Article by Laura LaVoie
This post will show you some basics regarding ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible tiny homes in case you or someone that you know has special needs. We recently had this question as a comment on a post about container homes:
“I rather like the ideas for container housing. What I need is a home that is electric wheelchair (and associated medical equipment) friendly. With an inability to use lofts, the need for a handicapped friendly shower and bathroom. Turning radius issues of the chair and widened door/hall openings the housing I need probably won’t fit in the “tiny” range. Shoving a bed into a corner won’t work either as you cannot get the wheelchair between the bed and the corner to make the bed. I’m trying to determine the balance between space enough to move around effectively and comfortably without a lot of unneeded space. Does anyone have any leads on something like this. Those of us needing this type of housing often are trying to live on disability and cannot afford a “full sized” house.”
Alex and I both though this was a worthy topic to discuss here at Tiny House Talk. There is no reason that a small house or other alternative building can’t be modified or designed to fit the needs each individual customer. So I began some research.
What I found when I Googled the subject was very interesting. I came across a lot of people asking the question on a lot of tiny house blogs but limited answers being provided. Here are some of the things I did find.
On The Tiny House Blog back in 2011 a building company called BuildZing was featured. They were described as a company that built eco-friendly and affordable homes. They also indicated that their designs could be modified to be ADA compliant. The problem with BuildZing? Doing a search for the company today leads to only broken links. There is no working contact information and even the owner’s twitter account went silent back in 2009. BuildZing – if you’re out there let us know!
I also came across an interesting website and concept called Elder Cottages. These homes are intended to be affordable solutions for elder family care. The idea is really great and could be easily adapted for multiple uses. The concept isn’t necessarily intended to fit into the Tiny House movement; their smallest home is still nearly 600 square feet and costs over $32K to build. However, if you already have land or space in a family member’s lot this could be a reasonable solution.
Seattle Tiny Homes advertises an ADA Accessible design called The Magnolia. This design is the only I’ve seen that offers the typical tiny house on wheels solution with full ADA compliance while still being customizable to fit your specific needs or requests. I wonder how this might address some of the concerns from our original question.
Stephen Marshall from Little House on the Trailer designs and builds wheel chair accessible homes which he calls home care cottages in Petaluma, California. In fact, you can enjoy a video tour of one of his designs directly below.
Tiny or Alternative Houses are out there for individuals who need better accessibility. If you’re interested in something like this consider contacting the individual companies here but you can also search alternative or tiny handicapped accessible houses and find a few other options. Have you discovered other avenues? Are there companies out there with experience in ADA building regulations who wish to chime in? This is only the beginning of the discussion so I hope we are able to explore many potential solutions.