|In our last blog, we talked about the Universal Design Workshop we hosted for our design teams based in Newport News and Virginia Beach. As more and more homeowners opt to age in place, there’s a growing demand for universal design. This week, we’d like to share some examples of how universal features can be worked into the design of your remodeled bathroom.
Location, Location, Location
The fundamental principle of universal design states that the space should be accessible to all people, regardless of their age, size or ability. While many multi-level homes offer a half bath on the first floor, a universal home should have a full bathroom on the main-level. If your home is a single story, then you’re already on the right track!
The average size doorway ranges from 30 to 32 inches. For a universally designed bathroom, opt for an entryway that’s at least 36 inches wide. This ensures ease of access for anyone who uses a wheelchair or other mobility devices.
Once IN the bathroom, there should be ample space to maneuver. A good rule of thumb is have enough open floorspace for a wheelchair to make a 180 degree turn. Beyond the square footage of the floor space, it is also important to choose the right floor materials. Slip-resistant tile and wide grout lines help provide traction even when the floor is wet. If you like having some kind of floor covering in your bathroom, choose for a decent sized non-slip area rug instead of a flimsy bath mat.
Bathroom features like your toilet, vanity and shower need alterations to make them universal. A standard toilet seat is only 14 to 15 inches tall. For a universal design, your bathroom should be outfitted with a potty seat that’s 16 inches from the ground. Floating vanities and ones designed specifically for wheelchairs will make accessing the sink easier for everyone. Instead of a tub, opt for a walk-in shower with a wide entry way. A curbless shower threshold provides the safest entry and exit.
Tiny knobs can be hard for people to use, so choose large d-shape door and drawer pulls that are easy to grab.
Speaking of grabbing, grab bars should be placed in the shower and beside the toilet to give your bathroom a safety boost. There is a wide range of metals and finishes available, so you don’t have to sacrifice form for function.
To learn more about the universal design options for your next bathroom remodel, reach out to our design team at Hatchett Design Remodel. Just call or visit our showrooms in Newport News or Virginia Beach… it costs nothing to ask!
Hatchett Design Remodel believes that universal design is important to all of our clients, and it is especially important to homeowners who plan to age in place. That is why we recently hosted a universal design workshop for our entire design team from both our Newport News and Virginia Beach showrooms. This workshop, led by Dr. Kathleen Rose Parrot, helps remodelers empathize with the every day challenges faced by people with disabilities by simulating similar experiences.
As a highly respected expert in home remodeling and design, Dr. Parrot authored the textbooks for the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) accredited major. She also happens to be Jessica’s former professor at Virginia Tech. Dr. Parrot is a huge influence in her design career, so Jessica was very excited to share her mentor with her Hatchett family.
Hands On Experience
In the workshop, Dr. Parrot asked our team to “try on” various disabilities by wearing special types of gear, like glasses and gloves. Then she asked us to attempt “simple” tasks, such as gripping knobs and reading displays on appliances. While we might think we understand how hard common household tasks may be for people with disabilities, it’s an entirely different level of understanding to experience a similar type of challenge first hand.
Understanding the Challenges
The truth is that many standards in home design create accessibility and usability challenges for the disabled. A universally designed space, however, can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability.
The Value of Universal Design
While you may not currently feel hindered in your home, it is still important to consider universal design options when remodeling your kitchen, bathroom or addition. A universal design will improve the livability of your home for both residents and visitors for years to come. Universal features, like widened entry ways, curbless showers, and lowered or raised kitchen appliances, can be worked into any custom design by Hatchett.
Dr. Parrot’s workshop made us even more aware of how our remodeling recommendations will impact homeowners in the near and distant future. This experience will forever influence the thoughtfully designed spaces we create for our clients. To learn more about the universal design options for your upcoming remodel, reach out to our design team at Hatchett Design Remodel. Just call or visit our showrooms in Newport News or Virginia Beach… it costs nothing to ask!