My husband and I recently bought a lovely old house on one acre.

We are planning on building an accessible cottage on the property, and in the blink of an eye I have become my own client.

And it’s very exciting!

We are looking forward to building a brand new home as in the past we’ve renovated existing houses which means always working with certain restrictions. We can now customize our new pad to our own tastes and try out some unique ideas.

I will be documenting the journey in this blog in order for you to share with us our experiences, trials and tribulations, failures and successes, and tears and joy of the build.

That may sound a bit dramatic, but I am expecting this build to be a physically and emotionally all-encompassing journey. After all, it will require us to work closely together for the next several months making decisions that will make both of us happy in terms of esthetics and functionality, while satisfying the building codes and staying within budget.

The previous homes that we have renovated have been a great way to test the waters of how well we work together. Luckily, it’s been a success and we have been happy with the results, so we are ready for this greater challenge. However, it’s been several years since our last home reno and we are both older and our backs are worse. Which means that we may be hiring more trades people to complete the more physically taxing jobs for (or with) us.

What are we doing and why?

As a firm believer in accessible design, I am putting my money where my mouth is and creating a cottage for our future. I want to demonstrate that you can build a budget-friendly accessible home that doesn’t look any different from a home that won’t support you later in life.

We live in the Greater Victoria (British Columbia, Canada) area which is experiencing a housing situation that is becoming a problem. The cost of houses has sky-rocketed and the inventory is extremely low. This is severely limiting people to what they can buy. This makes me think that the logical second choice for people looking to move is to either build a small cottage on their existing property (if by-laws allow) or renovate their existing home. Especially, if you particularly love your neighborhood and have established yourself there.

The area that we live in allows cottages to be built on parcels of at least one acre. The maximum size is 990 square feet though, so it will be a challenge to fit everything in to that small space.

Our cottage will be a single story with vaulted ceilings in the living room and adjoined open plan kitchen, and will of course be level entry with wider doorways and hallway. It will have all the bells and whistles like a dishwasher, bathtub and washer/dryer. After all, it needs to be our future home and contain everything we will need for a safe and comfortable life.

It’s an exciting personal building experiment that I am looking forward to sharing with you.

Action Plan

Remember that it’s never too early to start thinking about and incorporating accessible design. So, come along with us on our new journey and let the games begin……

Read the next posting on this topic about getting plans drawn up.