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The Wheel Pad: Tiny Home on Wheels that’s Wheelchair-Friendly!

This is the Wheel Pad — it’s a beautiful tiny home on wheels that’s wheelchair-friendly!

Hey Alex! This is Joshua & Natsuko from Chibi Moku! We have a very very special tiny house video/photo project that we are releasing today. This is a tiny house designed specifically for wheel chair users and people with disabilities. It is a very powerful video and shows how tiny homes can change the way people with disabilities live immediately after having an accident.

Enjoy the full tour below, watch the full video tour, read the backstory, and remember to let me know what you think in the comments. Thanks!

Related: Little Care Cottage by Eco-Cottages

A Wheelchair-Friendly Tiny Home on Wheels!

Wheel Pad L3C’s goal is to respectfully and supportively provide transitional housing for Veterans, and others, newly needing accessible living accommodations in a socially conscious and environmentally friendly way.3

This short combines the inspiration (internationally acclaimed videographer Riley Poor), the construction, and the completed Norwich Model prototype: a 200 sq.ft. accessible bedroom and bathroom that can make nearly any home immediately accessible. Permanent models also available.3


  1. Wheel Pad
  2. YouTube
  3. Vimeo
  4. Chibi Moku
  5. LineSync Architecture
  6. Carolyn Bates (additional photography)

Related: Hale Kilo Ia

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!

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{ 83 comments… add one }
  • Otessa Regina Compton January 16, 2017, 5:58 pm


    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 17, 2017, 11:23 am

      Yes 🙂 That’s the truth!

    • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 2:30 pm

      Dear Otessa Regina Compton, we agree with you 100%. It is all about inclusion.

    • Bonny M Folkestad August 7, 2018, 5:40 pm

      Yes and the elderly. HC is also a great model for the elderly. And with income restrictions and flat ground, just perfect! Bonny

  • two crows January 16, 2017, 6:25 pm

    Saving this. My goal is to build a 360 sq ft wheelchair/walker friendly foundation home in my back yard to move into prior to need and be already ensconced when/if I need a caregiver who would then, hopefully, live in my current 611 sq ft home.
    The back yard home would have a totally open plan with the only enclosed area being a wet-room.
    Even though I’ve been thinking/designing for a while, I hadn’t even thought about elevating the electrical outlets! Will definitely keep this for pointers from the pros who have actually lived in wheelchairs for a while.
    Thanks for this.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 17, 2017, 11:22 am

      Wow that’s a great plan you have!

    • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 2:29 pm

      Thank you, two crows. Please feel free to follow us on Facebook for more tips!

  • Vickie J Tompkins January 16, 2017, 6:42 pm

    This is such a great idea. Many of our soldiers really need something like this.

    • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 2:28 pm

      Thank you, Vickie. Your comment is EXACTLY what was in our thoughts as we conceived and produced Wheel Pad.

  • Joyce January 16, 2017, 7:20 pm

    It is a great idea for the handicapped who have access to another place for dining. I say add a few feet to include a small cooking area with at minimum a microwave on accessible shelf, food prep area with space for a hot plate or induction burner, and a slightly elevated dorm refrigerator for ease of access to all lower shelves.
    Dishes and cookware can be stored in easy to reach drawers. We have seen similar food prep areas in other small to tiny homes built for the handicapped through Tiny House websites.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 17, 2017, 11:21 am

      Those are some awesome ideas, Joyce.

    • Daisy January 26, 2017, 4:41 pm

      I think at least an elevated dorm fridge for water, etc. I drink lots of water and don’t think I would want to go to the main house every time I want another bottle of water. And a microwave would be awesome for popcorn and leftovers. I am guessing this is bare bones and whatever the individual needs could be added.

      • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 27, 2017, 7:36 am

        Yea those would be great!

      • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 2:23 pm

        Yes, Daisy, you are correct. We designed Wheel Pad to be as flexible as possible so that should people want a fridge or microwave, there is room for personal installation.

    • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 2:27 pm

      Dear Joyce, Thank you. Wheel Pad was designed as a way to keep families together by making the home accessible as quickly as possible for inclusion. It is not meant to be a stand alone home. Given this, it was designed for easy delivery: height, weight, length, width of Wheel Pad allow it to be pulled with a full size pickup, no need for commercial driver license, escorts, etc. Should one want a bigger model, this would add to the delivery cost considerably.

