Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Home Improvements – #1

As I mentioned in my previous posts, here and here, we recently moved into a new home which has great potential for becoming wheelchair accessible. But it has a few opportunities for improvement (language eerily similar to that used by my bosses in every annual performance appraisal I ever received).

My friend Preston twice made the long drive to our house to practice his amateur carpentry skills. I would hold his finished product quality up against any professional’s. More importantly, his generosity and compassion far exceed the usual and customary friendship requirements. Thanks Preston.

First, I needed a ramp and platform system that would allow me to access the entry door from the driveway or from my minivan. Below are some photos of what Preston built for me on the same day that we closed on the house. Kim installed the stone paver landing at the bottom of the ramp. Her level of commitment goes way above and beyond the usual and customary expectations of a spouse/caregiver as well.


The house has a small porch looking out over our modest ocean view. The only problems were the 8 inch step-up from the ground to the porch, and the 7 inch step-up from the porch to the back door. The obvious solution was to build two ramps, but then Kim came up with a better idea. If we built a 7 inch tall pressure-treated lumber deck on top of the concrete floor of the porch, we would only need one ramp from the porch to the ground. So that's what Preston did for us on another weekend.

Here are some photos showing the construction of the raised floor.

2011 09 400

2011 09 402

2011 09 410

Upon further consideration, we decided to make do with the portable ramp from the deck to the ground for now. Kim is going to install a stone patio next spring where the ramp will land. We’ll wait to build a permanent wooden ramp until after the patio is in place.

Kim and I recently christened our new, accessible, porch.


I’ll share some other home improvement projects with you as they are completed.


  1. Well, it's not bucolic, but sure is lovely. I like the simple ramp to the van set-up and especially the new deck. Kim is a woman of many talents, and it's nice to have such great friends. You are a lucky man, Mitch. Do you get a lot of snow in the Winter?

    Do you use Dragon Naturally Speaking (?) software? Does it work on a Linux OS? (It seems easier to ask a blogger than to Google it - sorry.)

  2. Webster,

    Thanks for stopping by. Here, along the coast of southern Maine, we get the least snow of anywhere in the state. Having said that, some winters we can really get a ton of snow, and other winters are a mixture snowstorms and rainstorms, with very little snow sticking around all winter. I used to covet the former, for snowmobiling etc., but now I cross my fingers for the latter, so I can get around better in my wheelchair.

    I do use Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I would be lost without it. I'm using it right now, in fact. I'm not familiar with Linux, so I can't help you there.



  4. Very cool construction!

  5. Thanks for sharing this Home Improvements article.The pictures are good to see.