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Family Renovates Home With Autistic Adult Son in Mind

November 02, 2017 | PHOTOGRAPHY BY KELLY HORKOFF

Grimsby home is thoughtfully renovated to accommodate an autistic son's unique needs.

OUR HOMES Niagara Fall 2017A version of this article originally appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of  OUR HOMES The Niagara Region, p.20. Find local businesses in our Niagara directory.  

An Oakville family sought out a slower pace and more space. They recently renovated a century home in Grimsby to encourage as much independence as possible for their 22-year-old son who has autism. The large yard is suited for their son's loyal service dog, and a coach house on the property means their son's caregiver can live nearby with her own children as well. A pool offers safe summertime recreation.
 
It was nearly a year of renovations spearheaded by brothers Jonathan and David Tucker of Tucker Homes on the turn-of-the-century American four-square house. Back in the day, this type of house plan could be ordered from a Sears catalog, the homeowner says. Thoughtful renovations included a broad, open-space addition and covered back porch to meet their unique needs with modern conveniences, while respecting the historic nature of the original house. 
 
Their son's bedroom has extra insulation because he’s sensitive to noise. A paved courtyard connects the coach house to the main house, and their son can hang out there or on the porch lining the back of the home. Both the parents and caregiver can keep an eye on him through their respective kitchen windows. “It gives him independence while still having us nearby,” says the owner.
 
The bedroom count remains the same at three bedrooms and a large loft. Other rooms were repurposed. The former dining room was converted to a home office. With Tucker Homes’ help, they upped the bathroom count to two full bathrooms with stone counters from First In Counters. And they added a large, open-concept addition that includes a kitchen (Timberwood Custom Kitchens Inc.and a family room with a walkout to an expansive covered porch. 
 
Wide-plank flooring by Alfieri Floor Experts carries the century home feel into the new addition. The Welland shop supplied and installed all new flooring in the home. Florence Alfieri and Amanda Burke also helped the family choose the sleek and subdued white and grey palette from The Paint Can throughout the house.
 
The home has a new-old feel with exposed brick and original iron heating vents. Tight hallways in the original part of the house offered opportunity to install stylish sliding barn doors. A built-in china display case was moved from the former dining room to a prominent spot in the living room, and flanked with wood from an original door frame. A window was also cut into the wall to expose the original hardware of a large pocket door in the office. A reclaimed floor joist from a century commercial building frames the opening to the new addition.

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