A Simple Approach to Living With Less

Building a Handicap Accessible Tiny House


UPDATE: Read the new post on the tiny house and see the pictures

I am excited to report that a custom built tiny house will soon be on our joint family property!

I have loved the concept of tiny house living for a long time now. From the first video I saw of Jay’s Tumbleweed home, to watching Tammy & Logan’s own tiny house adventure, I have been in love with tiny houses.

I was sure that I must love them from afar and be satisfied with simply creating a Pinterest board on tiny houses. As the parents of three small children, I didn’t think tiny home living would be a part of our lives for many years to come.

I won’t get to live in it myself, but there will be a brand new, handicap accessible tiny house for my grandmother on our property in about a month. I think it’s still pretty neat to have a tiny home here and I can live vicariously through her experience. Maybe she’ll even let me borrow it once in awhile.

The Plan

In order to give my grandmother some quiet space of her own, we considered a few options. There is a nice retirement community close by, but she didn’t want to be that far from family. We considered building a small cottage on the property, but the high expense and hassle factor of all the permitting required inspired me to look at other options.

Thanks to minimalism, I knew about the growing trend of building tiny houses on trailers. Having them built on trailers avoids the permitting needed for permanent structures and the much smaller footprint drastically cut down the building costs. The builder I found for our tiny house will have it built and delivered for less than HALF the price of all the other tiny homes I found.

Making a Tiny House Handicap Accessible

Since this tiny house is for my grandmother, we ran into a couple issues that needed some consideration. Most tiny house plans use sleeping lofts and small bathrooms. Although we don’t currently need the tiny house to accommodate a wheel chair, there’s always a chance that would be a need in the future. Plus, having my grandmother climb a ladder to get to her bed every night just didn’t seem like a good plan.

What we’ve come up with is a studio style tiny home with a floor plan that is convenient now and incorporates several handicap-friendly features:

  • We kept a loft for storage but moved the sleeping area to the main level.
  • The front door and bathroom door are both three feet wide to accommodate a wheelchair.
  • The L-shaped kitchen is in a wide open area to allow easy access.
  • The 4 x 3 shower stall allows plenty of room if help is ever needed.
  • The extra large bathroom area includes space for a closet and laundry appliances which keeps the rest of the home more open.

The picture above is a rough layout of the floor plan. It’s built on an 8′ x 24′ trailer. I’m hoping to have more pictures to share during the build process. I will of course share pictures once it has arrived. The builder is working on a new website and once it’s live I’ll be sure to include it.

Tiny house living isn’t a regular topic here, but if you’re interested on hearing more about it or if you have other questions, please let me know.

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Article originally published on 02/27/2012

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  1. I love this!!! Looking forward to future posts.

  2. Honestly never thought of using a tiny home as a get away for a grandparent. Or is this a permanent living space for her? My grandmother was too much of a social butterfly to be on her own in a small living arrangement. She lived to an age of 97. But spent everyday playing cards and drinking tea with her friends. I’ve always thought of a tiny home as weekend getaway or the living space of a young couple without kids. It will be interesting to see it when you post pictures.

    I’d love to build one and try living in it. So much of my house is wasted space. But can’t see it working for me with a 10 year old boy.

    • Faith Janes says

      This will be her permanent living space. She does enjoy visiting her friends and spending time doing church related functions, but decided she’d rather have her own tiny home next to the rest of the family. I’ll keep you posted with pictures.

    • Cynthia Anne Womack says

      One great thing about the more mobile tiny houses is they can travel to visit friends and relatives,go on vacations or serve as a ‘base of operations’ if there’s ever a need for a stay in a hospital,rehab facility,etc. An outpatient and/or support people can hang out in the person’s own tiny home just before,during and right after procedures or convalescence and return home after they are turned loose by the doctors as opposed to having to remain on a ward or check into a hotel. If someone ever does have to move into a care facility (or dorm!),this pocket palace could be parked on the premises to house visiting friends or family or (if permitted) serve as a storage/home office/independent living unit. They could even follow the example of some RV’s and set up in camps with in- house medical,retail and cultural amenities within their retreats. Such homes may be limited in size but infinite in possibilities.

  3. Never heard of this tiny house trend before! It is intriguing. Can’t imagine myself living in one until I’m an emptynester. It’s a great idea.

  4. How is it coming with the little house? If I didn’t have kids, I’d love one for myself!

  5. I’m very interested in hearing how this goes. In our family it’s the opposite–we are looking for retirement location with several of my husband’s sibs, where we can have space the young adults can use to potentially have tiny homes. We’re hoping to have chickens, garden and so on, for a fairly self sustaining lifestyle.

  6. Hi Faith –

    I want to live in a tiny home my husband won’t budge from our 1300 sq foot house. So I definitely live vicariously through websites like rowdykittens.com too. Can’t wait to check our your builder’s website !

  7. Love the idea of a wheelchair accessible tiny home. Am a happy spinster free-wheeling through life and would love to keep up with this particular thread as the home progresses.

  8. Dear Faith, I found your blog through an article on today.com. I can’t wait to start reading more about your minimalist lifestyle! My husband and I have been considering building a small cottage for my disabled mother-in-law but the idea of a tiny house on a trailer seems even better and cheaper! I would love to hear more about it and see pictures. Please keep us updated!!

    • Shelle DeBusk says

      I’d love an update with pics and a link to the web page of your builder. I’m planning a handicap-accessible tiny house for me and my husband in the near future and would love to see how others have accomplished theirs.

  9. I enjoyed this article and was wondering about the name and the website of the builder for the tiny house, please. Thanks.

  10. Matt Schmitz says

    Hello I came across your blog in searching for a handicap accessible tiny house. I was wondering if you have photos of the inside and outside as well as info on the builder? My wife has ms and while she is still doing ok the disease is totally unpredictable. It may be tomorrow or it may be 10 years but we need to be prepared for anything. Thanks for your time!

  11. The Hobbling Hiker says

    I would love to know which builder you used! I am handicapped, not wheelchair bound yet, and was wondering how realistic this would be for me. A loft sleeping arrangement is a NO, but I would love to see the floor plan options for studio type living with loft storage/sitting area!

  12. Faith Janes says

    I added an update to this post with photos of the completed tiny house. I hope you enjoy!

  13. Debbie Macalusa says

    I happened on your site by accident. I was looking for information to help my husband and I with a tiny home build. We own property in a rural area near Louisiana and Mississippi state line in a small town called Mount Hermon. We live in a trailer that we downsized when I no longer was able to work. My husband retired to take care of me. We also have an adult daughter with Autism that lived with us. Long story short I was more mobile then, we were hit in a head on car accident and a month and three days later rear ended. Both accidents were to attend Doctor visits believe it or not! Because the cost of widening doors and ramps was more expensive than purchasing a rent to own shed we decided this was the best scenario for me to be mobile till I healed. Seems the healing may not come. My daughter has someone to care for her in the trailer so we need to make the shed more livable than it is at present. We have an air condition in with wires from the trailer, a bed and a bed side commode. My husband must Cary water for a bed bath. We want to make a small kitchen large shower with a seat electric flush toilet small fridge freezer utility kitchen sink is fine and a laboratory. Loveseat recliners. Outdoor kitchen oven. But other than wanting to do this by solar and needing insulating and knowing we need wood and a layout we are lost! Next we do not have the money until we hopefully get a settlement! I know some people want to travel with tiny homes and to me that sounds wonderful but I just want some way of knowing I will not fall climbing up 7 steps to our trailer. What should a person like us do? Is their a way for us?


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