Smart retrofit of home's smallest room is key to future aging in place.A 3' by 3' space can make or break a home's suitability for aging in place. That's the lesson that project manager Alex Daisley and carpenter Sean Vassar came away with after performing what's certainly Hammer & Hand's smallest full bathroom remodel.
True to universal design principles that assert that accessible design shouldn't be obtrusive or "institutional," the bathroom's wet room detailing and Caroma toilet cistern with integrated sink are more evocative of European travel than anything else. But key aging in place features are embedded into the bathroom's design.
photography by bright designlab
While Alex provided technical expertise and guidance, the client designed the project herself, driven by a proactive commitment to stay in her family home as she ages, a clear practicality and independence, and intensive research into the tenets of Universal Design.
For obvious mobility reasons, the most critical universal design element of this retrofitted bathroom is that it's on the ground floor. The remodel maintained the existing 9 SF bathroom's footprint and window and doorway placement, but all finishes and fixtures are new and the shower was added. The toilet doubles as a shower seat, and an integrated door sweep that seals the door-to-floor gap allows a no-lip entry to the wet room (another key universal design feature).
To deal with the moisture of the wet room, we installed a new fiberglass composite door jamb, painted the existing door with a marine-grade paint, and replaced the wood window sill with simple marble. A new high-efficiency exhaust fan vents the space thoroughly and quickly.
Conservation of space was absolutely key, of course. We tucked fixtures and shelving into the back corner to maximize elbowroom, and the sink and gray water cistern system integrated into the toilet conserves both water and space. Gray water drainage from the sink is captured in the cistern for use in the next flush."It was really satisfying to hit so many universal design marks in such a small space," said Alex. "The homeowner came to us with an excellent, carefully designed plan, and now she's really ahead of the curve in retrofitting her home."
- Zack (Connect with me at +ZacharySemke)