Showing posts with label housing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label housing. Show all posts

Saturday, June 29, 2013

A King Lives Here Part 2

Very exciting news: as of this week, our outside is officially finished! Unfortunately, it now suffers the same fate of the inside in that it requires some fancy decorating/landscaping and looks a little bare in the meantime. Not that anyone actually cares except me ;) 

The first and most important part of the outdoor design was making all three entries accessible. As with everything else, we didn't want it to scream WHEELCHAIR USER LIVES HERE. We chose to do everything outside in concrete because it could be a smooth ride for King and could be uniform in all areas. They worked with the grading of our lot so that we wouldn't have to use railings or ramps of any kinds in the front yard. The front door area is covered, the pathway from the driveway to the front door is slightly inclined, but King can easily manage it even now. 

pretend you don't see the garden of weeds begging for attention

The garage is the second entryway that we have made accessible. From the driveway, through the garage and right into the mudroom is a slightly inclined but easily manageable pathway without any stairs. 

On the other side of the garage is a pathway to the backyard. It is 4 feet wide because of a few areas where things jut out and would interfere with the required 3 feet to make it an accessible pathway. There is a door from the garage to this path on the side of the house that has a step down. We couldn't make that accessible, but figure it won't be a big deal. 

 you can see on the fence post there my dad and Jeff tried to make a little string King could use to open the gate since the latch is too high up for him to reach. we'll have to figure that out as he gets older.

At the end of the pathway to the backyard is a junction where you either go down a couple steps to the grass or go to the patio on the left. We mostly just block off this area right now until King is old enough to understand why going down stairs in a wheelchair is a bad idea. 

this is the view looking from the front yard and then looking forward from the backyard. we had to use retaining wall there to keep the pathway level. Eventually, that blank space will be landscaped into something pretty. 

The back patio is my favourite place right now. It has our third accessible entry for Kingsley that leads into our kitchen.  The patio is also concrete and obviously level with the main floor. They had to put a foundation under it to hold the weight of the concrete and use a lot of fancy stones to secure certain parts. I have no idea what the size is, but it's big enough for lots of playing, eating, entertaining, and lounging.


To get off the patio, I had to cave and allow them to put in a ramp. Again, they played with the grading of the lot a bit so that we wouldn't have to put in railings along it, instead, just some decorative rocks and that's it. For those of us who can use them, there are also stairs. The top of the stairs doesn't have a gate and that's something we are debating as Kingsley has made it perfectly clear that it is his greatest ambition to fly off the patio down the stairs. For now, we push the kids picnic table to the top of the stairs as a barrier. The ramp gives Kingsley access to the grass area where one day we will have the sandbox and
my vegetable garden. Both the stairs and ramp finish at the same point - the gate to the pool.


Here is my lousy photo editing to show the whole back entry, patio, ramp, and all that. I probably should've cleaned up, but I didn't. Sorry about that.  


The last part of our accessible yard is the pool. We hemmed and hawed over this for ages. In the end, there were just a few things we did for Kingsley. The first was putting a 3 foot perimetre of concrete, past the edging. The pool cover rolls into the ground, so it's not impeding him in any way. Lastly, we put stairs at both ends as we figured these would one day be something he would be able to get up or down, unlike a ladder. We considered a lift, but had a few adults who use wheelchairs tell us it wouldn't get used. We can add it later if we need to. We also fenced the pool separately, which is something I feel strongly about. The pool gate locks and the kids have had it drilled into them that Rule #1 is that they cannot be within the pool fence without an adult.


 in the picture on the right you can see the white strip on the ground where the pool cover hides. that's the deep end, the other pictures are the stairs in the shallow end. 

