Handicap- access features critical for many homeowners

John and Vivian Gregor of Niantic decided to have John’s mother, Eleanor, come from the Cleveland area to be with them. John’s sister, Mary Ann, would relocate in Connecticut as well. To accommodate them, John and Vivian remodeled the house and put in wheelchair accessibility.

It was a big job. There was the designer and there were the remodeling crew, sanitation crew, landscapers and pavers. There were the Gregors’ children. There weer dogs and cats. People coming and going every which way, a cast of dozens. The little boys helped the pavers and laid block with the landscapers, hung out with them and ate lunch with them. Talk about a family projects.

Eleanor Gregor, 86, has a number of health issues, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s and arthritis, and can get around now only with the help of a wheelchair. But John and Mary Ann didn’t want to put her in a nursing home. So they called in Jan Blonder of Design Essence in Old Saybrook to help them create a plan for expansion of the Gregors’ ranch-style home.

“It doesn’t look institutional,” says Blonder, looking at the finished apartment. “It’s warm and homey. It’s visually comforting – user-friendly.”

Yankee Remodelers came in to do the work. The garage was gutted. The walls were retained as interior walls, and length was added to the house. The in-law apartment now consists of a living room, two bedrooms and a bathroom. The bathroom is centered, so that both bedrooms have access to the bathroom and the living room. A pocket door with windows in it connects the apartment to the main part of the house occupied by John and Vivian’s family.

The front of the house is newly landscaped, and a wheelchair ramp runs alongside the house and around to the back, where it accesses the apartment. The bathroom contains handicap features as well, such as a fold-down seat and safety bars. The bathroom is very large – “big as a barn.” Eleanor calls it.

To read more of this article, please click here (PDF)