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At Home: Making a condo ADA accessible

Anne Evans Anne Evans At Home: Making a condo ADA accessible
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For Sathya Gopalakrishnan, searching for an ADA accessible place in Columbus, while living in North Carolina was a bit of a challenge.

Sathya Gopalakrishnan in her home in Harrison West.

“When I was looking online in 2011, only a few names came up in reference to accessible condos,” says Gopalakrishnan. “Eric Casto wrote me back and told me to check out this unit in The Flats at Harrison Park. It was the first place I saw and I loved it.”

Before she even moved in, the condo developer Wagenbrenner Development added grab bars and a hand shower in the bathroom and they worked with Ohio State to have a low-energy power operated door with remote controlled operation installed. On her main entrance, a magnet was added to the doorstop to hold it open for her.

“Small things like that made it much more accessible,” she says.

The space is 1200 square-feet, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. There is also access to a fitness center, an outdoor pool, and the Harrison West park.

Gopalakrishnan lived in the flat for two years and then decided she was ready to purchase a home.

After looking at a couple more places, a unit in The Dakota and also in the South Campus Gateway, Gopalakrishnan decided to see what it would take to renovate the condo, mainly the kitchen, with ADA upgrades.

“The other places were nice but they were both on High Street and I wanted a little more quiet,” she says. “And I don’t really like moving.”

Brian Barrett at Wagenbrenner Development worked with Gopalakrishnan to see if the renovations could be made while she was deciding if she would purchase the condo.

“I decided to buy it and make it accessible,” she says. “Rents are skyrocketing and this place was everything I wanted. I love the neighborhood, it’s close to my job with The Ohio State University, and it’s close to everything I want to do.”

Mark Barrett, a contractor for Wagenbrenner Development, spent a lot of hours researching the products and appliances needed to make the changes.

Gopalakrishnan gathered quotes from a few other designers, but ultimately decided to work with Barrett because they were a great partner for the project.

“Making a home ADA-accessible doesn’t have to be out of reach,” she says. “The changes I had made were on par with a normal remodel.”

The remodel took about a month and a half. The electric stovetop was changed to an induction one. It was also lowered to a height of 33″ as was the sink. Space underneath both of the stovetop and the sink was left open so Gopalakrishnan has space to approach with her chair. The dishwasher was relocated to the right side of the sink which makes it easier for her to use as she is right-handed.

The oven was changed to one with a swing-open door. Five pull-down shelves were placed into the cabinets, making it much easier for her to use the space. A narrow drawer was added to house her collection of spices. The backsplash was changed to add splashes of color.

“This was the first home that I bought and I really enjoy it,” she says. Gopalakrishnan loves to cook and the changes made in her kitchen make it much easier.

“If I ever do a second round of remodeling, I would change the kitchen to an L shape and extend the wood floors,” she says. “But for now, the house seems quite set.”

Charcoal sketches of monuments from from Madhya Pradesh in Central India.

A painting from Southern India called a Tanjore Painting. Named for the town Tanjavoor (anglicized as Tanjore) in Tamil Nadu, Gopalakrishnan's home state in India.

A painting done by her nephew at four years old hangs in the living room.

At Home is a monthly column on Columbus Underground focused on urban home remodeling and style as well as older home renovations and unique homes in Columbus. If you would like to have your home featured in the At Home series, please send an email to me at [email protected].

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