05 Dec Houses can be modified to accommodate special needs of elderly or ailing owners
More than 50 years ago, Robert and the late Virgie Kinch bought a 1928 farmhouse nestled in seven wooded acres. Together they made it their own.
They removed walls to create a spacious, open floor plan, and added cedar-shake siding to the exterior. They planted a lush vegetable garden and cultivated an orchard that includes apple, pear, pecan and walnut trees, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries — and a Japanese persimmon tree with fruit as big as tangerines. The yard is a testament to Virgie, a master gardener who taught horticulture at Forsyth Tech and started the annual greenhouse plant sale at the Arboretum at Tanglewood Park.
When Virgie suffered her second stroke and was diagnosed with stage four, multiple myeloma, Robert made changes to the home that enabled his wife to keep living there. In most older homes, bathroom doorways are too narrow for a wheelchair. Robert renovated all three bathrooms with the help of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen, a division of Anderson-Moore Builders Inc. In the downstairs bathroom, he added a tub with a seat and a doorway so she could slide into it. He installed a shower of man-made marble in the master bathroom that a wheelchair can roll into. Surrounding each toilet, he added sleek grab rails that fold up when they’re not needed. Their bedrooms were upstairs, so he eventually put a bed for her in the study on the ground floor.