When Walter and Pamela Anderson were looking to move, top of their wishlist was finding a house that could accommodate their daughter, who has a rare condition that limits her mobility.

After a lot of searching, they eventually found a run-down bungalow in need of modernisation, which would lend itself to becoming an accessible home.

“Although it was derelict, with a horrendous damp report, it ticked all our boxes,” explains Walter. “A lot of the places we looked at would have had to be excavated to make them flat, but with this house we wouldn’t have to do any landscaping.”

Project Notes

  • Homeowners: Walter and Pamela Anderson
  • Project: Bungalow extension and remodel
  • Location: Edinburgh
  • Build time: Jan – Jul 2017
  • House cost: £225,000
  • Build cost: £138,415
  • Value: £350,000

Extending Out

At the point of buying the bungalow the couple sought advice from architects Chambers McMillan, who are specialists in designing accessible homes.

A design emerged that would transform the small, dark bungalow into an open, flowing and light-filled family home with a new connection to the garden.

“In terms of the design, we changed the entrance sequence of the house, moving the front door to bypass the bedrooms that we relocated to the front of the home,” explains project architect Ian McMillan.


The front elevation has been given a facelift. The covered roof overhang defines the main entrance door. The bold orange also draws the eye to the entrance and contrasts the new grey-painted timber cladding 

The long rear garden allowed space to extend, and subsequently a new extension – replacing an old 1970s structure – has been wrapped around the original L-shaped house.

The whole of the rear wall was removed (with the exception of the boundary wall) to allow space for the new extension. An extra bedroom has been created in the new section of the home, in addition to the open plan living kitchen and dining area, all one level and with plenty of circulation space.


The rear elevation also features grey painted cladding — creating a sense of cohesion between front and back. The existing rear wall was removed in order to add the extension and create a large open kitchen diner

Designing an Accessible Home

“Internally we designed good visual connections between many of the spaces, which is very important for a child with mobility support needs. Not having too many doors makes it as barrier-free as possible, and all the external doors are flush out onto the deck, with a ramp around the house,” says architect Ian.

“We used a steel frame to minimise structural elements and keep the space as open as possible.”

“We’ve had a lot of people visit, from physiotherapists to building control, and the general consensus is that they’ve never seen an adapted house as well done as this one,” says homeowner Walter. “The reason it works so well is that it doesn’t strike you as an accessible house, it’s just a house that’s beautifully designed.”


The spacious open plan living space was designed to accommodate a wheelchair


The bungalow’s interiors are now filled with light thanks to the new extension which features sliding doors and high-level glazing


The couple daughter’s mobility is catered for in her new bedroom. Ramps lead up to the front door, with the wide corridors allowing easy access into her room. A sliding door leads into the Jack and Jill en suite

Creating a More Thermally Efficient Home

Fabric upgrades were also carried out to the existing bungalow to improve its thermal efficiency:

  • All the existing external walls were insulated with 100mm rigid insulation on the inner face then lined with plasterboard
  • The existing floor was also insulated
  • 300mm of insulation was added in the loft
  • The existing windows were upgraded to triple-glazed units
  • Finally, the internal walls were acoustically upgraded using Gyproc SoundBloc (a plasterboard with a high density core) from British Gypsum

The result is a much a warm home, with a much more comfortable living environment.


Located within the open plan living space, the kitchen is cleverly zoned by a dwarf wall that finishes just above the worktops. The kitchen is from DIY Kitchens

Our Sponsors