Welcome to Whiteley & Whiteley’s new blog. Who – or what – is Whiteley & Whiteley? We are a home design firm that specializes in designs for special needs children and adults. I am David Whiteley, the principal designer and I will be writing this blog with my wife, Diane, our creative consultant.
Our passion for special needs design began when my brother, Bill, slipped on the ice and broke his hip. Although he lived in an expensive home in an exclusive neighborhood, he was unable to access the bathrooms with a wheelchair, because the doors were too narrow. When I found out about his dilemma, I decided that all of my future home designs would be wheelchair adaptable; the hallways and doors would be wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, and at least one bathroom would be accessible. Then, a few years ago, I met a woman with a special needs child who explained the difficulties in finding an architect or designer who understood the nuances of designing for special needs. Most are familiar with ADA, but special needs represent a much wider spectrum. I decided to learn as much as possible about designing fully functional homes for special needs. To that end, I became a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS), attended special needs trade shows and participated in projects to design and build homes for special needs children and adults.
I am ready to begin sharing my knowledge, but more importantly, I hope that you will share yours. I would like this to be an interactive blog where parents and children can discuss the challenges of designing a home for the special needs community. I include “children” because I have found that special needs home design includes creating spaces for our aging parents, commonly referred to as mother-in-law suites.
I have a list of topics that I will cover, such as designing the most functional bathroom vanity or the different types of doors and their applications; however, we will also let the blog follow the thread of thoughts from the readers. Enjoy.