1960s home is remodeled for accessibility

Learn what you need to know before starting your construction project.

Second chance for Kailua homeowner

Many homes in Hawaii are more than 60-years old and were not built to handle an aging population dependent on wheelchairs, walkers and oxygen tanks. A serious illness forced the self-reliant homeowner of this residence into a wheelchair a few years ago and the 1960-built family home would not allow wheelchair or walker access. Understandably, this situation was terrifying but more disheartening for the homeowner was the loss of independence.

The homeowner was forced to accept help from family, adding frustration and embarrassment to the situation. Thankfully the paralysis went away after a few months. The homeowner vowed to make the home barrier-free during the recovery period. 

An independent design team was initially hired but the plans developed were far beyond the homeowner’s budget. Although disheartened, the homeowner pushed forward with continued determination to make the house barrier-free.

A call to Graham Builders was made after seeing the successful results a friend had with the company. The fact that the local design+build firm was the first in Hawaii to have a certified National Association of Home Builders Aging-in-Place specialist on staff, and had grown the number of certified consultants to three, gave reassurance that the company was well schooled in accessible design. Building and modifying residences that safely allow independent living for older homeowners can be tricky unless one works with experienced, trained design specialists. With nearly three decades of experience in assisting homeowners to develop house plans for mobility and safety, this homeowner felt confident that Graham Builders was the right fit for the task.

The most necessary modifications were to widen doorways and halls, create a wheelchair-friendly bathroom and accessible laundry room. Also needing attention was a poorly constructed enclosed patio with foundation and water issues. The homeowner also had a desire for a larger kitchen and dining area.

Through careful collaboration and considerable value engineering exercises, the dwelling was transformed within the homeowner’s budget. The home is now a stunning, barrier-free residence that will enable the homeowner to live in place. Hallways, doorways and rooms are on one level and provides entrance from one space to the next. Additional space was added to enlarge the kitchen-dining area. The leaky, lumpy patio was transformed into a tranquil space for reading and entertaining. The homeowner is thrilled with the renovation and the results of the remodel-addition.

With nearly three decades of designing and building homes for local families, Graham Builders recognizes the importance of designing homes that make elder care simple and safe. Call us today and find out how Graham Builders can help you prepare your home for the future.

Photos by Hawkins Biggins Photography.

Project Details

DATE October 10, 2019


PROJECT TYPE Residential remodel-addition

CONTRACTOR Graham Builders, Inc.

Project Gallery