Add Accessibility when you Remodel a Ranch

3 min read Mid-century Ranch houses are pretty easy to get around for people with disabilities, especially with few key upgrades to add accessibility!

Mid-Century ranch houses appeal to just about everyone. They are great starter homes for young families and just as great for couples looking to age in place over time. They also work well for people with disabilities … especially with a few essential updates. Today let’s talk about how to make sure your remodel improves your home’s accessibility!

The Big Picture of an Accessible Remodel

Sometimes you need to change the layout of your home in order to make it more accessible to people with mobility challenges. If so these changes can be DIYed or might require a full contractor overhaul. In general make sure someone can:

Get into the house

This might mean adding a ramp or lift to the house entrance to span the distance between grade (the ground level outside) and floor level inside. Make sure that the pathway into the house is smooth with minimal thresholds or other impediments to a smooth step or roll.

Get around the house

Make sure the hallways and doorways are wide enough for easy access. When in doubt choose simple straightforward pathways thorough the major house areas (and avoid sunken living rooms!)

Pay attention to flooring surfaces. Keep transitions (between one type of floor to another) to a minimum and make sure they don’t create any raised thresholds. Avoid carpets.

Easy access in the kitchen and bathroom

Fit out bathrooms and kitchens with roll up counter spaces, lowered sinks, wide turning radii near the important appliances and minimal thresholds to get into pantries or showers.

Little things make or break Accessibility

Make sure all your hardware choices are accessibility friendly. Choose lever style handles, trip free flooring surfaces and good lighting for visibility.

Place sturdy grab bars near tricky corners, key doorways, along halls and stairways and especially in bathrooms. Even if you don’t need grab bars now, add blocking in the walls for likely future placement so that installing them is as easy as possible when you do want them at hand!

Planning an Accessible Remodel is Smart

Wether you have a pressing need for an accessible home right now due to your own situation or that of close friends or family OR not its never a bad idea to plan an accessible update. 

Anyone can slip on the ice in the driveway and find themselves laid up unexpectedly.  When you do, you’ll thank yourself for choosing a walk in shower with a bench.    And when you plan it well it doesn’t need to cost you more stand out style-wise.  Again, this is where the clean practical aesthetic of MidCentury design goes hand in hand with a livable house for all ages.  

Handy diagrams for Accessible Floor plans

bathroom sketch annotated with accessibility guidelines
sketch of accessibility hallway clearance for a wheelchair user
sketch of turning radius diagrams for wheelchair users

In today’s episode you’ll hear …

  • A quick over view of the Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA [2:35]
  • Some history of how Americans have planned for people with disabilities in the past (spoiler: it wasn’t great) [3:30]
  • A guess as to why MCM homes are so much more accessible than earlier eras’ homes [6:40]
  • How to bring added accessibility into your remodel plans [8:30]

Listen now on

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Resources to Add Accessibility Mentioned in this Episode