I’m getting rather frustrated with the lack of real storage in my home.
I live in a wonderful bungalow specially adapted for “semi-disabled” people.
What that actually means is that it’s not really suitable for people who are in a wheelchair permanently, but it’s also not ideally suited to people who are disabled but still relatively mobile.
The council apparently didn’t consult with actual disabled people, so you get a lot of half and half. The counters in the kitchen, for instance, are left open under the stove and sink with wheelchairs in mind — but they’re too low to actually fit a powered wheelchair and your legs under them so you’re left hovering in an in-between mode, leaning forwards out of your chair to reach anything and causing or exacerbating back pain or risking a fall.
Despite the fairly generous size of most of the rooms and a massive hallway, I still have problems getting around. I have a bariatric wheelchair, so it’s maybe half as wide and long again as a regular one. It also has a stupidly wide turning circle so the two-metre-wide hall is still a tight fit if I need to turn around there (which is, sadly, the only place to really turn around given that other rooms tend to have furniture in them).
Even the wider doors, at almost a metre, are a bit of a squeeze and awkwardly placed.
One of my carers said just yesterday that even she’d have issues arranging her furniture because of the layout of the rooms, so it turns out it’s not just a disability thing. The main problem I have is that I’m currently bed-ridden but need access to a lot of things I can’t put anywhere else, such as my planner, KitKat’s snacks, and so on. My wheelchair is currently serving as a shelf (because I’ve been too poorly to use it for its intended purpose), and half of my four-foot bed is taken up by all the stuff I use on a daily basis because I have nowhere else to put it.
I’ve been working in SketchUp to redesign my bedroom in an effort to maximise the space available to me, with an eye to eventually buying a few bookcases and then going on to redesign the lounge and spare room. It’s something of a pipe dream at the moment, not least because my dad — who I usually rely on for the building and moving of said furniture — is suffering more and more with his arthritis and sciatica.
I’ve made several models of this redesign, trying to squeeze in as many shelves as possible without tapping the walls (because experience tells us the builders probably used paper and cardboard instead of brick, so anything we plug in is just going to pull right out again).
Unfortunately, no matter what I try, I can’t make it work, and definitely not in the way I’d hoped. I have to work around several vital pieces of equipment, including my bed and the track for the ceiling hoist. I’d also love to have a window seat. (I actually had a dream about sitting there, reading and admiring the view, which is a huge deal to me because I haven’t wanted to get out of bed for any reason in almost a year due to both physical and mental exhaustion.)
I can move the bed sideways, but I can’t move it forward or back. I thought there was enough space behind it for a row of Ikea’s Billy bookcases or the equivalent in depth, but there isn’t. And likewise, allowing proper clearance around the bed means there’s very little room for actual shelving, and certainly not if I go ahead with the window bench.
I’ve been working on this redesign on and off since January and I’m no closer to a layout that will maximise potential storage and show off my various collections (Me To You ftw!) while still allowing plenty of clearance for carers and put the things I need at my fingertips without also putting them in my lap.
I fear we’re going to have to tap the walls, after all. Or I’m going to have to spend the rest of my life saving up (hah!) to buy bespoke furniture or something. (Like that’ll ever happen in my lifetime.)