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A Designer’s Beautiful and Adaptive Home in the Southwest

by Lauren Chorpening Day

I feel so much gratitude for this site — for the ways Design*Sponge has helped shape other pockets of the internet and for the ways writing others’ stories has shaped me. I can look through the archives and remember working with each person and what their home/lives taught me. As I wrap up my last few posts, I’m reminded yet again, that design needs every voice, perspective and story to make the world more beautiful.

Maegan and Chris Blau’s kitchen stopped me in my tracks. The light wood, modern feel and gorgeous details made this space an instant favorite. I wasn’t surprised it belonged to an interior designer, but the design impressed me even more when I learned that the stunning space in Queen Creek, AZ is also accessible for Maegan, who uses a wheelchair. Instead of looking for pre-fab ADA-approved designs and products, Maegan took her requirements and personal style to create a home that works functionally and aesthetically for her and her family. Doing the same in her first home sparked a business designing for others and their unique needs. “I started my career when I needed to renovate my first home to accommodate my wheelchair. I have a spinal cord injury and have been a quadriplegic for 10 years now,” Maegan says. “As you can imagine, using a wheelchair in a home requires some different needs design-wise.”

Maegan and her husband, Chris, purchased their current home in 2016 sight-unseen after traveling the country in a fifth-wheel trailer for 10 months. When their realtor found an option with the size, location and layout that they wanted, a video tour was all they needed to move forward with the home. “My design goals were first, make this home work for you and your wheelchair. This means lowered beds, roll-in showers, accessible kitchens, etc. This does not mean that my home has to fit ADA guidelines,” Maegan shares. “After the functions were addressed, I wanted to keep my home neutral, bright, but with an homage to Southwest design. I have yet to come up with a style name for my home but I know one day it will come to me.” The Blaus’ home is a stunning space with thoughtful, beautiful design throughout. It doesn’t meet all the nation’s accessibility standards — it was designed to fit Maegan and Chris’ life. This home and design are inspiring in more than one way. Lauren

Photography by Nicole Bishop

Image Above: The Blau Family’s kitchen incorporates earthy, natural Southwestern elements in a modern and neutral way. The materials, patterns and finishes used make the space visually stunning. Kitchenwares stored in cabinets with drawers instead of doors, wide pathways and accessible appliances make it a functional and cool space for Chris and Maegan to prepare meals.

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"Not everybody needs all the requirements specified by the ADA to live comfortably in their homes. I love specializing in custom designs that fit people's custom lives," Maegan shares.
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"I learn more and more each day because of design! As a designer you are interacting with an ever-changing industry. So not only do you have to stay current with the design trends, but because of the Internet your clients are also staying current. I love an informed client because they elevate the design process," Maegan shares.
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"Open shelves are part of the adaptive design plan," Maegan explains. "I cannot reach the top cabinets from a chair so why not make them decorative?"
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A lowered microwave was a safer and more convenient design option for the Blaus' kitchen. "Imagine getting a hot bowl of soup out of a microwave above a stove... yeah, no. Plus, this way it is easier to clean for everyone," Maegan shares.
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Buying a new-build home from a well respected builder was a perfect fit for Maegan and Chris. While the builder-grade finishes weren't their style, it made customizing a blank slate that much more fun. Maegan has added so much personality and style to an open and well-designed space.
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Creating spaces that promote inclusivity and function well for chair users isn't just reserved for her clients. "Our complex just opened a community pool, and it is gorgeous! However, there is no wheelchair transfer chair to get in and out of the pool. Now, my husband is a sweet, strong man and is able to carry me into the water, but I also know that there are people in my community that do not have that person that is able to do that in their life. I have been in contact with my HOA to see what we can do about getting one installed so that everybody in our community can utilize the gorgeous pool that they provide for us," Maegan explains.
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A gorgeous low-profile bed is anchored with a deep green-blue wall and tons of texture.
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Chris is a retired dog trainer and when he retired, their pup, Odin also retired. "She is our precious little protector. She enjoys the retired life of naps, walks, fetch and swimming," Maegan says.
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"I subscribe to the idea that your home is ever-changing and never 'done.' I am always moving things, finding things, coming up with things to make my home 'better' for whatever reason that may be," Maegan shares.

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Comments

  • My fav recipe is Salted Caramel Mousse and Caramel Popcorn!!! Such a great/mod change from chocolate mousse. Sometimes (if someone eats all the popcorn) I top the mousse with generous chocolate flakes or berries or whipped cream – all DELICIOUS and beautiful!

  • Beautiful home, love the open shelves in the kitchen and the wall tapestry in the bedroom – where did they get if?! Please tell…

    Thanks for inviting us into your space!

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