And that's it! Just when I thought I couldn't love my house anymore, I totally do. The kids are so in love with the backyard also, they spend every sunny minute outside now. It is AMAZING to be able to just let King outside with the girls on the patio and know that he can just play and be wherever they are, doing whatever they're doing.  I am so happy that we have this house for them to grow up in. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Change of Seasons

There's a joke about Canadian seasons: Almost Winter, Winter, Tired of Winter, and Patio. That puts us smack in the middle of Tired of Winter right now, which I find incredibly accurate. April has had us swing from spring-ish weather, to snow, to sunshine, to snow, to t-shirts, to snow again. Tuesday was warm and sunshiney, yesterday, it hailed and today there was frost on the ground. Tomorrow, it's supposed to be nearly 20C. There is just no rhyme or reason to this. 

 some of the deceptively sunnier days here

colouring his favourite superhero on the garage floor

In the meantime, we are getting ready for Patio season! The workmen have come to work on our yard all week and it's been fascinating. Kingsley and I have spent most of our days in the garage or at the back windows watching trucks and workmen do their magic. The cement truck arrived today to pour the driveway and I could barely drag the girls out to school, they just wanted to watch. 



The sunnier days this month have made me so eager to get the yard done. It's been frustrating for both Kingsley and I to limit ourselves to the garage and front porch when we want some fresh air (uneven gravel is no friend to wheelchairs or crutches). Today, they are paving the driveway and the front walk. The other days this week they've done the prep work for that and done the stone/rock work in the backyard, added some of the features to the pool, and prepared the patio for concrete. In the next two weeks they will continue to do the back yard, add fencing, and then eventually we will get grass and landscaping done. So exciting!!

 the future path to the front door which will complete the smooth ride into the house for King

this is the back patio taken from two different windows. the patio has a ramp (where those rocks are) that will end beside the stairs. the gate to the pool will be there. watching the Bobcat place the rocks was probably the highlight of King's month. and yes, it was snowing when I took these pictures yesterday.

As of a couple of days ago, I have ditched the crutches and can walk on my own (finally). I have a long way to go before my knee is back to normal, if it ever gets there, but at least now I can drive and by the time we really do reach Patio season, we will be ready to enjoy it! 


Friday, March 29, 2013

A King Lives Here

Five and a half years ago, Jeff and I bought our first house. We had a one year-old and a baby on the way. I thought we had found our forever home. It was a bit of a fixer-upper, but we figured we had our lifetime to do that, after the kids were older and had stopped destroying things. It had everything and I couldn't ever imagine having to move. Jeff always saw it as our 'first house'. He wanted something bigger, something newer.

When we found out about Kingsley, moving was one of the first things we worried about. We were told we wouldn't have to worry about it, accommodations could be made, he would be a walker, wait and see ;) We waited. We realized after his fourth surgery that he was not going to be a walker and so the ball starting rolling on a new home for us.

Our first decision was a location. If King was going to be on wheels, I wanted to switch schools. We chose the highschool, then looked at the feeder elementary schools and started looking at the areas. Our second decision was whether we would build or renovate. We came very close to buying a gorgeous house and renovating it, but when we had a contractor who specializes in accessible reno's come in to assess it, we realized it would cost nearly the same to just build from the start and make it all perfect ourselves, minus the part where we live in reno-land. Jeff knew a builder who did only custom homes, so they started to talk.

In December 2011, we put the deposit down on our lot. I googled and googled and asked and read, trying to find out what we should incorporate into this house, how to make it perfect for all five of us, both and in the future.

It's really weird to stand across the street now and see how different things look less than a year later! 

Our builders, Crown Homes, were absolutely amazing. I cannot say enough how fantastic they were to work with and how amazing they are. Every single detail was attended. They listened to every request I had, worked in every element and came up with so many ideas of their own. The end result makes me want to pinch myself every morning when I open my eyes. This home is not only accessible, but it's gorgeous. It doesn't look like a barrier free home, which was something that was important to me. It's subtle, which makes it feel like it was made for all of us, not just Kingsley.

But of course, none of this would have happened without Kingsley, so a great deal of thought went into his needs and future needs.

**I have to make a disclaimer here. I found I was putting off doing this post because our house isn't 'done', by which I mean that I have all of these Pinterest-y ideas for it that haven't yet happened. It's not all decorated and pretty, like it should be. And, every time I turn around, the kids have made a mess somewhere. Then I realized, oh well, this is my house. One day, when the kids are all grown up and moved out, it'll look like a magazine cover. Until then, overlook the stuff that isn't that pretty and pretend it is. ;) I'm also not a great photographer, so sorry about that. 

