Our ADA Home Plans For Our New Build

Derek and I met with the construction manager and architect yesterday for our new house, and walked away feeling like we'll definitely have a place that Em will be able to thrive for years and years to come. We wanted to strike a balance between making the changes that are easy to make now, and that are cheaper to do in the construction phase than after the fact, but we also didn't want to leave our house looking so accessible that you walked in and felt like you were entering into a hospital. We wanted to leave room for us to be able to change and switch things out (like tubs or showers), when the need arose later down the line, but also have a functional home that meets our current needs as well. 

This isn't the outside of our home, but is a general idea of what it will look like!
Our builder told us that he doesn't do this for everyone, but that he was mostly making an exception to do it for us. It's not lost on us that half the things we wind up being able to do are out of pity. A young married couple looking to make a home handicap accessible for their three-year-old daughter? I'm going to go out on a limb and say a few people felt sorry for us. The construction manager actually told us that one of his kids were paralyzed for a month at one point, but is now fine. He then went on to say how his life, helping his son, was difficult for a month, and that he couldn't imagine it being a life long thing. So he said he'd let us make all these changes, but to not tell anyone else. (Whoops! At least I'm not telling the community or builder, it's fine...) 

The first changes that we made were widening doorways. We need a three foot door for any rooms that Em will frequently use. Some of the doors in the home were already three feet, like the front door, the door going into the garage, and the door from the mudroom into the home. We needed to make the door into Em and Jay's bathroom three feet, Em's bedroom door, the door into the laundry room and the door in our Master bathroom that separates the toilet from the sink. 

In our master bathroom, instead of making that door three feet, we decided to just remove the wall and door all together, removing the separation from the toilet, and making the room one large open space. The idea for this is that if Em needs to be able to roll into a shower when she is older, then we'll be able to swap our shower for an accessible one, and then there won't be walls in the way of her navigating the space and rolling into the shower. 

Other small changes that we made were switching the faucets and knobs on the showers to be on the wall opposite of the toilets. The original plan had you reaching past the toilets to turn on the faucets, and by moving them to the other side, Em won't have to navigate and squeeze between the toilets in a walker or wheelchair to turn on the showers. 

The final thing that we did was change the stairs in the garage leading to the mudroom to come up level with the house. There was an option for us to add a ramp in the garage leading into the house for $1,000, but if we add the ramp now, we'll only be able to fit one car in the garage, and Derek didn't want to make that sacrifice right from the beginning, especially if Em did walk independently one day and didn't need it. The builders are building the stairs to be able to accept a ramp that Derek can build in the future, should the need arise. 

The total cost for all the changes that we made to the plans are roughly about $50 per door. Since we're changing four doors, that wound up only being about $200. This is allowing us to have more room in the budget to do things like stone counters, and adding a double sink in our vanity in the master bedroom. We're also upgrading our appliances to stainless steel (and getting a gas range!) which was only a $300 add on! I'm excited to keep you guys up-to-date on this home build and document how everything progresses! 


  1. Sounds good so far... does the main living area seem small in person? Because it looks that way on the floorplan.

    1. It's not massive by any means, but you can comfortably fit an 8 person table in the dinning space, just likely no bar stools. It helps that there is a change in floors from the dinning area to the living space to help define the space so you know what you have to work with. It will also be nice when we get the basement finished in a couple years so we can have an additional living space down there that is the same size as the entire kitchen, dinning, and living room!