The conventional thinking that accessible homes require significant square footage to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers runs contrary to small and tiny house floor plans. Many of these affordable new construction houses are ideally suited for people with physical limitations. Modestly-sized home plans reduce the amount of space people have to navigate.
When designed with an eye on accessibility and space efficiency, small and tiny homes are also a wonderful option for people on fixed incomes. Contractors and potential homebuyers who use wheelchairs, walkers or have difficulty reaching objects at heights may want to consider accessible small homes.
How Can A Small Home Meet ADA Standards?
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) establishes building code guidelines that increase accessibility in a wide range of areas. These include entranceways, countertops, open pathways and bathroom amenities, among many others. A small house typically runs between 600 and 1,200 square feet, although no hard-and-fast rule exists, making it easy to modify for increased accessibility.
New construction small houses may have 2-3 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. Traditional layouts often divide each room with narrow interior doors that make many feel claustrophobic. But reimagining small house plans through the accessibility lens may make them more palatable for wide-reaching potential homebuyers and people with mobility challenges alike. These are floor plan modifications that can transition a living space to an accessible one.
- Merge Rooms: Open floor plans generally merge spaces such as kitchens, dining and living rooms. This concept is easy to integrate into small houses that often require fewer load-bearing walls. Combining these three rooms into an open space can make more than half of the house accessible by eliminating narrow doorways.
- Modified Room Openings: Some public buildings meet ADA guidelines by eliminating doors to bathrooms and other areas. This strategy can be employed in small homes as well. By building an open entrance that employs a wall or barrier for privacy, someone who uses a wheelchair or walker can follow the doorless pathway. They do not have to deal with thresholds, knobs or doors swinging closed.
- Outdoor Living Spaces: Deck and patio ingress and egress present a significant accessibility challenge. Sliding glass doors often have wide lips to overcome. Other exterior doors generally use thick thresholds. One modification that can make decks and patios accessible is to build them level with the interior floor. Install French or floor-grade doors without lips and thresholds. In terms of deterring weather, consider a roof or awning.
These concepts are viable ways to transition small homes into accessible ones. Building on these same architectural design ideas, tiny houses are tailormade for accessible modifications.
Rethinking Tiny Homes As Accessible Living Spaces
The tiny home trend has captured the imagination of people with modest space needs and incomes. Efficient living also seems to attract people who might otherwise build big houses. That being said, these one and two-room homes are usually 600 square feet or smaller. Seemingly minor blueprint adjustments can make them increasingly accessible.
- Countertops & Appliances: Space constraints in tiny houses often require builders to place countertops and appliances around a room's perimeter. Employ a wall-mounted design at an ADA-guided height rather than on cabinets is one accessibility solution. People who use wheelchairs have room to move about underneath, and those without limitations may use the space for storage.
- Smart Technology: Tiny homes sometimes place light switches and other electrical devices in awkward to reach places. Smart technology allows occupants to use remote devices and voice control.
The fundamental idea behind these small and tiny home modifications is that less square footage can be a new construction advantage. Builders and potential homeowners may find that ADA-guided mindset makes small and tiny homes feel roomier.
Basements with unfinished walls can make this part of a home an unpleasant and uncomfortable place to be. Wall finishes for basements offer a way to turn these areas into comfortable and functional spaces. When you have finished walls in your basement, you and your family can get more use out of this part of your home. Whether you plan to use it as a game room, home theater, workout room or something else, it’s important to understand what to do and what not to do when finishing basement walls. The following tips can help you learn more about this process.
Pull a Permit if Needed
Check your local rules on finishing basement walls in case you need to pull a permit. You might not need to if you’re sealing basement walls or painting them. However, you’ll likely need a permit if you need to construct new walls inside your concrete basement walls. You might also need a permit if you plan to add any plumbing or wiring in your walls. Pulling a permit if it’s needed is important to do, so that you don’t risk running into problems later on. For example, you might have trouble selling your home if you did this type of work without a permit when you should have pulled one.
Choose Construction Materials for Basements
When choosing materials for finishing basement walls, make sure you select ones that are specifically designed for use in this part of your home. These materials are typically resistant to rot and moisture, making them better options for basement environments. For example, you can use treated wood with concrete walls, or use drywall that’s made to be resistant to mildew and moisture. If your finished walls will have insulation, choose rigid foam board insulation rather than fiberglass batt insulation, which is vulnerable to moisture damage.
Avoid Finishing Walls in a Damp Basement
If your basement is damp or has moisture problems, you’ll need to correct this before finishing the walls. Depending on the problem, you might need to use a sealant on your walls or have a drain installed under the floor to prevent leaks. Once your basement is dry, you can work on finishing the walls.