  • Michael January 16, 2017, 7:23 pm

    This kind of THOW has been missing so far and as far as I know there is some assistance available to finance it. Great idea and job.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 17, 2017, 11:21 am

      It’s truly awesome!

    • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 2:22 pm

      Michael, Yes, you are correct. Financing is available. Thank you.

  • ZACHARY E MOHRMANN January 16, 2017, 8:50 pm

    Bravo…! I was wondering when someone would get around to building a handicapped capable tiny house…!

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 17, 2017, 11:19 am

      It’s a great innovation!

    • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 2:21 pm

      Thank you, Zachary!

  • Randi January 16, 2017, 9:29 pm

    Zac took the words right out of my mouth! Bravo! This is wonderful! So many truly need this. Thank you for creating it!

  • BrownLuster January 16, 2017, 10:20 pm

    I am totally speechless…
    Because I Love this home so much!!

    This is exactly what I have wanted for a little while now. Though I’m not wheelchair bound, I certainly know from experience of taking care of my Ma (whom was wheelchair bound in her 90’s before she passed away), the difficulties of mobility when your home that you lived in most of your adult life was not BUILT to be wheelchair accessible. Doorways aren’t wide enough for a wheelchair to pass through, sinks + cabinets and countertops are too high to reach, external structure and landscaping of the home are not wheelchair ramp friendly, no grab bars in the bathroom or that beautiful cast iron footed bathtub that is a classic is now impossible to get in and out of. It truly is a real challenge.

    My goal now is to build a tiny or small home for myself that has accessibility designed into the space, just in the event that I may need a wheelchair one day…either temporarily or permanently.

    This home is absolutely beautiful as well as functional. Thanks for showcasing this accessible home. I really miss my Ma and this home reminded me of all things I wanted for my Ma for the few years she was wheelchair bound.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 17, 2017, 11:16 am

      Yay! I am so, so happy you love it 🙂

    • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 2:20 pm

      THANK YOU BrownLuster!

  • Betty Smith January 16, 2017, 11:07 pm

    We need this handicap one,for, my 46 year old brother in a wheelchair.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 17, 2017, 11:13 am

      It would be awesome!

    • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 2:20 pm

      Dear Betty, feel free to contact me to see if this is a good solution for your brother!

  • Lilly Jay January 16, 2017, 11:22 pm

    What a great idea !
    People with disabilities have a hard enough time getting around as is.
    Let alone in a tiny home.
    This tiny house is not only beautiful but the floor plan is open and everything works in harmony.
    Hats of to the guys at Chibi Moku this is a game changer 🙂

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 17, 2017, 11:13 am

      So glad you liked it 🙂

    • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 2:19 pm

      Thank you, Lilly Jay!!

  • jm January 17, 2017, 2:58 am

    I don’t know what this is. I don’t see a kitchen and there is no storage. If you look up ADA clearances, tiny homes don’t seem like such a good idea. Seems this is a mother-in-law house where you use it just for sleeping and use the kitchen in the main house. For the same–or less money–I would just add on to the existing house. Or use the money to buy a bigger house and remodel it.

    • Gail January 17, 2017, 10:27 am

      jm….take ten minutes and watch the video.

      • Kevin January 17, 2017, 10:36 am

        @Gail – The video assumes that an existing home can accommodate “attaching” this unit. And the photos shown are thus bad PR as they imply this unit is a stand alone “home”, which it is not.

        • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 2:18 pm

          The photos of our prototype were taken prior to attaching to a home. Current photos of attachment are now available on our Facebook page!

    • Kevin January 17, 2017, 10:30 am

      All good points.

      The idea to consider wheel chair access should be applauded on many levels. Especially since so many tiny homes have stairs that may also be a problem for the elderly and older knee joints. But being, seemingly, sans toilet does give the impression it is more like an office space than a living space.

      And just sticking a wheel chair in the photos does seem a bit pandering and disingenuous, to say the least.

