Many of our clients are debating whether to improve their existing homes or to move to a new home as they enter new stages of life. We found that an overwhelming majority want to stay where they are and are investing in their homes for the future. When it comes to the master bath and other bathrooms in the house, the decision to stay has never been easier thanks to technological, product and universal design advancements that enable homeowners to age in place with the grace, ease and dignity that they expect and deserve.
The following are common features of a well-designed bath that makes it easy for homeowners to use for many years to come.
A curbless shower, as the name implies, is a shower that does not have a threshold or curb. Benefits of a curbless shower include:
- Eliminating tripping hazards. The shower entrance is flush with the floor, eliminating the need to step into or over a curb to enter the shower area.
- Curbless showers allow those who are mobility impaired or confined to a wheelchair easy and safe access into the shower area.
- Curbless showers can make smaller bathrooms look larger because there is no longer a need to have a designated shower area, or even a shower door.
- Aesthetically, curbless showers offer customers a more streamlined, clean-looking space. Customers that are looking to create in-home sanctuaries in their baths will appreciate the clean and open lines that a curbless shower offers.
Installing a shower seat or bench reduces the possibility of slips and falls in the shower and provides a space that makes it less taxing to bathe. If you don’t have room to build in a bench, there are tilt-up benches that fold up onto the wall when not in use.
Decorative Grab Bars
Grab bars generally have a bad reputation and are often associated with institutional settings such as public restrooms or hospitals. Manufacturers today have upped their game to produce stunning grab bars made of solid brass in an array of design options that will complement any décor. Grab bars also serve an extremely functional purpose to help homeowners enter and exit the shower area and to sit on a seat or bench. For customers, we often recommend installing decorative grab bars on the inside and outside of the shower area to make it easier to enter and exit the space. Still not sold on installing a grab bar? Consider adding blocking behind the wall where you may eventually want to install a grab bar so you won’t have to rip open the wall to install one later on.
Comfort Height or Wall Mounted Toilets
A comfort height toilet is made at the standard height of a chair, approximately 17-19 inches above the floor, and meets the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Depending on the user and circumstances, we often recommend a wall mounted toilet that can be customized to the needs of individuals. The goal is to make it easier to sit and stand and reduce strain on the back and knees, which is helpful no matter your age. Comfort height toilets have become the standard in bathrooms today.
Pay Attention to Lighting
A well designed bath is a well-lit bath. Lighting can make or break the look and functionality of a bath. An effective lighting plan illuminates the entire area and eliminates shadows that may hide water spots or other potential slip hazards. We often specify under cabinet lighting that illuminates the bath at night that makes it easier to navigate the bath at all hours of the night.
We recommend that all of our clients install a removable hand shower in their showers. Installing one on a slide bar is preferred, as it can be adjusted to the height of any user, but it can also be installed on a stationary bracket. An added bonus is that hand showers make it easier to clean the shower area.
The therapeutic benefits of steam systems have been known for centuries, dating back to ancient Greek and Roman times. Modern day benefits of installing a steam system in your shower include:
- Reduce stress
- Release toxins from skin through perspiration
- Improve respiratory functions (great for allergy or asthma sufferers!)
- Relax muscles
- Enhance sleep
- Rejuvenate skin
- Improve the immune system
We often specify a textured floor covering that minimizes the possibility of slips and falls. Floor tile size can affect the slip factor, as grout adds great traction. The general rule of thumb for shower floors is to have 4 grout joints under your foot, which is one of the reasons you often see mosaic tiles on a shower floor.
The old standard height for a vanity was 31”, which is why you will often see shorter vanities in old homes. This started to change in the early 2000’s, and now a height of 34” is more common. We often specify the taller height bath vanities for those looking to age in place, which is similar to the height of kitchen counters. This helps eliminate the need to bend over to use the sink or vanity.We also can recommend the Fairmont Wall Hung vanities some of which meet all ADA requirements.
If you are looking to modify your home for the long-term and want to make it easier and more enjoyable to use your bathrooms, give us a call at (888)682-5956 or chat us.