De­sign­ing for dis­abil­ity can de­liver beau­ti­ful spa­ces as th­ese three projects demon­strate, writes Robyn Wil­lis

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Most of us wear our in­de­pen­dence lightly. The abil­ity to move freely and do things for our­selves is so sec­ond nature that we of­ten take it for granted. But for those with mo­bil­ity is­sues, get­ting through ev­ery­day tasks, from get­ting dressed in the morn­ing to mak­ing a cup of tea at night, can be hard work.

Di­rec­tor of Live­able Hous­ing Aus­tralia Nick Proud says Aus­tralia is still lag­ging be­hind coun­tries such as Ja­pan when it comes to de­sign­ing eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble hous­ing, also known as uni­ver­sal hous­ing de­sign.

“In Ja­pan, they are third or fourth gen­er­a­tion with their live­able hous­ing de­signs but we’re get­ting there,” he says. “Ten years ago a five-star en­ergy-rated house would have been dif­fi­cult to get our heads around but things have changed.” draw­ers rather than cup­boards for easy ac­cess and there are two sinks — a deep one and a shal­low ver­sion ac­ces­si­ble from a seated po­si­tion.

“We thought we should make the kitchen fully ac­ces­si­ble for him so there was no ex­cuse not to get in there and cook,” Ash­ley says.

While door­ways are wider, the only giveaway that some­one with mo­bil­ity is­sues lives here is the grab rails in the bath­room.

“The bath­room is big­ger than nor­mal,” Ash­ley says. “There’s a shower chair, which is also a com­mode, that packs into the cup­board next to the shower so he can roll in and out and he can move him­self around.“

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