See a Stylish, Wheelchair-Friendly Kitchen for an Avid Baker

(tranquil music) – It’s not something that
you take in very easily. Overnight you go from able bodied, capable of doing most things,
getting on with your life, to lying on a bed. Unable to do a lot. (clock ticking) I had a bit of a headache, decided to go out for
a jog to clear my head, and whilst I was about
10 or 15 minutes in, a tree fell and hit me on the head, and the impact of that broke
my back and dislocated my spine so it compressed my spinal
cord, which left me paraplegic, so I don’t feel anything
from the waist down. Life was just normal, you know, busy. Fit, healthy, two adult
children, suddenly… I don’t talk about it very often. I’ve always tried to be as
independent as possible. But there are times when you’ve
just got to ask for help. I love my house, but after
my accident, and with the, you know, my life changing, I
had so many frustrating things about using the kitchen particularly. And I needed help to love my house again. I started to look on Houzz
for interior designers, and they sent me a number of
matches of people I could use. So thanks to Houzz really I found Clare. Looking at the projects
that were on there, they all looked really impressive, some of them were really exciting, and the reviews were all positive, so I made the decision to contact her. – Sue approached me and messaged me about her current situation,
so I wanted to find out a little bit more about
her, about her disability, and about the things she was expecting to get from the project. Within an hour of meeting her, and it was actually quite a
tearful meeting, we knew that, you know, we’d have a good relationship and there was something I could do. – I didn’t want it to
scream disabled kitchen. I know I’m disabled. I do accept that, but I didn’t
want it to scream disability. But clearly I needed it to be accessible. I wanted it to be a warm, inviting space. I had other people living in
the house, and I wanted them to feel that they still
were living in their home, and I felt with Clare it
would be a design-led kitchen. – As an interior designer you
can make spaces look fabulous with lots of tricks, but
with Sue it was all about making sure the function was there, then I addressed how I’d
actually make that look good. When I first came into the
house it felt very dark, very cramped and quite dated. The existing kitchen and diner
was completely impractical. It was in two rooms with a
very narrow doorway in between, no flow for her. So to create the new
space we had to knock down two existing walls and also
take out the back of the house and put in sliding doors,
and then install the kitchen, then redecorate everywhere. – When we pinned down the
design for the kitchen, I knew it was gonna be
what I wanted it to be. Clare had helped me to feel
really excited about it, because of her creativity. – When you’re designing a kitchen, you have certain size cupboards that fit into certain size holes, fridge freezers are 600
wide, fridges are 600 wide, but the heights of these things
needed to alter throughout. – The cupboards on the wall
were completely out of my reach. There are baskets in there
that I can actually pull down, so I can get to the contents of the wall cupboards very easily. – Normally on a work
surface it’s 900 high. Sue needed everything at 700 high, so I placed everything 800 high. To Sue, she could still use it, but it wasn’t too low for everybody else, and she felt that was
the right thing to do. – I love the fact that I
can sit at my breakfast bar and my visitors can sit at
the right height for them, and I’m at the right height for me. But I don’t feel that
I’m separate from them, I’m part of the conversation
that’s going on. – Now, not only can Sue not
walk, but she’s paraplegic so she has no feeling,
and actually that makes a huge difference when
it comes to function and how things work safely in a kitchen. – I don’t know if I have
splashed myself with something, that’s boiling water for instance, you don’t know if you’ve
been hit until after, it’s when you when you find
a blister or something. I love the fact that
when I open my oven door it slips underneath the
oven, so it’s completely out of my way, so it’s
taken away the inability to get hot things out of
an oven now, I can do that. – Houzz made it really
easy for us to collaborate on the project, it’s very visual. So you can create an ideabook, I composed and edit the ideas and I’ll post a picture,
Sue, I’ve just seen this in somebody’s house, do you like it? – Clare would save images to the ideabook, so you can have a look,
and then you can respond according to whether you feel it’s something you like or not. It’s been a great way to share ideas. – I often think about the project, I learned a lot during the project. By turning it around we made it look like an ordinary kitchen
that anybody could use, but actually Sue could
use better than anybody. And I can just see the change in her, and I think for me that tells me that we did what we set out to do. – The things that people
do and take for granted every day in the kitchen, I can now do without worrying too much about it. Family, friends, they all
want to come and visit. When they come in, they say, oh Sue, it’s just you, which is great. – Fact that people have come
in and said it’s really her, I think has surprised her too. Because I don’t think after the accident she had much time to really think about what her personality is, you know, it was such a traumatic event for her, to then start to recognize herself again in her own home I think
was really good for her. – I’m independent. I can cook, and I can bake again. So all those practical
things, I’ve got those back. And that’s what the end product
is, I couldn’t be happier.

24 thoughts on “See a Stylish, Wheelchair-Friendly Kitchen for an Avid Baker

  1. Just love this! As a retired Occupational Therapist,I really appreciated watching the adaptations in her beautiful new kitchen, enabling her to function there!

  2. What a beautiful collaboration! The design is beautiful, as are Sue and Clare, and a new friendship was born. This story brought a tear to my eye.

  3. Absolutely lovely….may inquire on how much the renovation of the kitchen and dinner room cost.. I have shared this with my Cabinet designer also..🥰

  4. Great work – we were given brilliant minds, and there is NO REASON we can't design spaces that are wheelchair-friendly AND beautiful. Style is for everyone!!!

  5. Nicely done. Always uplifting to see how individuals face a life challenge and find joy and happiness again.

  6. Catlady Redd here in Muncie Indiana. I'm a 57 year young lady and I just want you to know that you are a very beautiful woman, so don't you cry, girl!! This old world isn't done with you, yet!! Always praying for the world, Love, Charlene Briley, (aka) Catlady Redd.

  7. I’m in a wheelchair also and I thought this episode was amazing loved all the accessibility and the open space it’s hard too move around and get to stuff when your in a wheelchair

  8. Wonderful to see a UK adaptation on this channel, and an accessible home too, so happy to see the end results. Beautiful content.

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