OUTSIDE:
Thanks to our fabulous, snowy Canadian winters, the yard is not yet done and will have to wait until the ground thaws and dries out before it gets finished. Eventually, it will have a concrete driveway and walkway up to the front door that will be level with the front porch which is level with the front entrance. I was anti-ramp as they are usually a bit unattractive and draw attention to the fact that someone has mobility challenges, which entices burglars so I've read. The concrete driveway will also have a path extending around the side of the house to the back patio, etc., but I'll have to save all of that for a spring/summer post once it's done. There's also a pool, but it's currently full of ice and surrounded by dirt and snow, so that'll be later also.

GARAGE:
We have a double garage that is long and wide. There is enough room for two vans if you wanted, with space to wheel around on both sides and in the front. We did this in case we ever got a van with a ramp, there is room for that. The entrance from the garage to the house is level. There's a bit of a lip that Kingsley currently has trouble with, but once he is a bit more adept at getting over bumps, he'll be fine.


BASICS:
All of the doors and hallways are a bit wider, all of the outlets are a little bit higher, and the light switches a little bit lower, none of which is not noticeable unless I point it out. The door handles are all levers. The house has an open concept which I appreciate so much now that we are here. The rooms are all big, which seemed excessive until Kingsley started to explore and had space to get around any furniture and go anywhere. He doesn't get stuck, he doesn't get trapped, he's not blocked off. It's amazing.



LEVELS:
The house is one floor with a mostly-finished basement. Upstairs are a play room/future office, kids bedrooms, our bedroom, great room and kitchen. Downstairs is a rec room, laundry, storage, and more bedrooms. It was a given that we would need some way for Kingsley to get downstairs independently. We started this journey when Kingsley was barely two years-old and finished just before he turned three. In that time, he developed in so many ways that we had to keep altering our plans. At first, we planned on wider stairs (for a future lift of some kind) and a rough-in for an elevator. We kept the wider stairs, but ended up just putting in the elevator, then we made the elevator all automatic so that Kingsley can just use it on his own. The elevator has lost it's novelty for me, but the kids and guests all think it's cool ;) It's about as loud as a garage door opener, which is something I'm asked all the time. You can hear it, but it's not that loud. It's small, but not claustrophobic... unless you're actually claustrophobic, then it would probably be awful. All five of us can squeeze in at once with King on wheels.


Another thing that we did was a built-in baby gate, or built-in wheeler gate! Open stairways give me nightmares, so our builder had a gate built that matches the stair railings and added it right before we moved in with a latch to keep King out. It blends perfectly.


BATHROOMS:
There are three bathrooms and a rough in for a powder room in one of the basement storage areas. The main bathroom upstairs and downstairs are nearly identical and fully accessible. They both have huge barrier free showers that King can roll right in (when he's older and we get a shower chair). There are two shower heads, one that is hand-held or put on an adjustable bar and then the usual one for the girls. There is no vanity, only a sink on a counter. The cabinet man said that we could add to it later on when or if we find a need. For now, we have no clue what King will want in there, if anything. There's also a wheelchair parking space beside the toilet and space to spin around if he wants to do that. I imagine we will do shelving in there at some point, hooks, something Pinterest-y. ;)


two faucets in the shower - one for standers and one for sitters

Our ensuite bathroom is not barrier free. He can get in and move around just fine, but we have a regular vanity, a regular bathtub and a shower with a lip. It's the only non-accessible place in the house, although he loves playing with the bathtub faucets and opening and closing my drawers.


BEDROOMS:
There are three bedrooms upstairs and three downstairs. Currently the girls are sharing a room, but they have the option of moving downstairs whenever they want. They're both terrified of being away from us, so I don't see this happening for a few years. Their bedroom is technically accessible, but the amount of clothing and toys on the floor makes it notsomuch.

if I had any skills at all, I would've been able to make this photo overlap better. but I don't. 

Kingsley's bedroom is big enough that he has plenty of space on either side of the bed and a play/therapy area on the floor. We had the ceilings reinforced with extra... blocks of wood? I forget what they were called. Anyway, this was just in case we ever needed a lift or support of some kind for him. Another SB mom recommended we do this. We added a lower bar in his closet and a few shelves to make it functional for him.

I cannot get decent pictures of his room. it's messy and very sunny.