      Unfortunately, like all things, once a topic like “tiny homes” gains traction, the push to include anything that may qualify becomes so tempting that otherwise conscientious sites start to pander to and push questionable listings. A little bit better vetting by tinyhousetalk.com may be something they should consider; for the good of the community.

      • Kevin January 17, 2017, 10:32 am

        Sans kitchen, not sans toilet…. Blind I am…. 🙂

      • jm January 17, 2017, 3:23 pm

        I did watch the video. hence, I can find no purpose for this. It would be far easier to get a permit to add-on instead of being able to park this. People eat. Are they to keep going to the house next door? Besides, no one will finance this house on wheels. And if they did they (would be the owners) would require insurance to protect their investment. Who would insure it without knowing anything about it? Would you give insurance to someone who wants to tow it across country–and you have no idea of road stability? Without inspections–who knows what the wiring looks like behind the walls? I doubt you CAN get insurance. They call it a “tiny-home on wheels.” But to have this parked near a regular house would be an eyesore. Who would want that instead of an addition? I’m all for new ideas but this has no practicality.

        • oxide January 18, 2017, 7:57 am

          There is some practicality. They are framing this as a TEMPORARY arrangement. You pull it up and attach it to the house only as long as you need it. For example, until the person can arrange more permanent housing. Then you can haul this house away. I assume there’s some kind of rental agreement.

          But you’re probably right that it would be cheaper to simply add on to the house.

        • jm January 18, 2017, 3:36 pm

          Temporary–sounds pretty morbid. Yeah, I wouldn’t want to modify MY house for mom or dad. Perfect solution. So–if this is as a rental I guess it comes down to cost.

          What does it cost per month to rent? (include all setup costs, insurance, etc. you know the game…) And you know you will still need permission.

          Then, price out a same size addition–which adds equity that you will recover when you sell your house. (You can demolish the ramp, swap doors–and return it pre-ADA (but with additional sqaure footage added to the house).

          One gives you no return (a loss), the other gives you 100% or more return. For a homeowner it doesn’t make sence.

          Think bad wintertime going back and forth from main house–maybe many times per night in case of illness to check on someone…

          As bad as an outhouse…

        • oxide January 18, 2017, 4:22 pm

          I’m pretty sure they didn’t mean “temporary” in the sense of “until they die.” It’s more like a temporary stopgap for “families in crisis” (their words). For example, if a family member becomes suddenly disabled in an accident. You can wheel this up an hook it on, until the family figures out what to do. So, it IS going to come down to cost. They obviously don’t seem to have a cost or a rent/month worked out yet. But if this costs more than, — just throwing out numbers here — $30K over 6? months, people will just opt to add on a granny flat that ANYone can use and/or make the house extremely marketable.

        • jm January 19, 2017, 8:16 am

          Seems like this cost would have to be covered by insurance. Maybe that is the only way for it to financially work–and how it will be marketed. But I still think it is a bad idea to isolate someone–especially when they would need support at that time. Normally I think costs are all over the place…but in this case it’s completely germaine and they don’t disclose any.

          As an aside, with the population aging I think ADA access remodeling might be a good niche market that’s up and coming.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 17, 2017, 11:11 am

      I do agree it looks like an addition more than a self-contained home, but it’s a step in a good direction 🙂

      • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 2:17 pm

        Dear All,
        Costs are on our home site: $60K for purchase, $3K monthly lease. Wheel Pad is not meant to be self contained, but to make an existing home accessible as soon as possible so a family can be reunited after a mobility issue. OXIDE has the concept correct. We are working with insurance companies to cover Wheel Pad as it would save money over nursing homes, or in cases where someone remains in rehab because there is not accessible housing available. Wheel Pad is connected to an existing home via a small hallway, thus one is in heated space throughout the winter. There are a number of Credit Unions who are on board to finance the purchase of Wheel Pad. It is insured as a unit and meets all ASHTO guidelines to be hauled by a full size pick up on any US road without need for a commercial driver license nor an escort. Please check out our Facebook page to see how Wheel Pad looks attached to a home. . .

  • GILLE January 17, 2017, 11:27 am

    I don’t know if there’s something like that in CANADA, but that’s definitely a very good idea, I’d love to get involved in it, but would need help to get going

  • Chibi Moku January 17, 2017, 1:37 pm

    Thanks Tiny House Talk for sharing our story. These guys are so passionate about what they are doing…we hope this story can impact lives directly. Thanks for telling the world!

