Blog #4: John and Barbara’s Ramps
John and Barbara are a couple in their mid-90’s. They live in a beautiful home with spectacular views; in fact, they are the only people I know that have a written list of prospective buyers to contact if they ever decide to sell their home. The problem is that the home was built in the early 1980s and it has a sunken living room, which was the style back then. Everywhere you go in the house, you need to go up or down two steps.
As John and Barbara have grown older, maneuvering around the house has become increasingly difficult and Barbara has fallen a few times. It was time to sell and move to a more accessible residence and they began looking for a new home. They hated the idea of giving up their spectacular view, but even more distressing was the idea of packing up a lifetime of furniture and memories and downsizing to a new home. They finally realized that the next time they moved, it should be to assisted living; however, they were still quite active and not ready to take that step.
John came to Whiteley & Whiteley and asked if there was anything we could do to make their home more accessible. Diane and David Whiteley surveyed the residence and recommended ramps in two areas where travel was most frequent and handrails in a few other places, where ramps were impractical. John was concerned that the ramps would make the home look “institutional” but agreed to the project with two conditions: a) the ramps had to look like they had always been there and b) they had to look like furniture.
Diane and David began designing the ramps, incorporating some of the design elements used in other parts of the home. They decided to use maple to create the furniture affect and had the ramps built by a third-generation craftsman. The ramp between the living room and kitchen was designed at an angle, because the living room furniture was already placed at angles, helping the ramp to blend in. The ramps were stained using two wood tones and given a satin polyurethane finish. Matching wood handrails were installed every other place steps were located.
The ramps were installed a few years ago and John and Barbara still live comfortably in their beautiful home. Barbara has not fallen since the ramps were installed and they no longer think about moving. The cost of the ramps (hand-crafted, maple ramps are expensive) was more than offset by the savings in not moving and not paying the monthly fee for assisted living. And, the view from their home is . . . priceless.