There is another bedroom in the basement that Kingsley can make his own if he also wants to move down there. The basement has big, low windows, so as long as we figure out a way that he would be able to get out in an emergency, he'd be fine. The elevator only goes down in a power outage or fire, not up.


KITCHEN:
The kitchen was so hard to do. In the end, they suggested that we plan for accessibility on the cabinets against the walls and do an island. If we find that Kingsley wants more use of the kitchen when he's older, we can renovate the island without having to gut the whole kitchen. With that in mind, we chose a side-by-side fridge/freezer with water and ice on the door, which is easier for King to get at than a freezer on the bottom or at the top. Beside that is a bar sink with counter space that is open underneath. Along the other wall is all drawers instead of cupboards that he won't be able to reach into. The microwave is down low, also. The stove is a regular stove, but we can replace it with one with knobs on the front when King and Cor are a little less adventurous. On the island is the regular double sink, a bar-height counter and the dishwasher. The dishwasher we bumped up a few inches so that he can reach in better. I kind of like this for me! There's also a pantry with adjustable shelves so that we can put things he will need within his reach. The rest of the cabinets are tall and barely within my reach, so we will put things he won't need up there.




When we redo the island, I think we will drop it from bar-height to table height where he will be able to wheel right up to it, expand it out and add a few more shelves. That is years away, though!

MUDROOM:
We have a large mudroom since the laundry is in the basement. I couldn't commit to shelving/cubbies yet, so we will wait a while before we do that. I get a little obsessed with Houzz and Pinterest, trying to plan the perfect mudroom and I think I have it, then I'll see another. Those sites are like crack! I do plan on having hooks, benches, and somewhere for King to wheel right up and store his stuff along with the rest of us.

FLOORS:
A big thing that took me so long to decide on were the floors. There's a lot of flooring here. I ended up insisting on laminate over hardwood. It looks gorgeous and so far everyone has told us we've made the right choice (or they've just been nice and lied to us). Kinger is now indoor/outdoor with his wheels and the thought of how scratched up and dirty hardwood would get made me ill. There is also big tiles in the front foyer, bathrooms, laundry room, and mudroom. I have no idea what kind of tile, these details are totally wasted on me. It's pretty ;) The lower level has carpet, which took us a lot of time and searching to pick out. I wanted something durable like in offices, but not industrial looking. I think we ended up with a berber kind of carpet. It's nice. He can roll over it pretty well.

PLAYROOM:
There's an office in the front of the house that we are currently using as a playroom. I like having the kids all on the main floor for now. When they're a bit older and have less toys they can move downstairs and make the rec room their own. It's technically accessible, but man oh man, those kids sure know how to make a mess.


EXTRA'S:
For some reason, I felt really guilty asking for things for ME when we were building this house, but I did manage to toss in some totally guilty pleasures in with all this practical stuff. I got a laundry chute (how else will King get his dirty laundry down there??), those sweeper vac's that suck up your dirt without having to use a dustpan, and a laundry room that made me squeal like a 1950's housewife getting her first vacuum. Oh, the things that thrill me now...

welcome to laundry heaven. there's a folding table with baskets for sorting to the left there. and an iron/board that I'll never use. 

I also got to pick the whole colour scheme (grey), which basically involved me showing pictures from Pinterest on my phone and saying, "Can we do something like this? How about this? I love this! And this!" The designer for Crown Homes is so brilliant, she put together scraps of ideas that I had and turned them into gorgeousness. I may have also pimped out the master closet with those built in shelves and stuff. I want to live in there.

We moved in two weeks ago and the difference it has made in our lives is nothing I could have imagined. I recently visited our old house and only then could I appreciate how closed in and narrow it all felt compared to what we have now. Kingsley can and does go ANYWHERE in this house, he has total freedom in his bumbobile, wheelchair, and dynamic stander. In our old house, if Kingsley disappeared it was because he had accidentally trapped himself in the bathroom and was sitting in the dark waiting for us to find him. In this house, I can hardly keep track of him. He loves 'New House' and still gets excited every time we pull in the driveway. I am just so disgustingly happy and grateful that we were able to do this and that we met all the right people who made it happen. This is definitely our forever home.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Crazy Good

We are in our new house and it is amazing, there is no other word for it.

