Good design is universal. Consider iPhones, a good example of how the more user-friendly and simpler a design gets, the more accessible it becomes to all people.
So why not design more bathrooms with accessibility in mind?
True Life Design Co. owner Sarah Voss says room size is key but details matter too. Make bathrooms “as big as you can,” Voss says, adding 36-inch-wide doorways and 36-inch-tall countertops to accommodate a wheelchair.
Floors need to be level and built with tile or other waterproof materials and a zero-threshold joint. That generally involves no shower pan with all-tile flooring.
The Lackeys’ home has four bathrooms, each a showpiece in how to design with accessibility in mind.
In the main bath, floor space surrounds a beautiful bathtub to give plenty of space for a Hoyer lift. Custom tuck-in cabinet doors cleverly disguise a roll-up sink.
In the boys’ bathroom, a locker-room style wet room gives plenty of space for maneuvering.
New technologies are making accessibility easier than ever. Reid’s bathroom features touchless faucets, too.
Voss says accessibility is the new wave in the design world.
“I think there’s a whole place for this movement,” she says. “I want to help with universal design and aging in place.”
Read more: The home of Courtney and Brad Lackey was designed and built from the ground up for the lifetime use of their 8-year-old son, Reid. Reid is a skilled driver of his power wheelchair — a necessity due to a birth injury that left him with multiple disabilities and a seizure disorder. See the Lackey home and read more about the a collaboration between buyer, builder, architect and designer.
— Shasta Kearns Moore is a freelance writer and creator of MedicalMotherhood.com, a weekly newsletter dedicated to the experience of raising disabled children.