Like most houses in Chicago, our home is set up a half story, about 48 inches off the ground. After carrying my daughter's wheelchair up and down the stairs for a few months, we decided an exterior lift was an absolute necessity.
The back of the house originally contained an old, enclosed porch. This was in very bad shape, leaning to the side and filled with peeling lead paint. We decided to tear down the porch, preserving only the roof, and convert it to an open deck.
In order to accommodate the lift, the deck was built out an extra eight feet. Currently, this portion of the deck is uncovered, but we may add a roof at a later time. The following three pictures show the deck as it was being built, before the lift was added.
Here is the lift in place, side view. It has three keypads at the top, on the lift itself, and at the bottom for easy use. It includes multiple safety features, including automatic locking of the door when the lift is not all the way up, a crush sensor to prevent injury or damage under the lift, and a key required to run the lift.
We found the lift itself to be very plain, so we decorated it with stenciled paintings using pastel exterior paints. Here are just a few of the designs we added:
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