The move was on Saturday (my birthday!) and it went perfectly. It was so smooth, I don't think there was a single glitch. Everyone arrived when they were supposed to, everything was delivered and installed on time, and the kids did great at all their grandparents houses.


I know I promised pictures and details, but this house is so beautiful that any pictures I take right now would just not do it justice. I am very good with the unpacking, but things are still a little crazy.

I will say though, I can not get tired of asking, "Where is Kingsley?" all day long. The independence he has here is incredible. He loves to explore, to touch things, to look, to play, to just GO. He has only used his wheelchair in our old house a couple of times and even then could only get so far. The bumbobile is amazing, but puts him at the height of someone on their hands and knees. Here, he spends most of the day in his dynamic stander or wheelchair and he can access every part of every room. I cannot express how grateful I am that we were able to build this house.

He has a new bed that arrived the week before we moved in. It's a top bunk, with the full side rails that come off, but it's a double bed size. We got it from Crate Designs, which is an amazing Canadian company. He loved playing in his new bed the few times we visited the house and watched things being delivered or installed, but come the first night he gave me a look of pure terror when I announced it was now time to SLEEP in the new bed that he loved so much. It took him until nearly 11pm to fall asleep, constantly waking to check and see that I was still there, but he eventually did and the next two nights were/are just fine. He's been skipping his nap, so I'm sure that's helped.


I'm very happy now that the move was delayed a week and that this week is March Break. Having the girls home does slow me down a bit, but our days are so busy settling in that having to get up for school would be dreadful.


Back to unpacking now. :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Three. Two. One...


We don't move until Saturday, but as of today, this is my house!


Things are all falling into place more perfectly than I could imagine. I feel like I am constantly saying this to everyone I see, but our new house is just so amazing. So amazing. I'm going to do a whole post on it at some point about the very cool things that we've done to make it great for Kingsley, but for now I'll just go on and on about how awesome it is for me! It's gorgeous, it's spacious, it's open, and it's just an absolute dream home. I can't wait to start puking up Pinterest ideas all over it!

Talk to me in a week though, I may just be glad I survived the move ;)

 [insert girlish squeals of joy and excitement]


Friday, February 15, 2013

When it Rains...

Isn't it funny how you can have months and months of nothing go by and then all of a sudden you find yourself faced with multiple things all at once? No! It's not funny! It's horribly stressful and it's making me grouchy.

First, exciting stressor: we are moving. In two weeks. Or maybe three. Not entirely an exciting stressor since it's hard to move really quickly when you don't know when you're moving. We need to act fast because my knee surgery is coming closer and closer and we need to be settled before that happens. However, I like things like this and it could be just fine if that's all that was going on.

But. Of course it's not the only thing.

Kinglsey has mild scoliosis, which is kind of normal for people with SB. He was assessed last year and it was only about 13 degrees. I don't actually know what that means, but it was no big deal.

He's always leaned to the left, mostly just when he was tired. He has one side stronger than the other, but a slight curving of his wheelchair seat and giving him something to hold in his hands is usually enough to get him upright.

Nope, this isn't the case anymore. Lately, he's leaning a lot. His elbow is always on the wheel getting filthy, he slouches when he's eating, and the lopsidedness in his back ribs is obvious to me more than it's ever been.

This could be his scoliosis getting worse. This could be Cordelia's super late bedtime tantrums making him really tired. This could be his cord retethered, since it has come on pretty quickly. I don't know. But the calls are starting, the appointments will follow. It's starting to pour.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

With No Segue

Our new house is awesome. No, we do not yet live in it. Long, boring story, but hopefully very soon we will be moving. In the meantime, I torture myself by daydreaming about how amazing it will be to actually live there. It is a Dream Home in every sense of the word. ;)


The potty action started great, then as I should've anticipated, everything went out the door when the holidays hit. Bedtimes were all over the place, we were all sick, lots of grandparents needing to babysit... Anyway, as soon as our routine started up again, I dusted off the potty and we got back to it. It's so very strange to potty train when nearly every factor is in my control and he has none.

All in all, things are going well. Lots of clean times during the day, lots of potty action, but it's still a learning curve I'm trying to master. All in time.


