There’s a new trend happening all over the country with individuals and couples downsizing to “Tiny Homes”, some of which are less than 100 square feet! There’s even a cable television show about the new phenomena. They are certainly advantageous in terms of cost. Many also claim the tiny home concept encourages homeowners to spend more time outdoors – which is okay in moderate weather climates. But what about accessibility for people using a wheelchair?
Wheel Pad, based out of Wilmington, VT, is the first company to build an accessible tiny “home”. The 200 square foot eco-friendly living space contains a bedroom and a bathroom. It is designed more to be an accessible addition to an existing home rather than as a stand-alone tiny home. The vision at Wheel Pad was to create a “transitional” space for people who have just started using a wheelchair or are facing other mobility issues.
Like many tiny homes, it is built on a trailer frame so that it can be easily moved and attached to a “host home” via a back door or window. Wheel Pad is designed to be manufactured, delivered and installed within two months by Wheel Pad approved contractors. The entire project is overseen by a Wheel Pad Project Manager. Ideally, the installation is completed while a client is receiving inpatient rehabilitation so that it’s ready when they come home.
The inspiration for Wheel Pad came from a young man named Riley, who spent several months bouncing around between hospitals and rehabilitation facilities after an accident left him paralyzed. This was shortly before his 26th birthday. When he was ready to start living on his own again, he wasn’t able to find an accessible apartment. For eight months, his only option was to live in an accessible hotel room.
Check out the additional photos below or visit www.wheelpad.com for more information:
The rest room comes equipped with grab bars and a wheel in shower
Appliances and features are installed at the perfect height for a wheelchair user
A track for a Hoyer style lift spans the length of the entire house
‘All photos are courtesy of Carolyn L. Bates’