Remodeling a Charming Ranch to Improve Accessibility

Jeff Holtzclaw, a respected teacher in his hometown of Covina, California has made a difference in the lives of hundreds of students. After an accident left him disabled with a painful prosthetic leg, the family's home quickly became a space that was too difficult for him to navigate. His community rallied, and beautifully remodeled the Holtzclaw's ranch house to be ADA-compliant.

March 01, 2020

Meet the Holtzclaw Family

Following a life-threatening motorcycle accident, Jeff Holtzclaw's life and family's future changed forever. To give back to this Gold Star-awarded teacher and to make his home comfortable for him once again, the Extreme Makeover team and volunteers from the Covina, CA, community come together to renovate the Holtzclaw home. With special emphasis given to making every room ADA-compliant to improve its overall accessibility for Jeff, the team was able to present the family a home that's guaranteed to make their lives easier. Shown here, Jeff is joined by his wife, Emily, and their daughters Emma, Lily and Jadyn in front of their home before its makeover.

The five-day renovation improves every aspect of this house; see this charming ranch get transformed.

The Team

During the five-day renovation, the design team is joined by special guests David Bromstad of HGTV's My Lottery Dream Home and Grammy award-winning singer, Leann Rimes. Both guests participate, working closely with the design team to incorporate their own special features to the new home. David and Leann are shown here alongside host Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and the design team of Darren Keefe, Breegan Jane and Carrie Locklyn.

MEET THE DESIGNERS: Meet The New ‘Extreme Makeover: Home Edition’ Design Team

The Surprise

The Extreme Home team is welcomed to Covina, CA, with a marching band tribute at the local school's football field. Hundreds of volunteers — friends, family, students and teachers — arrive to show their support for the Holtzclaw family. The design team and volunteers march to surprise the Holtzclaw family at their home. This huge crowd is excited to give back to the family and surprise them with a renovated home.

The Demolition

The Extreme Makeover team gets to work demolishing the interior walls of the existing home. By opening things up, they're able to identify and mediate damage, expose an open floorplan and make adaptations so that the home is more serviceable for Jeff, who navigates with his prosthetic, with the help of a walker or in his wheelchair.

Giving the Family a Sneak Peek

The team gets a chance to talk to the Holtzclaw family during the build, and was able to arrange a surprise introduction: They tracked down the three good samaritans who helped Jeff at the scene of his motorcycle accident two years prior. The three local heroes are credited for saving his life on that scary day, but the family had not met them before. It was an emotional time for all, and Jeff was especially grateful for their willingness to help with the remodel.

Move That Bus!

The Holtzclaw family arrived back at the house on the Extreme Makeover bus. As the bus pulls away, their new home is revealed to them for the first time.

The Holtzclaw Home, Before

During the renovation, the design team would tackle improvements both indoors and out to improve safety and accessibility for Jeff and his family. This charming ranch will be refreshed with a generous dose of curb appeal after the Extreme Makeover team gets to work.

The Holtzclaw Home, After

After mediating water damage, the entire exterior of the Holtzclaw home was updated with a fresh stone facade, new paint and was outfitted with raised garden beds and a fence. It also incorporates additional features for safety, and to improve accessibility for Jeff. This charming ranch style home includes four bedrooms in a 2,500-square-foot footprint.

The Holtzclaw Home, Before

The Holtzclaws' front entryway had been modified to accommodate Jeff's wheelchair, but without railings, it lacked necessary safety features. The front yard was a space that the young girls could play, but, as Jeff reports, it becomes really scary when they're close to the road. His ability to protect the family and react in an emergency is hindered by his injuries and leg amputation.

The Holtzclaw Home, After

The ranch home received a ramped concrete sidewalk to make it easier and safer for Jeff to access the front door. The design team incorporated garden beds in the front yard, and added a fence to prevent the younger girls from straying too close to the road. A new swing was hung from the tree — one that all of the girls could use as they continue to grow.