Remember the pregnant Mom I met at the library? In this city, six degrees of separation is really only about two degrees, so I was able to find her! And of course, she blogs ;) Her beautiful daughter, Ava, was born on December 4th and she's doing very well. This little fighter and her family are amazing. You can follow her story here.


Kingsley turned three this week. It feels like his first year was really heavy and consuming and action packed, and the next two have been kind of chill and just a chance to settle in and be comfortable. He really does feel like a three year old though. He didn't feel much like a one year-old when he was one because of the absence of walking and talking or all of that physical growth stuff. He didn't feel much like a two year-old because of the lack of language and tantrums (aw, shucks!) and toilet training trials that happen then. But three feels like three. I think three is going to be a good year for him.

For those of you who keep track of these things, tomorrow will also be his three year shuntiversary! He's still rocking Billy the First, which is awesome.


We are officially  members of the YMCA. Kinger and I went in there last week and had our tour, signed the papers and got our cards. We went for a workout Monday and had a wee snag though. When I dropped him off, I was one of the first there and they asked if he could stand. No. Could he crawl? No. No biggie, just have him sit there on the play mats. When I picked him up, I realized I had put him in the baby room and he was surrounded by infants. Today, he hung out with the kids his age and I had to drag him out of there (not) kicking and screaming.


And whatever is a mama to do when her camera stinks and her photorific sister refuses to cross the country to update her ancient blog header? Well, obviously, I went back to Laura! So. Ridiculously. Cute. The restructuring is a work in progress. I still need to play around a bit. :)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Castle for a King


Our lives are overwhelmed right now by three things: school for the girls, getting our house prettied-up to sell, and building our new house. It's going to be a long, busy fall and that's fine because the outcome is going to be so awesome for all of us, not just Kingsley.

I've had a lot of questions about our new house that we're building and what we're doing to make it accessible. I recognize that we are excruciatingly lucky in that we are able to just build a house to meet our needs instead of trying to make do in what we have like so many others.We are also very lucky to have found builders that are in every way accommodating to our very long list of needs and wants, and who have even come up with things that I didn't think to think about.

We did consider buying a house that was already accessible, but the handful that came up for sale in the past couple of years always had the same flaw: they were built for adults. While I love Kingsley dearly, I am not giving up my master bedroom and ensuite for my 2 year old son. He's a kid and this is a family home! One day, when he's all grown up, he can go find his own house and have the big bedroom ;) It's important to me that while we technically are building this house for Kinglsey, there are 4 other people living there who are just as important as him, so no special treatment.

My first wish for our house was that it was completely accessible for Kingsley. No point in doing this halfway if it's our one shot at doing it. All entries/exits, all rooms, all spaces. The only exception was the closet in the master bedroom and the ensuite, because it's my (and Jeff's) space and he doesn't need to get in my business.


My second wish for our house was that it didn't LOOK accessible. I did some reading a couple years ago when the idea of an accessible home popped into our head and apparently people with mobility aides are prime targets for break ins. Also, let's be honest, sometimes accessible things are done with the function of being accessible at the expense of looking pretty. I wanted none of that and, thankfully, the designer I'm working with agrees.

Now begins my long list of the things we are doing to make this an awesome house for us, but specifically for Kingsley:

1. Floors: I had to fight against the builder and Jeff on this one, but we're going with laminate hardwood instead of real hardwood and tile. It's more durable, not bumpy, and I won't cry if it gets a little roughed up. In Canada, we generally don't wear our shoes in the house at all, but King only has one wheelchair so it's kind of like him wearing his shoes in the house all year round. That's a lot of yuck. Also, those of you with kids on wheels will relate, but most other people will want some kind of footwear to protect their toes/ankles from the wheeling demon! The basement will have some kind of carpet. We're still figuring out what kind will work best. There will be tile in the bathrooms, but to be honest, this stuff is over my head so I have no idea what kind except that it's super chic.

2. Levels: it's a one floor house with a basement. The stairs are extra wide and there's a rough-in for an elevator. At this point, we're open to a stair lift of some kind or an elevator or both? But Kingsley's too young to make those kind of uber expensive choices right now... although Jeff is strongly urging me to consider putting in the elevator now. We're making calls and crunching numbers. Maybe we'll have an elevator right away. According to Jeff, it's inevitable.


