Our blog post from earlier this month, an Introduction to Universal Design, has received lots of visits, shares and time spent online. We've also received a few inquiries specific to the idea of designing new bathroom spaces so that they accessible and usable to as many people as possible. Just to recap our definition of Universal Design, outlined previously: Developing a bathroom so it can be accessed and used to the greatest extent possible by all people, regardless of their age, size or abilities.
Today we want to share a good example from a project we just completed this month in Grayslake, IL. The image below shows the tub/shower before on the left and our completed custom tile shower on the right. Here are a few of the more important Universal Design elements to note:
1. Low Threshold Shower: The old tub/shower combination on the left has a significant step-up to actually get into the tub. This client already had hip troubles (as you'll read in her testimonial below) so by lowering the shower threshold to just a few inches (on the right) it will be easier to access the shower by all.
2. Grab Bars Installed: Look at the tub/shower on the left and imagine loosing your balance. It's happened to all of us before, but what will you grab to keep from falling - wet glass doors? Now the new shower on the right has grab bars at the shower entry point, and a massive grab bar directly under the shower head angled down toward the new shower bench. Speaking of shower bench...
3. Customer Shower Bench: Clearly one of our most requested items when designing new showers is a fixed bench. Take a look, under our Diamond Bath logo to see a great example of a customer shower bench. Shaving legs becomes easier and less dangerous, and it also works perfectly for those who may not be able to stand for prolonged periods of time.
4. Handheld Shower Head with Lever Handles: Their new Diamond Bath shower not only came equipped with a massive waterfall shower head, but it was complimented with a handheld shower head as well - a common request for Universal Design installations. We also maintained the lever style faucetry for greater temperature control versus round knobs that are more difficult to turn, especially when wet.
5. Shower Niche Height: If you look carefully at the photo on the left you may see a challenging situation; razors, shampoos and conditioner bottles sit on the lip of the old tub. This would require you to bend over a few times during your shower versus the tiled niche we installed in the new shower. It contains shelves so products can be placed at the height ideal to the client; whether they stand or sit, there will not be any bending over to grab soaps, shampoos or razors. And the likelihood of those products slipping into the shower or tub, potentially causing another fall issue, is also dramatically reduced.
But we hope you'll also look beyond all these amazing design features in the "after" photo and can see how much more beautiful this bathroom will be for our client for so many years to come. She was so excited about the finished project that she left a wonderful review for us. We've copied it in it's entirety below, but in part it says:
"I am so pleased with the result and the consultant they provided to help me pick out colors and tiles. A very professional result that all my friends and family exclaim over."
-- Diamond Bath Client, Kathleen H. from Grayslake, IL
When YOU are ready for professional bathroom remodeling results that excite your friends and family and that you will appreciate every morning for years to come, make an appointment to visit our Diamond Bath Client Selection Center in Crystal Lake!
It seems everywhere we look these days we see designers and architects talking about the "boom" in Universal Design updates within new and freshly remodeled homes. When we started to use this term with potential clients, few knew exactly what it meant, but most had great appreciation for it, once it was explained. Without leaning on Webster's too heavily, we would define Universal Design as:
Developing a bathroom environment so it can be accessed and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size or abilities.
While we could get into the seven principles of this design framework, it might be more beneficial to provide real-world examples that the Diamond Bath team has actually designed and implemented within our client's homes across Northern Illinois. Here are a few features to consider to make your professionally remodeled bathroom more universally appealing:
1. Low-Threshold Tubs & No-Threshold Showers: Ironically, these are sometimes called "walk-in" showers (or curbless) but the real appeal for these type of showers is for someone who may be wheelchair bound or has difficulty raising their legs would not have any issues with these installations. We suggest install no-slip tiles and grab-bars within these updates to make movement within the tub, shower or toilet safe and easy for all.
2. Shower Benches and Hand-Held Shower Heads: We discussed the renowned popularity of shower benches many times in the past as a "must-have" for anyone with legs to shave. However, shower benches, either built-in during remodeling or a shower seat added separately, can be a literal life-saver for those who may have difficulty standing for long periods of time. It's also relatively easy and affordable during the remodeling process to add a second water line for hand-held shower heads that are in close proximity to the shower bench.
3. Lever Style Handles: We're not really sure who it was that decided that attempting to turn a knob with wet or damp hands made good sense, but we truly prefer lever handles for Universal Design requests. Levers are ideal, not only for faucets controlling your shower and bathroom sinks, but also for wide bathroom doors and on any vanity cabinets that might be present. Even if you are not focused on Universal Design elements for your bathroom project, please pay attention to your faucetry options when installing new hardware at home.
For more suggestions about making your bathroom more universally appealing to all, contact Diamond Bath today to schedule a free in-home consultation! Or call our Crystal Lake offices direct at: 815-893-0282.
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