According to the AARP, 9 out of 10 Americans want to stay in their homes as long as possible. But how do you make a home accessible without having it look like a hospital room?
Safety and Style
AOL Home Improvement Editor Tom Kraeutler, along with his co-host Leslie Segrete from The Money Pit, spent two days making over a Long Island home to deliver safety and style.
Three Generations - One Roof
Working with experts from AARP, The Money Pit team took this home to three generations in Miller Place, NY and improved the kitchen, bath, foyer and the exterior so it was accessible for all.
The Old Kitchen
Before the improvements, this kitchen was an inaccessible nightmare. With almost no countertop space and very limited cabinets, furniture was added to provide additional work surfaces. A portable dishwasher, countertop microwave and other dated appliances made a bad situation worse.
With limited space, appliances like this refrigerator were bumping into the furniture.
Reach for It
With so little cabinets, using every space became necessary but most were hard to reach.
The New Kitchen
The improvements began with new lighting and a simple coat of paint to freshen the old cabinets and make the space feel big.
Furniture was replaced by built-in counters at varying heights to deliver access when standing or sitting.
A Kitchen Aid drawer-styled dishwasher replaced the old portable unit. Besides delivering style and accessibility, drawer appliances are energy efficient as you can run “half” the dishwasher with only one drawer full.
This single lever Moen faucet, operable with just one hand, and large American Standard sink were a big improvement over the old sink which tool up too much counter space.
This stylish and very high-tech GE Profile induction cook top heats only metal pans and not the burner which is much safer for kids and adults alike. Amazingly, we were able to boil water while a stick of butter stood on the very same burner without melting.
This Sharp drawer style microwave can be mounted under a countertop or in a lower cabinet, as shown here. Traditional microwaves either take up lots of precious countertop space or are mounted high in wall cabinets where removing hot plates can be quite dangerous.
French Door Fridge
This GE Profile French door refrigerator takes up less space than full door models, yet stores the same amount of food. Thanks to the shorter door swing, more counters and wrap-around cabinets could be built to help visually join the space between the kitchen and living room.
The Old Bath
Big and boxy, the old sink was hard maneuver around. The toilet was too low and a lack of grab bars made the space dangerous.
The New Bath
A new pedestal sink, accessible height Champion 4 toilet from American Standard started the transformation.
Have a Seat
This teak bench and new grab bars makes the bathtub that much more accessible.
500 lb-rated Towel Bar
This stylish Moen grab bar, which can support up to 500 pounds, replaced the former flimsy towel bar.
See You Next Fall
The original staircase was a disaster waiting to happen. Due to the tight foyer, the homeowners had removed the original railings.
Safe and Sturdy
Handrails were added to both inside walls as well as the open side of the staircase. To increase space in the foyer, the post was set on the second instead of the first step, and anti-slip treads were added to each step.
Easy as Child’s Play
The old hinged door was removed and replaced with a simple to use folding door. Eliminating the door swing made the traffic jam in this area vanish.
Let there be Light
New lights added over the staircase and front door improved access. Furniture was styled for space and anti-slip pads were also installed under the carpets.
This narrow entrance made it difficult to access the house.
The new deck was built on top of the original stoop. Wide step was added to increase access.
Take a Seat
The bigger deck allowed space for a bench, handy for packages or to take a rest.
Replacing traditional round door knobs with lever handles makes doors easier to open.
Lights and Numbers
Enlarged house numbers and porch light makes this home more visible from the street and easier for emergency responders to find.
Rear Ramp Before
The single step rear door was accessible by a walkway from the front making it an ideal space to add a ramp.
Rear Ramp After
This ramp was made of composite lumber and became a popular walkway for the crew during the project.
No Room for the Car
The garage was converted to a first floor bedroom.