Memorial – Accessible Bathroom Remodel
|Scope||Update for ease-of-use for disabled homeowner|
The owner of this home has a condition that can cause tiredness, dizziness, and muscle weakness, so we needed to craft a new bathroom that would be easy for him to navigate and use. Our final design incorporates a number of aging-in-place (AIP) and universal design (UD) elements, some of which were tailor-made for the client’s circumstances. It also sports a fairly neutral color scheme that’s stylish yet timeless.
Standout Features Include:
According to the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), accessible doorways need to be at least 32” wide; we make ours 36” for even more comfortable use with walkers or wheelchairs. Here, we created a brand new bathroom door opening and walled off the old, narrow one that led in from the hallway. For both it and the door to the toilet room–which we also cut out of the wall–we hung barn doors, which remove the need to get out of the way of the door swing. The large handles are easy to grasp, as well.
For the entrance to the master suite, we installed an electrically operated door with control buttons on both sides for automatic opening, closing, and locking of the door.
We made the water closet bigger for easier maneuverability inside, and customized it to the homeowner’s unique needs. We actually had him go through the motions of using the room so that we could place the stainless steel grab bars at the perfect spot.
Since the owner stands at the vanity, as opposed to being seated, we didn’t need to make it wheelchair accessible. However, we still included a number of accessible features including lever handles, a push-button electric soap dispenser, and an undermount sink for easy cleaning.
The counter is especially deep to maximize drawer and counter space, and as you can see we were able to include tons of drawers for ample storage, most of which also have large handles.
When done correctly, a curbless shower is both a visual enhancement and a crucial accessibility feature, removing the trip hazard and the barrier to entry for wheelchairs and walkers. We made sure water would stay inside by lowering the slab in that area, centering the drain, and sloping everything away from the entrance. We also widened the entrance and opened things up by removing part of a wall that made the shower dark and replacing it with glass.
The owner will have two grab bars to use while inside the shower, as well as two easily reached ‘shampoo niches’ and a shaving mirror. The showerhead is a sliding handheld model that can be used seated or standing, and we put the on/off valve across from the showerhead so the owner can gauge the water temperature with his hand, rather than his head.
Adequate lighting is a must for aging-in-place and universal design. In this bathroom we added LED backlit mirrors that are both functional and stylish, as well as recessed can lights in the ceiling, also LEDs, which last longer and run cooler than incandescents.
We also added a skylight, a feature we love for its ability to boost natural light and the aesthetics of a room. This skylight has a retractable screen to prevent heat gain.
Where the owner used to have an armchair so he could sit and do his grooming activities, we built a custom bench that looks and functions better. The bench is the exact height for him to sit and stand easily, with the help of a grab bar, and the new adjustable shelves are at arm’s reach for any and all toiletries he needs.
Although they may not be your first consideration when remodeling, after a few months with a new room, you’ll be glad you opted for materials that are easy to clean. Here the owner has quartz countertops that won’t scratch or stain; large-format subway tile as wainscott that is easily wiped down; and tall ceramic tile baseboards that are zero maintenance yet strong enough to stand up to abuse from walkers or wheelchairs.