It’s been a while since we’ve had a chat with an insta-pal who has a wonderful adapted, #inclusivechic home but I’m glad to say the Conversation With… series is back with a BANG!
Today we’re talking to Maegan Blau, an interior designer in Arizona, USA. Her speciality in her Blue Copper Design interior design practice is, of course, adaptive design and she has a stunning home in a light, bright almost Scandi feel that works for her and her wheelchair.
Maegan thinks holistically about the design, particularly when it comes to accessibility and has got a few great tips for us. If you don’t follow her already, I’ve included all her links at the bottom of the post. All photos in this post are Maegan’s.
So, let’s crack on!
WCH: Can you share a little more about the disabled person in your home?
Maegan: Sure! I am a C8 quadriplegic. I have been a wheelchair user for 10 years now.
WCH: How does this disability impact your home?
Maegan: It impacts my home and the way I live a lot! I actually began my career in interior design when I purchased my first home. I knew any home I purchased would need to be modified to fit my needs but I was also very concerned about aesthetic and wanted my home to feel like it was a reflection of me as person as opposed to a constant reminder of my physical limitations.
I faced some challenges when working with building contractors because they typically have a very commercialized and ADA (American’s with Disabilities Act) driven view of what a “disabled person” needs and I was wanting my home to be customized for my needs and not necessarily the needs of the ADA.
Once I was able to explain my concept and vision to the contractors though they were totally on board. I find it important to always be an advocate for yourself in every situation, no matter who you are.
I do use a shower chair and commode chair and my manual wheelchair of course. I paid close attention to the space planning and dimensions of everything to make sure I could transfer in a safe way and also have room in case I needed help transferring at any point.
WCH: How do you incorporate or disguise the adaptations and equipment into your home and lovely Instagram feed?!
Maegan: When you follow function and plan the design around that, it all comes together. I do not disguise my shower and commode chair every day because it is a part of the design plan.
I utilize the spaces that are least accessible to me as an opportunity to emphasize style and design. Smart storage solutions are key in my designs for anyone and can be really great to hide unsightly medical equipment.
WCH: Do you have any great tips for furniture buying, room design or planning that helps with the disability?
Maegan: When buying furniture always look at the seat heights if it is a piece you are wanting to transfer to. Pay attention to all the detailed measurements when deciding if it will work for you.
If you are online shopping, ask a question in the comment section or chat bubble to the company if they do not have the detailed measurements.
Be realistic when choosing pieces, don’t buy something that is 90% going to work for you. There are so many options out there that you can find the perfect fit or have it custom made.
WCH: What’s been the trickiest thing to deal with in the home to make it accessible?
Maegan: I think the trickiest space to deal with are bathrooms. Everyone has their own specific routine and placement is everything. It can also be tricky to work with contractors even if they have worked with other people with different abilities. No two abilities are the same and each job must be treated as a new experience.
WCH: What’s been your best find for the home?
Maegan: I found a metal floor vase to hold all my catheters. It is stylish, discreet, and I have had it for 6 years now. It is slender enough to fit in a corner and can hold more than it seems. I barely think about it, which for me means it is working and “good design”
WCH: What would you say to an architect or interior designer to help them in designing an accessible space?
Maegan: I want to hear others answers on this because I am an interior designer 😊As far as architects, I would say to pay attention to tight corners, and detailed dimensions. Fortunately open concept living is continuing in popularity and the open spaces tend to work better when designing for those with assistive devices.
I love Maegan’s approach to design, her home is open, beautifully designed and being in Arizona, has wonderful light coming through it making it clean, bright and very homely. Thank you to Maegan for chatting and for sharing her story!
To follow Maegan and her business, here’s all the info you need: