The long, low design has echoes of the old bungalow and piggery that once occupied the footprint — cedar cladding, grey render and metal deck roofing have been used externally

The principle motivation behind the design of this striking contemporary home was ensuring the owners’ eldest son – who has cerebral palsy and relies on a wheelchair to get about much of the time – can be as independent as possible.

The new house, which replaced an old bungalow that previously stood on the 3.24 acre plot in Yorkshire, was designed by architect Martin Bell of Transform Architects.

The single-storey design was constructed using a timber frame, with a large steel frame forming the large vaulted main living space.

Project Notes

  • Project: Accessible self build
  • Location: Yorkshire
  • Build time: Apr 2014-Jul 2015
  • Size: 398m²
  • Plot cost: £550,000
  • Build cost: £700,000

An open plan layout and level thresholds throughout, ensure the entire space is wheelchair-friendly. In addition, all the doorways, most of which are fitted with automated doors, are wide enough for a wheelchair and the corridors are a minimum of 1,850mm wide.

Whilst the owners were not trying to hide the fact that this is an accessible home, they were keen that the adaptations should be discreet. With this in mind, the ceiling tracks for hoists have been fully recessed into the ceiling, and yet it is the less obvious design choices which mean family life can be fully enjoyed by all.

Expanses of full-height glazing means that the views can be appreciated whether standing, or sitting in a wheelchair and high insulation levels and underfloor heating keep the house at an even temperature.

It was imperative to the family that their son should feel included in everyday life at all times, and the open plan layout reflects this. The main living spaces and kitchen have been located at one end of the house, while the bedrooms lie at the other, with an adapted en suite, playroom and carer’s accommodation also included.

Contemporary barn style accessible home

The house has a distinctly agricultural feel. Large glazed openings and sliding doors lead out to a level terrace

Contemporary home with grey render

The full height glazing means the views can be seen whether you are standing up or in a wheelchair

Open plan living, dining and kitchen with vaulted ceiling

Full height glazing and vaulted ceilings mean the house is full of natural light

Open plan living space with mezzanine

Level thresholds and engineered oak flooring have been used throughout the house — a space-saving staircase leads to an office area in the mezzanine

Double height glazing in contemporary dining room

The expanses of glazing add a wow factor to the double-height spaces

Contemporary entrance hall with picture windows

The house is accessed over a level threshold, whilst the internal sliding doors also mean easy wheelchair access

Bathroom adapted for disability

In the bathroom, tracks have been recessed into the bathroom ceiling for hoists whilst a ‘high/low’ bath, sensor taps and non-slip tiles make the space fully accessible

Bedroom with fitted wardrobes

The luxury master bedroom provides a calming space

Child's bedroom with graffiti on wall

The children’s bedroom feature playful decorations, such as the graffiti wall art

Contemporary cloakroom

Although the design was led by practicality, the finished house is full of stylish touches

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