No home, however well designed, can continually meet our needs — much less our desires — because these both continually change. In the case of one couple that we had worked for in the past, ambulatory challenges required a master bathroom remodel that combined convenience, accessibility, and more efficient use of space with a fresh look.
In previous blogs, we’ve talked about how spa tubs can be not only an impractical, but a huge waste of space. In the case of one bathroom remodel, ambulatory issues required the redesign of a shower to make it both safer and more accessible. Creating the space to accomplish this, as well as addressing other features that would better suit our clients‘ needs as they aged, meant removing the old tub — but that was just the start.
Besides making the shower easier to get in and out of, including accommodating a chair if needed, we wanted to get rid of the old shower pan. These will eventually crack and fail and are impossible to clean. And while new showers have curbs, we wanted to avoid these because of our clients’ ambulatory concerns. Addressing these issues also required us to make the toilet more accessible rather than have our clients negotiate another doorway.
Removing the old spa tub and replacing it with a vintage standalone bathtub opened up a lot of space for the rest of our remodel, which included integrating the toilet into the main room rather than have it situated in a separate space. At the same time, we both protected the toilet and maintained some privacy with a half wall. We were able to forego the use of curbs in the shower by notching out a floor joist where it was being installed and insetting a new floor into the joist, creating a gentle slope toward the drain. We also built a bench into the shower. By removing the soffit above the vanity, we created additional space for a cabinet, since our clients had also wanted more storage in the bathroom. We were able to add even more storage by setting the toilet out just enough to install a deeper cabinet above it. As a final convenience, we installed heated floors with a programmable thermostat for added comfort on chilly mornings.
This remodel project did much more than respond to the changing needs of an aging couple — we created a much better flow to the room, in part by squaring up the angles. We also updated its appearance through new tile, his and her sinks, and new cabinets. After all, even as we age, we still appreciate a fresh take on the world.
Click on any of the following images to see larger versions in a gallery.