. Open spaces in timber frame homes offer opportunities to move furniture and create flexible spaces that will change as needed. The exterior doors are wide and it would be no problem to add a ramp if needed.
With my wonderful clawfoot bathtub replaced with a walk-in (or roll-in shower), we would be good to go. Life would go on, uninterrupted by lack of access.
This concept will allow us to age gracefully in our home…a nice nod to a future we can’t control. If we are still going up the stairs at 99, so be it. But if we can’t make that trip at 69, we’re ready for that, too.
While talking about accessibility may not be your idea of a good time, it is important to consider it when designing your new home. Timber frame plans adapt easily to wider halls (since halls are typically minimal or non-existent) and open spaces. So have a heart to heart talk with your timber frame designer or architect and consider aging in place an important part of your design process.
And…come visit us.
We’ll leave the door open for you.
Later, Bonnie Pickartz