An extraordinary experience was had by all as Blackwood unveiled its brand new fully accessible flats in Dundee.
Designed to be beautiful, affordable, accessible and connected, the big opening was held inside one of the flats that served as a show home for the day prior to its occupant moving in next week. The guests of honour were the Minister for Local Government and Housing Kevin Stewart MSP and Councillor Ken Lynne who chairs the Dundee Health and Social Care Integrated Joint Board.
Both guests were given a guided visit by Blackwood’s Strategic Development Director, Simon Fitzpatrick. The tour of the house focused on the accessible features of the home which included:
- Electric doors that slide open and shut at the touch of a button
- Rise and fall kitchen surfaces and cupboards, and a rise and fall stove
- An oven with a door that folds away so a wheelchair user can easily reach dishes inside
- A fully adapted bathroom with adjustable rise and fall sink that also slides along; a Geberit toilet with remote control so a carer can wait outside and control the automatic cleaning system; a versatile and stylish shower suitable for both disabled and non-disabled users
- An automatic door entry system that operates from a key card and is fitted with an external camera
- Generous turning space throughout the flat for wheelchair users to manoeuvre easily without collisions
- Electric blinds that can be controlled from an app to suit a range of scenarios
A big hit on Twitter on the day was the Brompton Washscape washing machine that washes, dries and irons clothes. “Where can I get this? I will happily remortgage my flat to get one”, said one Twitter user responding to the Minister’s tweet earlier on that morning.
Of course Blackwood’s very own digitally enhanced care system CleverCogs™ was a big focus too as it will play an integral part in the daily home life of the tenant. Programmed to control things like the lights throughout the home, it also means that the tenant receiving care at home can stay in touch with their care provider at the touch of a button and have video calls with them.
“I’ve never been in a house quite like this!” said Ken Lynne, clearly impressed at the versatility and functionality of the home. He then added “it doesn’t really feel like an adapted house. It feels like a modern, contemporary house.” At the end of the tour the Minister expressed his own amazement at what Blackwood has achieved saying “I’ve seen a number of homes which are adaptable. This design is without doubt the best.” Adding later, “this is so modern. It’s fantastic”.
A busy work schedule meant both the Minister and Councillor were unable to stay long but the celebration continued with everyone in high spirits in spite of the persistent rain which just about threatened to add an unplanned swimming pool in the garden.
The Chair of Blackwood’s Board, Max Brown was thrilled at how the day unfurled, expressing particular joy at the finished result and the obvious awe of all who attended. “Today has been absolutely fantastic. It’s been great to see the Blackwood House go from drawings on a page to this, to be able to stand in the reality of the home.”
This is a sentiment which is echoed throughout Blackwood as a number of staff have been involved in this project since its inception. To finally be standing in the house was a great feeling to say the least. We now look forward to doing it all over again and taking the Design Guide to Glasgow very soon.