Richard Dawson, chartered architect based in Bingley, West Yorkshire, providing architectural services and project management.

A “Lifetime Home” for a wheelchair user

Location: Denholme, West Yorkshire

The Victorian house after it was designed to be accessible for wheelchair users

The Victorian house after it was designed to be accessible for wheelchair users

Brief: In 2009, the clients wanted to re-organise their Victorian house to make it a “lifetime home” suitable for a wheelchair user with MS.  The clients wanted more space and improved accessibility.

Solution:  R Dawson Architect provided a design, planning and building regulations service.

The house was traditionally constructed in natural stone and had poor insulation standards.  One particular challenge was that the drive and entrance were too steep for the wheelchair user.  After several detailed layout solutions were explored,  the decision was made to demolish the side garage and construct an accessible replacement garage suitable for a mobility vehicle.

The garage has easy rise internal stairs with handrails, suitable for a future stair lift, which lead directly into a new extension to the house.  This extension provides a fully accessible suite of rooms: lounge, bedroom with en-suite and kitchen.

Level access is the default design feature.  Energy efficient sliding folding doors maximise the views from the house and connect the new lounge with the garden and patio.  The patio has raised beds for planting and borders at wheelchair height.

The extension has full wheelchair user space standards constructed to the current building regulations.  The house, which previously had little insulation, was improved with thermal dry lining to increase its energy efficiency and help to reduce bills.