A couple of weeks ago, I included some pictures of the ramp I built to our front entrance. Several people mentioned it in their comments. I started to explain the project, and then I remembered that I wrote about the ramp back in 2013. I know I said I wasn’t going to write much on Mondays, but I read this post and I decided to rework it for today.
In 2013, people seemed confused by the fact that we were building a ramp. Popular opinion seemed to indicate that ramps are only built when necessary.
That seemed crazy to me. I explained that we built the ramp so that if we ever do need one, it will be here and it looks good. Apparently, a lot of people think the ramp says something about our house – “ramp people live here” or something sinister. This sentiment was supported by the number of people who asked “are you going to plant some shrubs in front to hide it?” I guess I screwed that up by installing the railing. Either that or we will have to plant some very tall shrubs.
There rationale for the ramp began with the roof over the front entryway – it’s too close to the street. It would have to be, since our house is too close to the street. Our house was built before the town established a ‘setback’ requirement and they didn’t bother to check with us. Actually, the setback was established before we bought this house as it was revealed to us during the mortgage application process.
“Well, the house is too close to the street, so if it ever burned, you would probably have to dig a new foundation in order to rebuild. We (the bank) are approving the loan, because there’s enough room on the lot to move the house back.”
In practice, I know of two of these houses that have burned, and the town let them rebuild on the existing foundation.
We wanted the roof because the house faces north, and we get those pesky Nor’easters that pummel the house with rain and drift up huge amounts of snow at our front door. When I added the roof, I included plans for the porch and ramp. The Building Inspector said that he liked the plan because I was bringing the entryway “up-to-code.” He was referring to the part of the Building code that requires at least 42” at the same level in front of a door (like our storm door) that opens out. That way, there is no danger of falling as you open the door and step backwards off a landing. He also liked the ramp, but he’s a Building Inspector and he’s all about access and egress and stuff like that.
The main reason we wanted the ramp stems from the fact that during our marriage, my wife and I have both been on crutches for six weeks while our respective broken feet mended. We remember how hard it was to get up the stupid little steps at our doors.
Maybe the ramp implies age. Maybe having one of your friends or neighbors adding a ramp to their house reminds you that you too are getting older. Maybe we are frightened or worried about the day when we will need a ramp. I’d rather remember how much fun ramps were when we were kids. In fact, my daughter loved ramps. When she would go with me to Wickes Lumber, I could wander the entire store comfortable in the fact that she was playing on the ramp leading up to Plumbing and Electrical. If you are uncomfortable with ramps, watch the episode of The Twilight Zone “Kick the Can.” I checked to see if Paul over at Shadow & Substance had written about that. He’s mentioned it a few times but (as of 2013) no definitive post (hint, hint Paul). I like this ramp, it’s a very comfortable way to enter our house. Maybe having the ramp to enjoy will keep me from ever needing it.