3. Bedrooms: there are three bedrooms upstairs and three downstairs. When we move in, we'll all sleep on the main floor with the girls sharing a room (which they are SO excited about). All the doorways are wide for King to get through. His bedroom has a built in desk and lots of space for a bed that I haven't figured out yet. We've also reinforced the ceiling above his bed in case we ever need a support/lift thing to get him in and out of bed. I anticipate he'll eventually learn to transition all on his own, but it's just easier to cover the just-in-case scenarios now! If he ever finds a way to get out of one of the windows in the basement then he will be allowed to have a bedroom down there, otherwise he's stuck upstairs. The girls can take a room downstairs whenever they want.


4. Bathrooms: because of the elevator, we didn't have room for a main floor powder room, but I'm not upset because that would make 4 bathrooms in a house that's not that big, which is a lot to clean! Instead, there is a full, accessible bathroom on both floors between the kids' bedrooms. They'll have a roll in shower, a wall mounted sink that is not ugly, a big space beside the toilet and room for King to wheel around. There's also a linen closet outside both bathrooms to make up for the lack of cupboards or storage, which is something we'll add as the kids grow up and we see what's needed. The ensuite will have a bathtub if the kids ever want a bath instead of a shower, but it's not accessible.


5. Entries: the front door, back door, and garage door will all be level so that Kingsley can just roll in or out. We have a lot that was pretty level to begin with, so obvious ramps and railings won't be needed. Our builder has been fantastic about ways to work with landscaping and such to get it to work.


6. Kitchen: the kitchen has probably been the hardest thing for me to figure out. On the one hand, I want it to be easy for Kingsley to use anything in the kitchen, on the other hand he's 2 and it'll be a while before he's cooking dinner for us, right? So, for now we're getting a regular stove and in the future, we'll get a new one with knobs at the front so he can use it. It's open and has space for him to maneuver where ever he wants to go. The island has the dishwasher on it, which we've raised up a bit so that he'll be able to reach the bottom to load/unload dishes easily. The fridge will be a side-by-side instead of having an unreachable freezer on top or in the way at the bottom. It'll also have the water/ice on the door so King can help himself easily. There will be a space beside the fridge that will be open underneath with counter space and a bar sink for King to use for whatever. The microwave is under the counter where he'll reach it easily instead of up higher. The cupboards on the bottom are all pull out drawers and things that he'll be able to access instead of cupboards that he won't be able to reach in to. I think that's about it... We went with the island instead of a peninsula because it's easier to scrap and redo an island than the whole kitchen if we ever think of new ways to make it easier for Kingsley to use, you know, in case he wants to be a gourmet chef and needs somewhere to practice. ;)


7. The Yard: Jeff and I met as lifeguards. We both grew up loving the water, however where aquatics made him want a pool of his own, it gave me a healthy fear of my loved ones drowning. In the end, the fact that the outdoor pools around here aren't actually all that accessible made me cave and so we're getting a pool. *choke* In the spirit of not doing things halfway, we're getting the whole yard done right away. There will be a concrete patio that'll be slightly slanted to make the exit from the house accessible. The patio will extend via a pathway to the front of the house and driveway. The patio will meet a fence that will surround the pool and that's about as far as I know for sure since we're going to rework some of the pool stuff this week. The other half of the yard will have my garden and grass space and then the whole yard will have a tall fence around it. I asked about how to make a pool accessible for Kingsley and it seems there isn't really a lot of ways to do it. We're too far north to do a beach entry (more things that went over my head, something about a frost line), so we're doing stairs in both the deep and shallow end, which will be easier for King to bum up or whatever. We questioned getting a lift, but were told that he'll never use it, especially when friends are around. Fair enough, no point then. I want the edge of the pool to have that little flip up lip, you know? So that something will slow him down if he somehow ends up gliding too close to the edge on wheels (which makes me nauseated to even type).

8. Extra's: we've done a few other little things like lower the light switches a couple inches and raise the outlets a little bit, make sure the windows cranks and locks are reachable, the door handles are all levers, and we added a laundry chute since there wasn't room for main floor laundry.


And that's it! It should be done by Christmas. Ish.  :)
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