Open house to showcase accessible remodeling

A glass of water. A spiral staircase. What do these things have in common? For people who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids, steps and beverages can become barriers to friendship and daily living.

To promote accessibility as part of a remodeling decision, the Tacoma Area Task Force on Disability has partnered with Rainier Construction and Remodeling to sponsor a free open house in a recently-remodeled home from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Oct. 17 at 720 Galloway in Steilacoom.

For two years the Tacoma Area Task Force has been investigating a national movement known as “visitability.” Based in Atlanta, Ga., the movement’s advocates ask builders and remodelers to consider slight modifications of building plans to include a no-step entrance to a house, a bathroom on the ground floor, and slightly-wider doorways and hallways to ease wheelchair access.

These modifications are relatively inexpensive and provide additional benefits.  Strollers and furniture can be moved into a visitability house with relative ease, for example. Familiarity with these features can lead homeowners to consider accessibility modifications to their current housing so they can continue to live in a house for as long as possible as they get older.

“With the baby boom generation approaching retirement, the need for accessible housing will only increase,” said David Droge of the Tacoma Area Task Force on Disability.

The home that will host the Oct. 17 open house was featured on the recent Tour of Remodeled Homes, sponsored by the Master Builder’s Association of Pierce County. Earlier the home was part of a National Kitchen and Bath Association Tour. The house features a fully-accessible level which has been designed to blend in to the home’s architectural features.

This remodel was designed to “make the accessible components as attractive and unobtrusive as possible,” said Clive Ebsen, owner of Rainier Construction and Remodeling.

Refreshments will be provided during the Oct. 17 open house. The home, at 720 Galloway in Steilacoom, is located near Pierce Transit Bus Route #212.