Plan for Pipes and Wiring
What should you do if you plan to build new walls when pipes are in the way? The easiest solution is to leave the pipes where they are and build your new walls on the other side of them. While this reduces the amount of interior space you have in your basement, it’s a less costly and complex solution than having to reroute these pipes. If you’re going to need new wiring in your walls, have a licensed electrician handle this task.
Although being a first-time buyer can seem overwhelming, there was one advantage to the entire process: You didn’t need to sell another property. If you would like to move out of the home that you’re currently living in and are in the process of buying a new place, your life is about the get complicated! Hold tight to your realtor and get ready for quite the ride.
Since it’s often unrealistic to pay two mortgages at once, there’s a certain way that you must complete the transactions so as not to cause a huge financial headache when moving from one place to another. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to deal with buying a new home and selling your current one simultaneously in most cases.
The good news is that it can be done! Read on for tips to find out how you can make the process go as smoothly as possible.
First, you’ll want to understand the housing market that you’re in. You’ll know what strategies you need to employ if you understand the type of market that you’re dealing with. If the two homes are in completely different areas, this research will be even more important to you.
While you’re searching for a new home and selling your current one, you’ll want to leave your options open. That means not locking yourself down to just one home. Of course, you’ll only put in one offer at a time, but knowing what’s out there for you to buy is important in case the purchase falls through on the first prospective home. This way you won’t have much chance of being “stranded” once your old home sells.
You want your home to be sold in a timely manner. This means that your old home should be well-priced and ready to sell. Work with your realtor on staging, pricing, and holding open houses. The more effort that is put into marketing your home, the better chance you’ll have of selling it. Extra time on the market means that you’ll have a bigger headache when it comes to buying your new home. Selling quickly is not a bad thing so long as you have some other place to live. You can also put a contingency in the sale stating that you need to find suitable housing before you can move. Realtors can do a lot when their sellers are cooperative and proactive.
Should You Buy First?
If you sell your home first, you’ll have an easier time getting a mortgage on a new home. The problem here is that you’ll need to find some sort of temporary housing before you even head out on the house hunt.
If you buy a home fist, your buying power may be less than if you sold your current home. Your debt-to-income ratio will be higher, giving you less money to spend on a new home.
While buying and selling a home simultaneously can be complicated, if you strategize correctly, you’ll be able to go through the entire process with ease.
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Whether you are dabbling into your first DIY home decor project or you are an experienced crafter, you may find that you make a few mistakes or hit a few roadblocks along the way. Fortunately, there are many seasoned experts out there who can give you advice and guidance as you work through any project.
These DIY tips can help make any project easier and more fun to complete:
Gather All Of Your Materials Before You Begin the Project
Regardless of the size and scope of your project, you are going to want to make sure that you have all of the materials and tools that you will need before you begin it. It can be very frustrating and difficult to pause in the middle of the project because you do not have the right products to finish the next step. This also can leave you vulnerable to mistakes during the process, so it's best to review the materials required and make sure that you have everything on hand before you get started.
Choose a Project Suited to Your Skill Level
It's always exciting to take on a DIY project, especially a home decor project that is going to have pride of place inside your house. However, it's best that you select a project that is well-suited to your personal interests, skills and talents. It is important to review the instructions for any project before you buy your materials and decide to take it on. This will give you a good idea of whether it is the right project for you at this time.
Be Mindful of Your Budget as You Customize Your Project
One of the reasons that many people take on DIY projects is that they are more affordable than purchasing a new product from a store. However, it's easier than you might think to blow your budget by upgrading the materials that you use or customizing the project so that extra products are required to complete it. Whenever you decide to deviate from the original guide or instructions, make sure that the changes fit within your personal budget for the project.
Make Sure You Have a Dedicated Space for Working on Your Project
Not every home decor DIY project can be finished in a matter of hours. In fact, some may even take days or weeks. To be successful, you will want to create a workspace in your home where you can spread out your materials, work on the project and complete each step without having to clean up after each crafting session.
Allocate the Time Needed for the Entire Process and Don't Rush Through It
Most DIY project guides will give you an estimate of how much time it will take to finish. Pay attention to these timeframes and try not to rush through it. You will get the best results if you take the time that is needed to truly finish the project correctly.
Just because you are doing a home decor project yourself doesn't mean that you are going it alone. Remember that there are many resources available to help you complete just about any project. Don't be afraid to pause from your work and look up how-to videos and guides that will allow you to move forward without any frustrating mistakes.