The Entryway and Kitchen, Before

The former entryway and kitchen were difficult for Jeff to access in his wheelchair. In addition to having a floorplan that prevented Jeff from moving freely, the family had also begun having trouble with water damage beneath the window. It was the cause of rot in the wall, which affected both the interior and the exterior.

The Entryway and Kitchen, After

A wide front door opens into an open concept kitchen in the Holtzclaws' renovated home. The new space was designed to be ADA-compliant with sufficient space for Jeff's wheelchair to clear doorways, and to navigate around the kitchen island and its furniture.

The Kitchen, After

The kitchen is outfitted with white cabinetry and countertops, and the design team incorporated bright blue appliances to bring color into the room. The room was redesigned to accommodate two windows, and to maximize space without losing natural light, two of the upper cabinets were installed without backs so that daylight could flow through the shelves and glassware.

The Living Room, Before

Like many of the rooms in the home, Jeff's wheelchair struggled to navigate the small living room of the old house. The living room was the space in which the family spent most of their time, and it needed to be reconfigured to be more open and serviceable for everyone.

The Living Room, After

The new open concept living room is adjacent to the kitchen and dining room, and improves accessibility for Jeff, whether he's walking or using a wheelchair. Light, modern furniture accents the room, offering space for the whole family to come together and relax.

The Living Room, After

Smart home technology is applied throughout the entire house, from a security system with window sensors, to a remote control vacuum. The technologies utilized in the home are all voice-controlled, or managed using smartwatches and tablets throughout the home. Making the space secure and simplifying its upkeep will make it easier for the family to navigate their new life in this renovated home.

The Dining Room, Before

Seating the family of five around their old dining room table wasn't easy; it wasn't easily accessible for Jeff's wheelchair. The team sought ways to make the space more open and relaxing during its remodel.

The Dining Room, After

The new dining area is an extension of the kitchen and living room in the open concept ranch home. In addition to being more accessible for Jeff, the team lightened the space with white paint, new lighting and new window coverings. Special guest David Bromstad isn't only known for his design talents or real estate knowledge; he's also an artist. The design team engaged him to paint a custom piece for the family's new dining room, and leveraged his knowledge of color psychology to thoughtfully consider what type of artwork would feel peaceful and calm in the new home.

The Den, After

To provide the family more room for music and art, the design team also extended the living room in the opposite direction. The absence of walls makes it possible to showcase the family's piano, without limiting the floorplan or making it an inaccessible space for Jeff to navigate.

The Den, After

Though lacking in windows, this family room shines bright. The arts and crafts desks installed for the kids offer them a place to play and grow, and comfortable seating invites Jeff to join them in the space.

The Hallway, Before

The breezeway passthrough in the home was in great disrepair, with ceiling and floor damage. Though a ranch home, there were many steps and thresholds between rooms that made it inaccessible space for Jeff. It also prohibited how the family navigated between the bedrooms, and into Emily's office.

The Hallway, After

Though a ranch-style home, the former house had many thresholds and steps that made it difficult for Jeff to transition between rooms in his wheelchair. To make the house fully ADA-compliant and accessible, doorways were widened, and permanent, gradual ramps were installed to provide a seamless transition for Jeff in his home. The team also added handrails along these ramps to further meet code and accommodate Jeff's disability.

The Office, Before

Tucked into the back end of the house, Emily's office was a shared space. The room also needed to accommodate toys and crafts belonging to her daughters. Down an inaccessible hallway, the design team would work to make it accessible for the whole family and a peaceful space where Emily could focus on getting things done.

The Office, After

Emily's office and a secondary craft room are now bright, well-organized spaces that the whole family can enjoy and — most importantly — access by way of the ramped hallway. Large windows, white cabinetry and countertops, and natural wood accents make this a home office nearly everyone can envy.

