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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 house that’s wheelchair-friendly!

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.

To explore more amazing tiny homes like this wheelchair-friendly THOW, join our Tiny House Newsletter. It’s free and you’ll be glad you did! We even give you free downloadable tiny house plans just for joining!

A Wheelchair-Friendly Tiny House on Wheels!

Wheelchair-Friendly Tiny House

Wheelchair-Friendly Tiny House Wheelchair-Friendly Tiny House Wheelchair-Friendly Tiny House Wheelchair-Friendly Tiny House Wheelchair-Friendly Tiny House Wheelchair-Friendly Tiny House

Video Tour: The Wheel Pad THOW by L3C – A Wheelchair-friendly Tiny House on Wheels That’s Easy to Tow Too

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

Resources

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

Related: Marc’s Custom Wheelchair-Friendly THOW

Also: Little Care Cottage by Eco-Cottages

And: ADA-Accessible Wheelchair-Friendly Tiny Homes for the Disabled

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More Like This: Tiny Houses | ADA Tiny Homes | THOW | Wheelchair-friendly Tiny Homes

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{ 85 comments… add one }
  • Avatar Otessa Regina Compton

    I HOPE THEY BUILD MORE HOMES LIKE THIS FOR SINGLES AND COUPLES AS WELL. WE NEED TO INCLUDE ALL CITIZENS, THANKS TO ALL THE INDUSTRIES INVOLVED WHO TAKE NOTICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie

      Yes 🙂 That’s the truth!

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

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

  • Avatar two crows

    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.

  • Avatar Vickie J Tompkins

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

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

  • 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

      Those are some awesome ideas, Joyce.

    • Avatar Daisy

      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

        Yea those would be great!

      • 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.

    • 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.

  • Avatar Michael

    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.

  • Avatar ZACHARY E MOHRMANN

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

  • Avatar Randi

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

  • Avatar BrownLuster

    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.
    I LOVE THIS HOME! ?

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

  • 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 🙂

  • Avatar jm

    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.

    • Avatar Gail

      jm….take ten minutes and watch the video.

      • Avatar Kevin

        @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.

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

    • Avatar Kevin

      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.

      • Avatar Kevin

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

      • Avatar jm

        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.

        • Avatar oxide

          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.

        • Avatar jm

          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…

        • Avatar oxide

          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.

        • Avatar jm

          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

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

      • 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. . .

  • 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

  • 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!

    • Avatar Alex

      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

      Our pleasure 🙂

  • Avatar keepyourpower

    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

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

  • Avatar Valerie

    Now that is wonderful plan for elders.

  • Avatar Chivaswolf

    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.

  • Avatar ZACHARY E MOHRMANN

    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….!

  • Avatar Maria West

    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.

    • 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.

  • Avatar Susanne

    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

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

    • 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.

  • 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

      Hmm I’m not sure Katiei!

  • Avatar ROSEE

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

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

  • Avatar Jane on Whidbey

    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

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

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

  • Avatar Jane on Whidbey

    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.

  • Avatar Betty

    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!

  • Avatar Michele in CA

    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.

    • 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.

  • Avatar Varina Wooster

    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.

  • 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.

  • Avatar Bob

    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.

  • Avatar steve coulton

    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.

  • Avatar Karen Blackburn

    As a sometimes wheelchair user, sometimes walking frame user, this wouldn’t work for me at all, but not for the reasons given above. Even at my worst, given I am not para/quadraplegic I can get myself into a wheelchair, and the bathroom would be usable for me. However, what about the long nights when pain keeps you awake until you finally pass out from exhaustion? When you need to make yourself a cup of tea and a snack just to take your mind off things or to take your 5am meds. There is not even a hint of a kitchenette where hot drinks or snacks can be prepared (and adding a microwave definitely wouldn’t count) at 5am – scrambled eggs or a fried egg sandwich or bacon birth is the perfect companion to early morning medication – or a milky hot chocolate when that nagging pain just won’t let you sleep. Even as an add on it isn’t always practical to get into the main house and use the kitchen, especially if it hasn’t been adapted for wheelchair or disabled use. I like the concept but it certainly isn’t suitable for a lot of people who either don’t have 24 hour carers or want a little bit of independence even though in a wheelchair. I would hate having to wake family up every morning for my breakfast, especially if they had to get up later to get kids to school or a partner to work, I would feel even worse if I had to wake someone up at 2am to make a hot milky drink because I still can’t sleep though they are in a deep sleep in a part of the house I can no longer access (which is why I needed this add on in the first place). Has great potential and obviously suits your customer requirements as mentioned, but there are also so many it wouldn’t suit but which would be interested if there were just a couple of thoughtful extras. There is so much more to being disabled, and it can take many months or years to adapt a current house or find a new one. Believe me, we’ve been looking for years and am currently waiting for someone to die so their house becomes available for me to move into, not a nice thought and I really don’t want someone to die before their time.

  • What would something like this cost?. And, do they deliver anywhere in the United States? I’m interested in knowing because I have a Nephew who has M.S. and needs a lot of help getting around. Please let me know. Thanks. Grace Slack

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