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We undertook an unusal project in 2014 which was to build / find a home suitable for a family member with disabled requirements.

Being new to this market sector we undertook a two year study of the industry from books, websites, YouTube videos and talked to to a number of individuals from within the industry.

Our brief was to create a home for a badly disabled family member based on the experience that we had living and working in 24 countries worldwide.

This home was to have features to make life easier for someone living in a wheelchair and with mobility issues.

We had two options :-

Find a plot of land and build our own design on it, or adapt an existing property.

After two years of researching the available plot stock in our desired area we choose to adapt a bungalow with no load bearing walls in a quiet village.

Due to time constraints we choose to undertake the project in two phases i.e. the first one was the conversion of the existing property, and the second was a 4 metre deep / full width rear extension.

With our new knowledge we created a home with many redundancy options for heating, lighting and bathing and a design without 'wasted space'.

We imported doors and windows from our previous country of residence in Europe and installed underfloor heating.

The final result is a four bedroom, multi-functional home with numerous reception area configurations, excellent insulation, adaptable lighting with solar gain, wider doors and an excellent flow.

The outside space was totally redesigned for low maintenance, security, good parking and ease of access.

 
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  The property that we purchased was typical of the area and had been built in the 1970's, it was basically a two bedroom bungalow with a small conservatory at the rear.

The previous owners had converted the 3rd small bedroom into a dining room adjacent to the main living room.

The property had gas central heating with radiators and many small, dark rooms.

Most of the rooms were accessed from a corridor which had no window lighting and occupied circa 10-15% of the total current living space.

A utility room had been built from hardboard in a double garage area with no suitable fire door and had poor access to the side of the property.

The outside areas were badly overgrown and had poor parking facilities.
 
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  Our own design based on living in properties in numerous countries throughout the world was an open plan configuration on one level with wider door access, underfloor heating and the ability to heat and cool from alternative sources.

The design had two bathrooms adjacent to the two main bedrooms, one with a wet room, wash basin and toilet, and one with a conventional bath, wash basin and toilet.

The sunroom has glass on 5 sides and is heated by the sun most of the year without additional heating, it is cooled in the summer with air conditioning and a black out option of the lantern above. The sunroom provides an addiitonal living space to both bedrooms by means of sliding doors. All outside doors have multiplepoint locking mechanisms.

The double garage was converted to a single garage and a utility room adjacent to the kitchen area. A ramp provides access from the property to the parking area which accomodates 4 cars.
 
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  We decided to adapt the property based on the original outside walls, but as this property had no load bearing walls we re-designed the inside with 4 bedrooms and a double sized bathroom with bath and shower. ( We could only accomodate one bathroom in this design due to the fall of this particular plot, but this is adequate for our own lifestyle ).

There are more than 5,000 cubic feet of living space in the main kitchen, diner and living area all on one level with a level threshold access throughout to all of the other rooms and areas within the property for wheelchair use.

With no radiators we are able to use all of the wallspace, the German doors are 40% wider, airtight, soundproof, have a burn value of 4 hours on the internal doors, and 6 hours on the fire door leading into the garage, plus an excellent drop handle and locking system.

Our particular lifestyle means that we use one of the rooms as an office and one as a music room / guest bedroom, but we use 'all of the rooms every day'.

All of the bedrooms have 3 speed Westinghouse ceiling fans / lights which are remotely controlled.

The home can also be heated electrically by a 5 kilowatt multi-use unit which doubles as an industrial strength air conditioning unit in summer cooling the whole property due to the design. We expect to use 70% less gas this winter of 2022, and with convection heat we only need a 15 minute boost to heat the whole property, nothing when we are not at home.

The home features are mainly voice controlled or by remote control for ease of use by a disabled person.

As one of our family members works as a Clinical Lead for Occupational Therapy in the NHS, and is also a Physiotherapist, we could offer advice as to equipment that would be helpful to install for 'would be buyers' for their particular lifestyle in the future.
     
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