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  • Writer's pictureShenley Schenk

Accessibility and Style??

Many times my clients have expressed, "I am not that old!" or "I don't want my bathroom to feel like a retirement facility!" Many find themselves in a position where, for some reason or another, their bathroom is no longer safely accommodating their functional needs. Convenience, injury, illness, and of course aging, are prompting young and old alike to convert their bathtubs to walk in showers. Fear not, this can all be done in style!

Lets start from the floor and take a look at how your bathroom can be converted into an accessible space, and still have style. Locking vinyl plank and porcelain tile are the two most common materials used on the bathroom floor. Choose a varied texture and low gloss tile or vinyl plank to make your floor more slip resistant.

Consider a chair height, elongated front toilet for ease of sitting and standing. Chair height, elongated front toilets are approximately 2 inches taller and have a bowl front about 2 inches longer. Guess what! This is considered the new standard toilet, and can be found in most renovated bathrooms, not just those wishing for easier accessibility.

Potentially the most dangerous element when it comes to safety in a bathroom is the shower. The shower also has the most potential to create a stunning aesthetic! Common functions needed in an accessible shower are low curb, slip resistant, seating, adjustable shower head, ample grab bars, reachable storage, and space for movement inside the shower.

Consider a recessed, zero, or low threshold shower base that is manufactured with a slip resistant texture. Installing a curved shower rod and curtain will allow more elbow space within the shower. But, how do you keep the water from splashing out of the shower if your curb is low and the shower curtain barely hits it? With a weighted shower curtain, of course! Be sure to secure your shower rod into a solid mounting area, just in case you happen to give it a pull to maintain balance.

Free standing shower seats can be bulky and create their own safety hazard. Use a wall mounted flip up shower seat, correctly secured to the wall, and large enough for your needs. These can be found in solid surface material or teak wood, adding a sophisticated design element.

Multi-functional shower heads are one of the most common styles used in all bathroom remodels. For accessibility, consider a 3-way diverter as well as multiple mounting locations, allowing you to easily access water while sitting or standing.

Grab bars, one of the most necessary elements to an accessible bathroom, have come along way and can be decorative, multi-functioning and in various finishes. Use grab bars equipped with shelving for accessible storage. Before securing your grab bars to a solid mounting surface, take a moment to step in and out of your shower as well as sit and stand, making mental notes of where you commonly reach and grab.

Some of the most eye catching showers are all decked out in tile! Consider using a 3 piece solid surface shower surround, resembling a trending subway tile look. Looks like tile, but its not! The 3 piece surround allows you to have an updated look, however provides a solid mounting surface for grab bars and wall mount seats. Installing wood blocking between studs will also give added mounting support. Selecting the appropriate products and function can be done in style!

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