This Modern Home Remodel Pairs Mid-Century Finds with Universal Design

Accessible and modern: That’s the design combo this fun-loving family needed for their home to live easier. See how they make it all work—and then some.

Every home could benefit from wide halls and doorways, a wheelchair-friendly bathroom, and a zero-clearance entry, says disability advocate and mom to three girls Amy Webb (@thislittlemiggy). You might not need these features now, but they'll make life easier in the future for you, your family, and visitors.

When Amy's second daughter was diagnosed with microgastria and limb reduction complex, Amy and husband Bracken knew this little girl would change their lives—not just in the way that kids always change parents, but in a more specific we-need-to-figure-this-out kind of way.

family photo house outside front door
Annie Schlechter

Their daughter started training with a wheelchair at 16 months. Her first power chair was the smallest on the market, and while it didn't require a lot of space to operate, the Webbs knew they would need a better-functioning home as their daughter and her wheelchair grew.

The couple found a house in deep disrepair, bought it for the price of the land, and hired an architect versed in universal design (meaning accessible to everyone) to help them give it a full-scale makeover. The home needed some major work: an elevator, ramps at each of the three entrances, an accessible bathroom on each level, and space planning for the wheelchair's turning radius.

But the couple quickly learned that even if they designed a home to meet the recommendations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), they would still have to make additional changes to suit the individual needs of their daughter.

wood dining room windows table
Annie Schlechter

The Webbs meticulously considered the usability of every inch, but the style came easily. Clean white walls and neutral furniture emphasize the view of the wooded landscape. Vintage and midcentury finds and their own handmade artwork and furniture throughout add soul. "We put a lot of thought into how our home would work for all of us," Amy says. "Because our daughter is able to live with independence, so are we."

white painted brick wall piano girls
Annie Schlechter

Lots of open, clutter-free floor space makes the Cincinnati home work for the whole family, including a daughter who uses a wheelchair. For example, the area around their piano—a rare 1960s Baldwin Acrosonic that meshes with Amy's midcentury aesthetic—lets all three daughters easily reach it. Painting the original brick white helps collections and photos stand out.

kitchen girls island flowers wood
Annie Schlechter

In the kitchen, the fridge moved to an open wall so it's available to everyone at all times (even during busy meal prep), and sinks were placed so she could roll up in the easiest way possible. The tweaks aren't standard, but they're what the family needed.

To make the kitchen usable for everyone, kids dishes are stored in lower drawers with wide, easy-to-grab pulls, and the microwave is set low into the island. Extra distance around the island (especially behind the stools) creates a more open, bottleneck-free workspace. Touch faucets allow their daughter to wash up with ease.

Amy Webb

Accessibility takes from no one and gives to everyone. You will never regret having a zero entrance or wider door.

— Amy Webb
light white living room fireplace windows
Annie Schlechter

In the living room, walls were removed to open the space and make it easier to navigate. To brighten the room and keep the focus on the view through the wall-to-wall windows, the Webbs painted the ceilings and original brick fireplace white. Minimal furniture pieces arranged far apart, a low-pile rug, and a round coffee table all contribute to better traffic flow.

Amy Webb

When you design for someone with the least mobility or greatest physical needs, it brings greater freedom to everyone.

— Amy Webb
entry dog rug runner doors bench
Annie Schlechter

The extra-wide entry hallway leads to double office doors. A secondhand bench and vintage rug set the style tone for the rest of the house. August, the family's apricot-color poodle, keeps watch. Black doors add drama to an all-white paint palette.

midcentury bedroom black walls bed
Annie Schlechter

One dark wall in a mostly white house makes a bold statement. Amy created the painting above the walnut wood bed Bracken built, and she hand-pieced the gray and white quilt. "I swear, it's worth $5,000 to me," Amy jokes. "It took me months to make it." A large, colorful vintage rug ties their collections together. Airy rattan is unexpected on a midcentury-inspired light fixture.

low bed bedroom books blanket
Annie Schlechter

A low bed is easier to get in and out of. A display shelf lets their daughter keep favorite toys and books close. The lamp turns on and off with a single touch. The ceiling light and window blinds are controlled by voice commands.

Amy wrote When Charley Met Emma and Awesomely Emma about a girl with physical differences.

white pink accessible bathroom tile gold mirrors shower glass door comp
Annie Schlechter

The girls' bathroom includes a pair of sinks at different heights, grab bars, and a transition seat. The drawer pulls are turned upside down to make them easier to grab. Seamless floors (without any raised lips) are wheelchair-friendly.

wooden bunk bed bedroom girl ladder
Annie Schlechter

Bracken built the versatile bunk beds in their youngest's room. The top bunk is an extra sleep space for now, but it can be changed later if they want to add a desk below the loft.

Updated by
Jennifer Berno DeCleene
Jennifer DeCleene headshot

Jennifer DeCleene is a photo stylist, interior decorator, and design writer with over two decades of editorial experience. She contributes to national shelter and lifestyle magazines including Better Homes & Gardens, Southern Living, and Country Living.

After a decade spent working as a magazine editor, including stints at O, The Oprah Magazine, Cottage Living, Southern Living, and most recently as the Home & Style Director at HGTV Magazine, Jennifer leveraged her editorial experience into an independent creative venture. She styles photo shoots for a wide range of brands, both editorial and commercial, and produces written content for design-focused clients. As a decorator for discerning homeowners, Jennifer is known for her friendly, detail-oriented approach, and her dedication to crafting spaces uniquely suited to each client's needs and tastes. Jennifer graduated from New York University with a degree in English and American Literature.

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