EDIT (02/02/2017): It's been over two years since writing the words below and the concept has become a reality. Blackwood is delighted to share with you the first glimpse of the construction site in full swing in Dundee. Your thoughts, your suggestions and your feedback have all played a vital part in the development of the Blackwood House. Both on this page and through other discussions on bespoken. It won't be long before we are sharing the photos of the finished properties and you will be able to see our combined work into a finished beautiful, accessible and affordable house.


Blackwood has always been a pioneer in accessible housing, having built our first house in Dundee in 1972. Our founder Dr Margaret Blackwood was the leading voice in Scotland in the ongoing campaign to improve the lives of people with disabilities in terms of housing, accessibility, and benefits, to name just a few.

She was convinced that disability needn’t be a barrier to a good life and was an enthusiastic supporter of adaptations to this end. In a BBC radio programme from the late 70s she said - “people who are completely and utterly disabled as I really am have quite a good life if they get the proper gadgets and instruments”.


Today, the Blackwood vision is to be able to offer people beautiful, accessible and affordable homes. To this end, the Blackwood team has drawn up plans for the accessible house of the future. Now is your chance to really have some input. We want your help.

If you scroll down you’ll be able to see pictures of the Blackwood Concept House and we want you to tell us:

  • What makes a house accessible?
  • What do you like about our design?
  • What would you change?


Update from 21/07/15 - Click here for the latest plan of the layout of home...






















































































In the bathroom




In the kitchen




In the bedroom



What do you like? What would you change? We need your help. Add your comments below.


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See the links below to find more adaptations on bespoken...


Vertical walking; forget steps





 Kitchen adaptations



      Seesaw bathtub: split opinions



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Great! Really brilliant.

One thought I had was if there might be an optional lightweight concertina screen made of frosted plastic that can be pulled out like a rollerblind sideways from the inside of the bathroom entrances, attaching to the other side with a magnet- just for a bit of privacy when people are visiting? For those who are able to use their arms from their chair. By being stored vertically it wouldn't encroach on maneuverability space.

Hi Rebecca,

Sounds good, but just to clarify. Do you mean the screen would run from the bathroom to cut across the bedroom?

Having had a look at the updated plan, the thing I am most excited about, oddly, is the total area.  At just over 70m2, it compares favourably to some newbuilds I'm familiar with.  Keeping the overall build cost down will be absolutely dritical in getting designs like this built. 

It's all very well and genuinely interesting to be aware of high end products that can make life simpler by orders of magnitude for disabled people but, if it costs too much, it will remain out of the reach of the majority of people. 

The more an innovation costs and the more space it takes up (which, in part, amounts to the same thing), the more it must do to earn its place in the real world.

I must also point out the the latest layout shows 2 bedrooms of vastly different size, which is relatively unusual.  In the world I work in, a home has to be able to accommodate a range of households and mismatched bedrooms like this would not, I think, fit the bill.

Hi Helen,

One of the commitments of the house is that it be affordable and this is a vital point which is being considered at every stage of the design process. 

The smaller bedroom in this particular version (there are plans for slightly different configurations) is intended for the event of a carer needing to spend the night over. In other configurations the separating walling between the bedrooms can be retracted and in other designs the two bedrooms are of more proportional size.

Beautiful, Accessible and Affordable: This may seem like a tall order but that has been our goal from the outset and we are perfectly confident that will achieve it.


We use a shower trolley minimum sizing in bathroom is very important to us, 2.5 x 2.5 minimum for us is needed. Also we need a minimum 4m x 4m bedroom as we have to have a hospital bed and single bed. Care workers must have 1m access around the bed for working safely with sliding sheets etc. From the end of the bed to accommodate an electric wheelchair with moveable footplates at least 1.65m  is needed to reverse without banging toes. Minimum room sizes is very important to electric chair users, most so called accessible rooms are too narrow, 4m is the magic number for us.  my perfect design for us + care workers = http://plus.floorplanner.com/projects/40519581-dormer-accessible/ed... 

Hi Angela,

Thank you for your input. Room sizes is certainly one of the aspects that was considered very carefully form the very beginning. As you say, the space needed for a person in a wheelchair to maneuver is often underestimated. We have been working closely with our tenants and customers to make sure the Blackwood House will meet the highest possible standards of accessibility. You can see the layout here.


For all those on bespoken who have commented and contributed, we have posted an update at the top of this discussion with exciting news on the Blackwood House!

Amazing, after years of hard work we are now at the stage of selecting the furniture to put into the Blackwood House. But we still need your help...

Can anyone give any advice or pointers for a couch that is suitable for self-transferring from a manual wheelchair? Also, we need the same advice for a double bed suitable for self-transferring in and out of.

Just reply to this comment!


After years of planning and preparation, the Blackwood Homes are being officially unveiled this Thursday in Dundee. Keep an eye on bespoken for final photos and details of the finished product. We particularly want to thank all the bespoken members whose comments have contributed towards shaping the accessibility and features of the homes. You are brilliant!

For any who haven't seen it yet, the Blackwood House was recently unveiled in Dundee. Here is what it looks like http://www.bespoken.me/forum/topics/the-blackwood-house-a-closer-lo...

Thank you to all to commented and contributed to the design.

Paul Richoux

Social Media Coordinator


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