Sara Beth Warne explains her passion for this project and provides with some behind-the-scenes details:
“The greatest gift you can give to someone, in this case my lifelong friend Tom who was living with Parkinson’s disease, was to give him back some of his independence, which gave him access to more of his normal world. In addition, it was important to give his wife Anne some respite from worry about his safety and space for him to maneuver in their home.”
Problem – access to their home:
The stairs were a struggle. The caregiver was struggling to support Tom and his weight as he entered and exited the house. He needed safe passage, protection from weather, and access to outdoors sitting area and transportation.
We constructed a new ramp for him under the carport area so that he could enter and exit the house from the kitchen door. The ramp also connected to a new deck where he could sit and enjoy his garden and grilling area.
Problem – bathing and toilet area:
They lived in a 1950’s ranch style home all on one level, but with a typical small narrow 5 x 8 ft. bathroom with no clear passage area for a walker or wheelchair. Also it had a narrow tub Tom could no longer use. He was having to bath standing in the kitchen. And to shave, he sat in a kitchen chair. They needed room for a hospital bed and accessible closets with more storage for his medical supplies. The main bath was also the public bath and he needed more privacy.
We redesigned a new master suite from two small existing bedrooms, a half bath and 5 small closets. This new design gave Tom full access to a new bathing, toilet and vanity area. The space was designed with a roll in shower, a pull down shower seat with a hand held shower control, grab bars, and anti-scald controls. This shower gave Tom space to enter with a walker, or later in a wheelchair and for a caregiver to aid with showering. The toilet area allowed him to do a front or side transfer with grab bars and privacy. His new sink area gave him back the ability to brush his teeth, wash his face and shave or be seated near the sink where Anne could help him shave. He loved his new mirror which was lower so he could see himself again!
Problem – access to other areas of their home:
Narrow doors and hallways made it difficult for Tom to navigate his way around his with a walker or when he was in his wheelchair
By widening a doorway and reworking some existing cabinetry, Tom now had access through the kitchen to his studio/office. The kitchen and laundry hall also got a new floor which made for smoother transitions between spaces without trip hazards.
For Tom’s birthday a group of friends gave him a wall mounted television near his hospital bed, which he really enjoyed as his disease progressed.
“I am so glad I was able to use my skills to give Tom and Anne a beautiful and functional space and to allow him to stay at home with dignity and joy.”
The gallery below will give you an idea of what Tom and Anne’s home looked like prior to the renovation:
Look at photos of the home after the Sara Beth and her team redesigned the spaces:
Click here to watch a detailed video describing the project.