How important is an elevator?

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Morticia made a statement in a previous post that really caught my eye and I thought instead of completely hijacking the original topic I would start a new one. 

She was speaking about older guests and how she is noticing they are increasingly less agile than they used to be.  Mort stated, 

"And those 40-50 year olds are in rough shape. Knees and hips are shot. They don't want stairs."

If this is the case, I  may need to rethink some remodel plans I had in mind. (For those of you who have previously read the description of this particular section of my house, I apologize in advance for repeating it.)   

I have an elevator shaft in my home complete with the framework for the elevator doors. The elevator shaft currently contains a spiral staircase that connects a large downstairs utility room/kitchen (no stove) to an upstairs bedroom originally built to be the maid's quarters.   

My plan is (was?) to remove the spiral staircase and walls of the shaft and construct a floor over the "hole", using the extra new floor space in the bedroom to have a jacuzzi installed.  Downstairs in the utility room, I would move the washer/dryer to the area where the shaft was and enclose them in a closet. Then we would install a stove/hood where the washer/driver were moved from creating a full guest kitchen.

Doing all of that would open up more flexibility in how the downstairs rooms could be rented, i.e.  as a full vacation-rental-type unit with a choice of between 2 and 4 bedrooms with ensuites (number of bedrooms depending on need) that would have it's own kitchen/utility room, living room, dining room, and powder room and private entrance. Also shared pool/spa access.  Any remaining downstairs rooms could be rented out individually as a bed and breakfast rooms. Or they can ALL be bed and breakfast rooms with the shared common rooms and kitchen.   

OR (after reading Mort's comments) 

I could install an elevator in the shaft  which would make the home accessible to aged and/or handicapped.

I wonder which would be the most financially advantageous?

Tom
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We have 3 floors, with main entrance and main activity level on floor 2: Five guest rooms: 3 below, 1 above, 1 on main floor.  We installed an elevator capable of carrying a standard electric wheelchair (950 lbs).  Cost about $30K for the three stops, including construction, electrical, and equipment.

Best investment we made.  We know it has brought us business from inquiries made at booking, and we find a lot of guests with creaky joints are pleased to discover it here. We move furniture, luggage, laundry.  Saves the stairwell walls.

A residential installation has way simpler rules than commercial.  No inspections, no insurance add-on. Maintenance is about $600 over 6-years.

If you want accessibility, there are other design needs: 36" doors, no front steps, etc.  We all get creaky.  Plan ahead.

 

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She was speaking about older guests and how she is noticing they are increasingly less agile than they used to be.  Mort stated,

"And those 40-50 year olds are in rough shape. Knees and hips are shot. They don't want stairs."

No one else here is calling 40-50 year olds rough shape with knees and hips shot. If a guest can't make it up the stairs then they probably can't make it from their car to the front door either. Unless you are opening a senior center, I wouldn't add an elevator to the inn. This forum is good for many things, and one thing for sure is that you will have every opinion under the sun, so button up and be prepared to read all sorts of ideas and opinions that are not necessarily status quo. I certainly wouldn't call a 40 year old an older guest. My daughter may, but I wouldn't.

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40-50 year olds certainly are not older guests. They just act that way. That's our experience. 70-80 year old guests haul their own suitcases. 40-50 year olds write reviews that say no one carried their suitcases and the stairs were too steep.

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Mine you offer them ground floor and to carry their bags - they say there would prefer X room - then won't let you carry their bags and then complain

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Jcam wrote:

Mine you offer them ground floor and to carry their bags - they say there would prefer X room - then won't let you carry their bags and then complain

Happens all the time. I'm particularly affronted by the ones who act like we put the stairs in the day before they arrived just to annoy them.

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Lot's of good points.  You've talked me right out of an elevator.  Besides -- a jacuzzi and a revamped guest kitchen would be so much more fun.  

We have two staircases in this house.  The main fancy-dancy one, and then there is a back staircase.  In the future, (if I were so-inclined) I could do one of those little seated stairlift jobbers... 

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My family home has had a stair chair for over 20 years.  Amazing how useful it has been over the years.    I would kind of love that 'central oxygen' system, too.

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gillumhouse's picture
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Another consideration - having ADA above the ground level - in case of fire , how do you get them out? Would that not increase the insurance also. I would leave well enough alone. Let's face it, although it would be great for your knees even, the first time you NEED it for a guest will be the first time the elevator goes AWOL either with guest waiting for it, or worse, IN IT.

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It is great that you have the wide doorways etc for easy access. Interesting ... 

