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Check Out My New Porch!

I’m always the first to say that making home modifications, or changes in the home, are not just for “Old People”. People of all ages and abilities need home modifications to live safely and independently at home!

Get some popcorn, pull up a seat, and listen up. I’ve got a true story to tell you about what I did at the end of April of this year.

First of all, let me describe myself a little. I’m a 33 year old woman who looks like most people you’d pass by on the street. I walk. I talk. I hear well. I wear glasses or contacts. I don’t have any health conditions. I’m just your regular girl next door who happens to also be an occupational therapist.

But sometimes, accidents happen without any warning to your next door neighbor types.

Birthday balloons by Unsplash

Birthday balloons by Unsplash

Yes, I had an accident. I went outside the house with my husband and felt really excited to see the present my in-laws brought him for his upcoming birthday. Well, when I get excited, I don’t pay as much attention to what I’m doing. I wanted to see the present!! Can you blame me?

I was so excited that I couldn’t wait for my husband to finish going down two steps off of our back door stoop. I decided I HAD to step off of the 14 inch tall stoop and go around him to look at my in-laws in the driveway.

Big mistake.

Photo of me sweeping the backstoop with wire shelving next to the back door in November 2018.

Photo of me sweeping the backstoop with wire shelving next to the back door in November 2018.

My foot didn’t land correctly on the ground and I ended up falling and spraining my ankle.

To make matters worse, my body tends to pass out when I feel extreme pain. I hate to brag, but I have an overly active vagus nerve. For you healthcare types, yes, I had two vasovagal episodes. I’ve passed out like this after accidents since childhood, so this experience was not new to me. But it felt scary for my husband and in-laws!

My sweet, worried husband helped me get to the car after I regained consciousness and we sped to the ER. Lo and behold, everything turned out well! No fractures!

Now that we have some backstory, let’s get to the real purpose of this blog post today. My husband built a brand new stoop for the main entryway of our home after I fell off the stoop. (He really hates watching me get injured!)

In a perfect world, we’d make our main entryway with zero steps. To learn more about zero step entries, CLICK HERE. However, we don’t have the funds to make a rampscape, which is what I truly want! So we collaborated on a temporary design that would last us until we have the extra cash flow!

The former stoop was two feet wide and four feet long with a little step only eight inches deep! There was no handrail and the stoop was slick as hell when it rained, snowed, or had ice! I made a video showing how I made it less slippery with $25 rubber mats from Home Depot last year. Watch the video for some inspiration!

We widened the design of the stoop to four feet by six feet and increased the step depth to 12 inches. It was important for us to add a rail and balusters on the south side of the stoop to force people to use the steps only and NOT step off the side of the stoop like yours truly.

Photo of our new stoop with our dog, Chulo. He doesn’t run away like our girl dog!

Photo of our new stoop with our dog, Chulo. He doesn’t run away like our girl dog!

The top of the rail is constructed with a two by four board. This makes it really hard for most people to grip it while going up and down the stairs, so we added a handrail that’s one and half inches in circumference to make it easier for people to keep their balance.

Photo of the rail and balusters on the new stoop.

Photo of the rail and balusters on the new stoop.

Photo of the rail and handrail on the new stoop.

Photo of the rail and handrail on the new stoop.

My husband laid stone pavers between the steps and the sidewalk to make it easier for our guests who use walkers or canes to walk inside. Unfortunately, the new stoop doesn’t make it easy for wheelchair users to get in and out of the house. That’s why I want a rampscape to make a zero step entry in the future! It’s so important for me to have a house that’s visitable to people of all abilities. Check out visitability.org to learn more about how to make your home better for all humans!

Lastly, I wanted to point out the very sweet customized shelf my husband made. He built two shelves for me to place my personal things down while locking and unlocking the door. I ALWAYS carry my water thermos around with me and appreciate having both hands free to open and close the storm door and back door. It’s a pet peeve of mine to juggle my personal items in my hands while using my key and holding the storm door. The custom shelves improved my happiness level by 1,000 percent!

Photo of custom shelves for things like Amazon packages or to get your hands free to open the door!

Photo of custom shelves for things like Amazon packages or to get your hands free to open the door!

It’s the little things, my friends!

Also, just FYI, the little ring with the orange lead is for our dog child who likes to run away every once in a while. I hook the dog on the lead and supervise her while doing outdoor chores. Never let a dog stay on a lead unsupervised! That’s your daily public service announcement.

The only things we need to do to this new stoop is 1) add color and contrast and 2) make it less slippery. Adding color and contrast to the steps makes it easier for me to clearly see the difference between the steps, which helps prevent more falls from happening, people! The best places to add color and contrast to my stoop is on the edges of the steps and to the handrail. It wouldn’t be difficult for me to paint the handrail a different color. Preferably, the handle would be a very dark color to stand out against the light brown wood.

Photo of nonslip tape by SlipDoctors.

Photo of nonslip tape by SlipDoctors.

The stoop is made out of treated wood, but it’s always good to add anti-slip stuff to prepare for wet, colder weather. There are many options out there, but the best thing that would kill two birds would be something like non slip tape from SlipDoctors. If I put non slip tape on the edges of the steps, it would give me color and more traction!

In the comments below, tell me about what you’ve done with your main entryway! Have you had an experience similar to mine? What did you do afterwards? It’s time for you to make a change for your safety today!

Remember, you better do it before you need it!