    • Alex January 17, 2017, 2:41 pm

      Thank you guys so much for getting this out to us — we’re honored getting to share it! What a great way to use tiny homes!

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 19, 2017, 7:26 am

      Our pleasure 🙂

  • keepyourpower January 19, 2017, 11:18 pm

    And for some of us, that can still stand, even though precariously, the sinks need to be higher than usual. So, we do not have to bend over to wash our faces. Even in the kitchen, it is better to be able to stand erect..or try to…when washing dishes, using a chopping board etc.
    I like the open bath..wet room. I am not in a wheelchair, and hope it never gets that far. As long as I have been on these sites, I have only seen 2 THOWs that are for the disabled.

    The rest of the ones on this site…are not THOWs. Not that I can see.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 20, 2017, 9:44 am

      Yes there aren’t many THOWs designed for the disabled, I’m afraid. There are smaller homes/cottages though!

  • Valerie January 21, 2017, 11:33 am

    Now that is wonderful plan for elders.

  • Chivaswolf January 21, 2017, 12:12 pm

    I got my degree in Universal design and accessible building and design 15 years ago to help my Dad, and have been dismayed at the lack of coverage of accessibility in all kinds of housing. So…
    Congratulations and thank you. Keep it up – it matters.

  • ZACHARY E MOHRMANN January 21, 2017, 3:18 pm

    This is another one that has been on the site only like 5 days ago, and we are reviewing it again…? It’s a wonderful thing and I love it because I am disabled but to see it again already….!

  • Maria West January 21, 2017, 3:52 pm

    Cute, but not realistic for a wheelchair user. Let me explain, as I’m a wheelchair user.
    For starters, you show a manual wheelchair, these come in all sizes, plus mist also have electric Jazzy wheelchairs, add on leg extensions or portable oxygen tanks.
    Now in your bathroom, without help I could not reach shower sprayer unless I smack it down and possible get hit. Your toilet would need to be the height of bedside commode for easy transport and maybe add sprayer so we can wipe ourselves. A kitchen area is ideal for those who can cook themselves, even a microwave to heat up TV dinners if you can’t cook. Most of us already feel like a burden, and the need for independence out weighs a lot of things. Also take into account, if needed is there room for ems & stretcher in case of a medical emergency ?? Also room for service dog or hospital bed ? The concept is good, design good for college student or young couple, but not really wheelchair good. Ramp is nice but they do sell suitcase ramps… Good for someone living on families property and not seeking own independence, but most wanna feel whole and be treated like a crippled or a burden.

    • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 2:07 pm

      Dear Maria, Thank you for your comments. One current Wheel Pad resident is currently quadriplegic in a 400 pound electric chair with leg extensions. Her dog is with her often, and she uses a hospital bed. She is very pleased with Wheel Pad as it allowed her to come home to be with her husband and three sons rather than stay in rehab until their house could be modified. The shower sprayer is movable, one can have it at any height. The toilet is standard ADA to comply with Veterans Administration guidelines. Should anyone want a custom commode for height or spray, it can be substituted. Wheel Pad was designed as a way to keep families together by making the home accessible as quickly as possible for inclusion. It is not meant to be a stand alone home. Given this, it was designed for easy delivery: height, weight, length, width of Wheel Pad allow it to be pulled with a full size pickup, no need for commercial driver license, escorts, etc. Should one want a bigger model, this would add to the cost considerably.

  • Susanne January 21, 2017, 4:09 pm

    Wow it is great to hear from someone who uses a wheelchair… In such detail. Clearly it has shown that building for wheelchair users requires a team of people who designs, but communicates with wheelchair users having all types of needs. Clearly there isn’t a simple solution.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 23, 2017, 8:04 am

      Yes it’s always important for builders to really know and discuss these things with folks who really use wheelchairs.

    • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 1:59 pm

      Thank you, Susanne. Wheel Pad was designed with input from many people using wheel chairs, and vetted by many caregivers. This is our first model for temporary inclusivity.

