Masterful Bath Design Reckognizes Aging Isn't an Option, It's a Priviledge
So we embarked on a journey to develop a design that would accept and respond to a person's changing physical, cognitive and emotional needs that result from the privilege of aging. I first identified many areas of concern such as the need for multiple area rugs (huge tripping/slipping hazard), a dark inaccessible shower, a deep soaking tub with no grab bars and a large window that can cause serious injury if someone slips in the tub and falls against it, a tight water closet with a narrow door and more. After a series of meetings and design reviews, we came away with a wonderful plan.
|New Luxury Shower Full of Stylish Safety Elements|
· Wide door for easy maneuvering
· Slip resistant tiles and grab bars
· Recessed niches to keep soap and shampoo off the floor where it can spill and cause slipping
· Exhaust fan with a heater to minimize the discomfort of drafts associated with large open showers
· Overhead, waterproof lighting to prevent corrosion and bursting of the light bulb
· Two shower heads including one hand held device
· Open floor space for a removable bench or shower seat
Best of all, though, the shower is now luxurious and beautiful.
|New Watercloset with Wide Pocket Door|
The watercloset was too narrow with a slender door opening that would make the space inaccessible if a walker or wheelchair were ever needed. To make the space functional, yet still private we used these solutions:
· Enlarged the size of the water closet
· Made the door a wide pocket door
· Added grab bars, a comfort height toilet, and better lighting
· Used removable furniture for storage that can be removed if a wheelchair is needed in the future
|Existing Vanity Cabinet|
· Raised heights to allow for more comfortable reach and reduced back strain
· Faucets with lever handle controls for ease of use
· Extra tall toe kick to allow for temporary use of a wheelchair
· D-shaped cabinet pulls for ease of use
|New Vanity Cabinets|
The plant shelf allows the clients to enjoy their irises and provides a discreet place for the hamper without the expense of a built-in hamper cabinet. The new sconces provide better lighting and an updated feel.
Lastly, to get rid of the area rugs and mats, we installed electric radiant heating elements beneath the new tile flooring to allow for warm floors and no tripping hazards. The programmable thermostat allows the clients to control the temperature and set times for the floor to be heated or unheated. Waking up to a warm bathroom floor is a small comfort that makes a big difference.
By making these changes to their master bathroom, my clients have insured that they will be able to live in their home longer and more safely. They have made an invaluable investment, not only in their home, but more importantly in their independence.
To learn more about the effects that aging has on the way we live in our homes and ways we can accommodate this inevitable change and wonderful privilege with practical universal design strategies, contact our office for your personal design consultation or attend one of my universal design classes.