Jeff and Emily's Bedroom, Before

After the accident, Jeff and Emily moved their master bedroom furniture and adopted the den as their new bedroom space. Though it was more accessible for Jeff's wheelchair, the design team looked to ways they could modify the old master bedroom to allow Jeff comfort, and give the family some of their living space back.

Jeff and Emily's Bedroom, After

The former master bedroom was remodeled to provide a better flow for Jeff. Widened hallways and doors make it easy to move into the master suite, and between the bedroom and the adjacent master bath.

Jeff and Emily's Bedroom, After

The new spacious and bright master bedroom is a tranquil-but-functional space where Jeff and Emily can finally relax. With generous room to navigate, the design team also positioned a bench at the foot of the bed. Jeff previously had no area he could sit comfortably to care for himself and attach the prosthetic he wears, so the added furnishings make it possible for him to be at ease in his own bedroom.

Jeff and Emily's Bathroom, Before

Modifications had been made to the former master bathroom to make it possible for Jeff to be independent, but space was still limiting and difficult to access. Additional design upgrades would make it fully ADA-compliant.

Jeff and Emily's Bathroom, After

The new master bathroom is fully accessible for both adults, and an absolute retreat. The open shower has no threshold, making it serviceable to Jeff regardless if he's accessing with a walker or chair, and the new bathtub is deep, with plenty of space to enter and exit. Outfitted with lots of easy-to-reach storage, and flooded with natural light from their private backyard, this is the retreat Jeff needs after a long day working at school.

Emma's Bedroom, Before

Youngest daughter, Emma, had a bedroom with lots of storage, but lacked the space for her dad to come and read in bed. The design team decided to relocate her bedroom closer in proximity to Emily and Jeff, but add plenty of fun features so it was accessible to both parents, fun and age-appropriate.

Emma's Bedroom, After

Designer Darren Keefe made 3-year old Emma's bedroom his special project. The bedroom was relocated to be closer to her parents, and transformed into a space that's dreamy and magical and would appeal to many little girls. In addition to upgrading Emma into a fun bed, the team also added a swing into the corner so she could look out the window.

Emma's Bedroom, After

Darren sought out a colorful wall treatment for Emma's new room, using pinks and purples to create a cloud mural. Furniture was upgraded to coordinate with the colors of the bedroom, and soft area rugs make it a comfortable place for this young girl to play.

Lily's Bedroom, Before

Eight-year-old Lily had a lovely room before the remodel, but the doorway was too narrow for her dad's wheelchair to navigate. The space would receive updates to make it more accessible, and modernize it for the young girl.

Lily's Bedroom, After

Lily's fancy new bedroom is just a step away from childhood and a step towards teenage dream space. Fancy finishes add style and maturity, and the new daybed allows more open floor space for visitors, like her dad when he's in his wheelchair. She and her sisters were also outfitted with new wardrobes from a generous sponsor.

Jadyn's Bedroom, After

Oldest daughter, Jadyn, was given a mature bedroom with gorgeous lighting, bold colors and textures, and a special sewing desk. Intended to be a retreat for this young woman to be able to design and continue to express her creativity, she'll be able to use it through the rest of her adolescence and time spent at home.

The Yard, Before

While the front yard, shown previously, was somewhat of a blank slate, the backyard of this ranch home felt more like a jungle. Home improvement projects that they thought were doable became harder to prioritize, both due to money and Jeff's disability. The backyard was no place that the kids could play, and the team looked to transform it to make it usable once again.

The Yard, After

Garden beds adorn the yard now, making it a space that the family can grow and bond together. With walkways wide enough for Jeff to navigate in his wheelchair and low walls surrounding the beds, the family will be able to tend to this space with ease.

The Yard, After

In the backyard, the former jungle was transformed into a new space with some grass, and some stone landscaping. An outdoor table and chairs make the yard more functional for the family of five. Designer Carrie Locklyn created a large piece of art for the backyard. Built from reclaimed wood that she salvaged during demolition, it represents the love that Jeff has given to his students and community, and encourages him to keep giving back every day.

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