This time of year brings to mind thoughts of summer evenings spent on front porches and a time when the pace of life was slower, a time when we knew our neighbors and we had more time to enjoy life. Somehow a front porch can reawaken a nostalgia for simpler times. As I have been writing this column over the last few months and thinking about how our houses can affect the quality of our lives I have thought about how we can modify our homes to make them more comfortable and accessible while retaining their charm and the parts we really enjoy. The front porch is a good example of this. If you drive around town you will see houses where people have added a wheelchair ramp to the front of their house to enable them to access their home. Oftentimes the ramp has a tendency to detract from the appearance of the house and that is one reason why people are often hesitant to install them. So how do you put in a ramp that not only enables you to access your home but also fits in with your home’s style and appearance?

There are many ways to build a ramp in such a way that it complements the style of the house. As part of our housing needs assessment Solid Rock Enterprises will look at your home and design a ramp or other modification that complements and adds to your homes appearance as well as functionality. We will use our years of experience to look at your unique situation and suggest solutions that fit your needs, your taste, and your budget. Every home is different, and every homeowner is unique. We assess each situation individually to discover the best solution for each client. After all, satisfied clients are our final product. When building a house using Universal Design principles (see Housing Matters July 2009) we would situate the house so that there would be a barrier free entry at ground level, and on an existing house we would look at the possibility of creating this kind of entry through grading and the use of walkways that would eliminate the need for a ramp altogether. Another technique is to build a ramp in line with the existing porch to soften its visual impact. We always use materials and railing styles that match the existing house as much as possible. Another way to make the ramp blend in is with the use of landscaping such as shrubbery plantings to take the focus off of the ramp. In some cases, a vertical platform lift will be a better option than a ramp. Sometimes a ramp can be installed in the back of the house. As the old saying goes there is more than one way to skin a cat.

If you or a loved one is experiencing limited mobility, don’t let it limit your life. There are many resources and options available to you today to improve the quality of your life. You should have the chance to sit out on your front porch and enjoy a summer evening. If we can help you in assessing your housing needs and presenting options to enhance your life and allow you to stay in your home longer, please call Chris Moore at 540-384-2064 or E mail me at Please see our ad on page ? of this issue. Remember, that front porch is waiting.

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