From the Heartland to home

Thursday, June 23, 2011

WATERLOO, Iowa  A 700-square-foot home  that features the latest in accessibility upgrades and was displayed at VGM's Heartland Conference in June has become home to industry advocate Angie Plager. 

Plager, 28, was injured in an automobile accident in August of 2003, resulting in C5/C6 quadriplegia. She was Ms. Wheelchair 2009 and is now the president of the Iowa Chapter of United Spinal Cord Injury Association. Nationwide Custom Homes built the "Care Cottage" specifically for Plager in North Carolina and shipped it to Iowa. 

"They've been building homes for years, but this is a new product launch for them," said Jerry Keiderling, president of Accessible Home Improvement of America, a division of The VGM Group. "They're as excited as Angie is."

Plager said the process of building a house, especially one she didn't get to see until complete, was challenging and fun.

"It's been a great ride," Plager said. "It has been a very fast, exhausting and amazing three months."

Wayne Flatt of Hammer Medical in Des Moines, Iowa, worked with Plager to determine her needs during the home-building process. 

"It was cool for us to get to find all the new products that are availablethe new roll-in showers, the new door handles, the new lift we used," said Flatt. "There's stuff that's been around for years, but this is all the new stuff, the new technology."

The one-floor cottage features an accessible bedroom with a full-size bed with power controls and ceiling lifts. The home also features a fully accessible bathroom, several power-operated doors, an open floor plan and lower windows. It connects with Plager's mother's home through a breezeway.