I applied for and was awarded a $3000 grant to widen both my bedroom and bathroom doors, and improve my kitchen drawers. The paperwork just applying for the grant seemed invasive, and when it came time to sign on the dotted line, it felt as if I was signing my life away. The construction took approximately two days, with minimum disruption to my mental state of mind.
However, for those short periods of discomforts, I am very pleased with the functionality of the
remodel, but not really the aesthetic look of the finished work.
Before the renovation, my bedroom doorway was tucked into the corner of the room, where upon I had to immediately veer to the left to avoid running into the closet wall. Of course, I had my laundry hamper right beside the door, narrowing the path even further. I can not begin to tell you how many times I have ran into the closet wall and had to readjust my approach. A lot of times I got through just out of the memory of having done it a thousand times before. I get around my apartment in my manual wheelchair, and because it is easier to go backwards rather then forwards, I am sure you can see that sometimes I can get myself into a jam if I am not paying attention to where I am going. My bedroom door now has moved over about a foot and is a good two to three inches wider. The bathroom door is now directly across my room making it much easier to navigate between the two rooms.
Now that my permanent structure has changed, my turning radius is getting some time to become natural. I am finding myself backing up into a wall that did not exist before and wondering why I am not moving. After I made a mental note not to start turning before I can see the whole entrance of the bathroom, I have stopped hitting the wall as much.
Maneuvering up and over the metal strip which separates the carpet in the hallway from the linoleum in the bathroom was hard. Most of the time I grabbed the door frame to pull myself into the space. Now I have a grab bar just inside the door frame so that I can get into the bathroom much easier and faster. Except once in a while my front tires get cockeyed upon the strip, resist going over the small hump, and I nearly pull myself out of my wheelchair on the way to my throne. The coolest feature of the remodel is that the contractor built a cubbyhole in the bathroom wall for the door handle to slide into so that the door stands flush against the wall, therefore giving me more space to move in an already small space.
It is funny how two different viewpoints can see a situation. When the county inspector came to see what modifications I was wanting. He said that at the most I would only gain is a few inches to the doorways. Well, to me those few extra inches make the world of difference! My personal assistants are no longer ramming me into the door jam when they are pushing the wheelchair. My wheelchair had hit the spine of the door so often that it’s hinges were dangerously loose! We all took bets on when the door would come crashing down on us. After enduring a two hour plus Lift rides, I have been known to head directly to the bathroom upon arriving home. Before the doorway was widened there was no room for error in getting the power chair through the doorway. Quite often there would be the squeak of the wheels rubbing against the jam. Now the power chair glides right through the doorway without coming close to either side of the door jam. I am an ecstatic camper! Yes, such things as wide entrances thrill me to no end!
The kitchen drawers were off their tracks and threatened to plummet to the floor. I asked to have handles put on the drawers, so that I can open them more easily, rather then gropping at edges of the drawers trying to get a firm enough hold to open them. However, I secretly hoped that the contractor could figure a way to keep the drawers on the tracks, so that they will not fall out on me. I am happy to report the drawers now open without dropping down, and glide relatively easily out and in. The down side of things is that I am well aware that the fix on the drawers is at best temporary. There is just so much one can do to repair cabinetry make out of particle board. I will just live in bliss while the drawers hold up!
I mentioned earlier that I did not care much for the aesthetic look of the finished project. The woodwork looks great! I have no beefs about that! However, most of the projects look unfinished. I do not care who you are, people expect renovated projects to blend in well with the existing environment. There is a foot length of poorly patched carpet that I am afraid is going to work it’s way loose, and I imagine myself tripping over it one day. There is a crack in the wall from when the old door frame was ripped out. The grab bar now stands over it, but you can still see the crack. Each of the drawers has two drilled out holes where gliders were installed which is an eye sore now. If I were the contractor, would have taken more pride in the finished look of the projects. Nonetheless, my quality of life has improved, therefore making the grant a success, in my humble opinion! I no longer have to weave my way to the bathroom when I am still sleepy in the mornings, and in my way of thinking, that is saying volumes!