OnTheShore's picture
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Just to add, it doesn't make sense to put an elevator inside if the people who would really need it (i.e. the wheelchair-bound) can't get in to the house from the outside (think grade-level entry or a ramp). And then the next question would be whether the rooms upstairs are (or could be made) ADA accessible. If you are doing a big renovation anyway, accessibility is definitely something to give some attention to.

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If you have an elevator, it is an amenity that can be advertised.   Most B&Bs don't have one.

But I'm surprised at the number of reviews I see that mention the fact that the B&B they stayed at didn't have 'a lift.' 

If I could, I would.  

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I would NEVER put money into an elevator...though...on Rehab Addict last week, she put in an elevator in an old mansion she was restoring and went on and on about upping the home's value because it meant that someone could age in place or offer someone who really wanted the home to be able to age in place if they truly loved and wanted to stay in their home. So...not a bad thought...but investigate the cost...it will probably not ever pay for itself but could allow you to stay in your home forever. Who knows??

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its not putting it in its maintaining it and insuring it ie something happens - getting insurance for that is a nightmare. In the UK they are offering mini lifts about 2 people's size which can be fitted in domestic homes which I am tempted by as they only take up a small floor area but its all the servicing costs.

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You'll come to find that I get grousers here. Potty Mouth (auto filter), Potty Mouth (auto filter), Potty Mouth (auto filter). It's always something. Two other B&B's in town have rooms on the third floor. They never get complaints. Maybe I get all the geezers here and they get all the 20-30 yo crowd, who knows.

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What does your contractor say (assuming you've got that far with renovations)? I am confused about why there is an elevator shaft containing a staircase. So construction was begun and stopped? I can't begin to imagine installing an elevator - was it for a physically challenged person? 

 

 

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I have wondered if a previous owner was handicapped or ran an adult daycare or home nursing facility here.  All of the hallways are 5.5' wide and the doorways are extra wide and most of the bathrooms and showers are wheelchair accessible. There is a central oxygen system built into the house as well. I had never heard of such a thing -- but O2 "outlets" are in all of the common rooms and several of the bedrooms.  The O2 tubing runs through the walls and goes to an area in the garage where an O2 tank can be hooked in.  

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Aspiring Martha wrote:

I have wondered if a previous owner was handicapped or ran an adult daycare or home nursing facility here.  All of the hallways are 5.5' wide and the doorways are extra wide and most of the bathrooms and showers are wheelchair accessible. There is a central oxygen system built into the house as well. I had never heard of such a thing -- but O2 "outlets" are in all of the common rooms and several of the bedrooms.  The O2 tubing runs through the walls and goes to an area in the garage where an O2 tank can be hooked in.  

   Your DH is a doctor, right?  And your home sounds ADA equip or almost?  Maybe you should put that elevator back in and cater to people having medical needs or on the older side...... Just a thought, maybe look into it.  Hire nursing students to be maids!  One of a kind B&B!

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I can see the website now:  

Bed, Breakast, and knee (or hip!) replacements.  Hate the idea of a hospital stay?  Move in with your surgeon today! laughwink

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Aspiring Martha wrote:

I can see the website now:  

Bed, Breakast, and knee (or hip!) replacements.  Hate the idea of a hospital stay?  Move in with your surgeon today! laughwink

   They claim that you want to stand out and be unique!  Give me a listing of B&Bs that offer this service to their guests! winkcoolsmiley

TheBeachHouse's picture
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I have a small group of friends on the internet situated all over the country. We call ourselves, "The Club."   They refer to my B&B as "The Club Nursing Home."

Always plan ahead!

ChrisandShelley's picture
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People who tend to go to B&B's know that they are going to an older house. We have two downstairs rooms that are more popular (and priced a little higher) for that reason. But I agree with Arks, you would never recoup that money. He's right about regular inspections, license, maintenance, etc. There are probably just as many older people who are scared of elevators as would choose your B&B just because it had one. 

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Arks's picture
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Do you have an extra $100,000 to spend on something you don't HAVE to get? Plus the required regular inspections and occasional maintenance and repairs that go alone with having one? I guess there may also be insurance considerations.

It will NEVER pay for itself by bringing in people who otherwise would stay somewhere else. Only put it in if the government makes you, or if you are very rich and can have anything you want. If that's the case, it would indeed be a wonderful addition to your place.

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Nope, not rich. No extra $$ laying around here either last time I looked (though I did find a $10 in the washer after doing my daughter's laundry the other day) 

There is a houzz article that says the elevator itself (doesn't include retrofitting or constructing a shaft or electrical which is already present) is between 15 and 25 thousand for two floors.

Was just thinking about the aging of the population and who tends to go to B&Bs...

 

Generic's picture
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I have century old stairs. So some older people don't like to stay with me. That's fine.

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