  • katiei January 21, 2017, 10:44 pm

    What’s the rail on the ceiling that runs the whole length? Some kind of movable lift mechanism? Needs more grab bars and a vertical floor to ceiling pole toward the head of the bed to assist with transfers and a support handle on the far side of the toilet to facilitate quarter turns. But all that could be added later.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 23, 2017, 7:26 am

      Hmm I’m not sure Katiei!

  • ROSEE January 23, 2017, 11:55 am

    Impressive! I hope there is a transportation access for a wheelchair as well. Nice work all around!

    • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 1:57 pm

      Dear Rosee, when we place each Wheel Pad, we make sure there is transportation access. Thank you!

  • Jane on Whidbey January 26, 2017, 10:29 pm

    So many comments by those who have never been in a wheelchair. lol I have been, three separate times. This is a good idea, because it’s flexible. This is a good arrangement for someone who has someone coming in to help, but it’s easily rearranged for someone to live on their own a little more later. This one layout can be used for some situations, not all. Try living in a chair for a while, or dealing with someone who is. Transition is the goal, not necessarily the reality.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 27, 2017, 7:21 am

      Thanks for that input Jane! Very good to have real-life examples.

    • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 1:56 pm

      Thank you, Jane! YES, you completely understand Wheel Pad; both the concept and the reality.

  • Jane on Whidbey January 26, 2017, 10:57 pm

    The bar across the ceiling is for a Hoyer lift, for easier transfers. The shower height is adjustable. All the outlets in my THOW are 24″ from the floor, for obvious reasons.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie January 27, 2017, 7:19 am

      Thanks Jane!

  • Betty May 29, 2017, 11:37 pm

    As a nurse who has taken care of wheelchair bound patients, I think this would work well for some of them. Other modifications can be added to assist them also. Good job!

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee May 30, 2017, 1:06 pm

      I’m glad to hear you think it would work well for those in wheelchairs!

    • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 1:55 pm

      THANK YOU Betty! Thank you!

  • Michele in CA May 30, 2017, 3:45 pm

    With no kitchen facilities, this is not home, but an extra bed and bath. There’s no way for someone in a wheelchair to get around the bed to make it, or to operate window coverings on the side of the bed. This is meant for someone who is assisted by a care giver. Would be nice to see a wheel chair accessible tiny home for someone who can take care of themselves.

    • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 1:54 pm

      Thank you, Michele. The photos show a bed, but it does not come with Wheel Pad as each person has their specific bed needs. Wheel Pad does not come with window coverings, so that each owner/renter can use to suit. We had numerous self care people using wheel chairs use Wheel Pad prior to its current placement, and all were pleased with the experience.

  • Varina Wooster June 21, 2017, 1:02 am

    So wonderful! It could benefit from at least a fridge and micro. But what a concept, and what beautiful execution. It almost gives me goosebumps thinking of what this would mean to a soldier coming home, or a family member recovering from devastating injury or illness.

    • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 1:49 pm

      Thank you, Varina. People can easily add a fridge and microwave!

  • Julie Lineberger August 13, 2017, 1:52 pm

    Dear All, THANK YOU for your comments and suggestions. The FIRST WHEEL PAD was installed last month. The resident is THRILLED to be able to move home from rehab. Currently quadriplegic from a Boogie Boarding accident in April 2017, she uses and electric wheel chair and has a hospital bed installed. It has been easy for caregivers to assist her, and given her access to her own home and family while they take time to assess their situation and do long term planning.

  • Bob August 8, 2018, 2:54 am

    Only one issue has come up in my mind and that is the height of the stool in the bath area. For the disabled, it needs to be higher as well as being fully ADA compliant which means grab bars on BOTH sides of the stool. Otherwise, there is no easy way off of it without falling.

  • steve coulton August 17, 2018, 7:53 pm

    living in a small house, with a place to put it, is smart thinking. my home that I built 30 years ago, of concrete Block is 550 sq. feet. 1st floor stays 63 to 78 on the hottest summer days I built a lot of materials were collected over time kept in usable condition, and of course there in lies the trick of using re used materials and fixtures. I own it it is paid for. icing I put it on 160 acres. solar small time stay within your limitations, and enjoy.

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