Archive for the ‘elevator’ Tag

Fitting a house for special needs   Leave a comment

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Fitting a house for special needs

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The raised house entrance requires climbing a hill of steps (outside and inside) before reaching  the main level of this house.  A new internal elevator (operated by a small electric traction motor) gets the residents from just inside the garage to the upper level kitchen and living area in just a few seconds.  No rooms were lost during the insertion of the elevator.

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“You saved our lives!” were literally the words spoken by a thankful couple who asked Dennis Kowal Architects to install an elevator in their modest split level home.  “We could no longer make the long trips up and down the stairs and would have to move out if something wasn’t done”.  But the couple loved their home and didn’t want to move, so a teamwork approach found just the space to add a two story elevator within the existing house with no loss of living space.  Interior designer, Susan Kowal, reorganized the house and furnishings to actually find more room and a safer pathway from car to kitchen using the newly installed elevator.   While the firm has helped other homeowners add elevators as an addition to the outside of the house, the artful insertion of an interior elevator was necessary because of the tight site and because the homeowners wanted to retain the beauty of their yard.   Without a team looking at everything from pipes to drapes, the inside elevator would not have been possible.

Dennis Kowal noted that home elevators still require a State Elevator Inspection upon completion just like the commercial ones; but they don’t need the deep elevator pits or special machine rooms. The elevator door is a normal swing type door and blends in with the other doors of the house and the elevator cab is perfect for carting groceries and other items between floors.

The owners explained “When your knees don’t cooperate on stairs anymore, the elevator saves the day. Our quality of life just increased and our home actually looks better because of their design.”


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The wood interior of the elevator cab matches the finishes in the house.   A variety of sizes from as small as 3’x3’ exist, but consideration must be given to whether a wheel chair or small moving cart needs to fit inside the cab as well.

A normal looking swing door conceals the second accordion glass elevator door. Both must be closed to operate the elevator which can safely carry 900 pounds.

Once a messy basement laundry room off the garage, now an elevator lobby and a neat laundry room.

 

To thank the project team (Steven Malyszka project designer, William Soltez project manager, Clarence Burshnic project builder and  Susan Kowal interior designer) the owners hosted an outdoor luncheon on one of those 100 degree days!  And yes, the elevator was used to bring the food and drinks down from the kitchen!

 
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DENNIS KOWAL ARCHITECTS loves to help people with their creativity.

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Posted June 27, 2012 by Dennis Kowal Architects in Special Needs Design

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