When you think of aging in place or accessible options do you think of the handicap accessible bathroom in Walmart? You're not alone. Though this used to be true a few years back, it is no longer the case. Designers and contractors are working together to create spaces that have accessible options without you even knowing it. Let's walk through a few options you have.
Common misconceptions: will my house be ugly with accessible options?
It’s a common misconception that designing an accessible kitchen or bathroom will be unsightly and more expensive. This is not the case. Adding Universal Design elements to your space will not make your project more costly. All that in required is a little bit of thoughtful planning.
Another thing to note is that Universal Design does not mean Handicap Accessible. Universal Design means designing the space to be accessible to anyone who might be using it. This might mean lever-handled doorknobs, or curb-free showers for aging in place.
Universal Design also means designing with children in mind. Some clients have small children and want them to be able to grab drinks, so we install refrigerator drawers to the children can reach them easier. It’s also popular to raise or lower countertop heights for taller or shorter people. Universal Design is exactly what is sounds like, design with everyone in mind.
Accessible Bathroom Options
Slipping on wet tile when getting in and out of the shower or tub is one of the main concerns when it comes to bathroom safety. This bathroom remodel in Loveland, Ohio is a perfect example of where beautiful design meets accessibility.
Simply looking into this bathroom you would never know its design was based on making it perfect for the couple to comfortably live in their home for many years to come. This bathroom checks all the boxes!
- The contrasting tile and grout colors help failing eyesight by giving depth and contrast that is easier to see.
- A zero barrier shower takes away the risk of stepping over a barrier on wet tile.
- The large under-sink area for wheelchair accessibility will allow the homeowner to continue to get themselves ready even when in a wheelchair.
Accessible Kitchen Options
Look at this ugly accessible thing!
It's the simple things like wider doorways and lower countertops that make this a wheelchair and walker friendly environment. One seemingly small thing you can do in a kitchen to make it more Accessible friendly is raising things like ovens and dishwashers so they aren't so low to the ground.
This keeps you from having to bend over too much to put away dishes or get your cake out of the oven. It’s also harder to turn knobs on faucets as we get older, so installing a single lever kitchen faucet will be a great investment in the long run.
Importance of Designer/Contractor Relationship
Like all remodeling projects, the most important part is assembling your team. This is especially true when looking to make your home more accessible or incorporate more wheelchair friendly designs.
If you’re worried that accessible options will be ugly, hire a remodeler who has built these kinds of projects before and is willing to work with a designer to insure beauty is a focal point. Be sure to bring up your desire to incorporate Universal Design in your project when interviewing contractors and designers. Clarity and good communication between all team members is the key to making form and function live together happily ever after.
Let’s Get Started
Do not fear your homes aesthetic appeal when making it more accessible. Those days of Walmart bathrooms and ugly grab bars are over. You can find lots on inspiration on the internet for Universal Design. Houzz and Pinterest are great places to start your research.
Below are links to a couple of our recent Universal Design projects. Leave comments and questions below about your specific needs and we'll help get your project started on the right foot.